SlamDunk Success Blog

No Justice, No Change

This will be one of the most difficult posts I will ever write and probably the longest. It is about such a highly charged, emotional topic that is in our face every night, and I don't want to say the wrong thing. As I read and hear so many people weighing in on the George Floyd murder, the protests that followed it, and police brutality issues around our nation, I keep struggling to come up with my own take on it all.

The problem is I am so afraid I will do it wrong. I am so afraid I will anger people by saying something that I shouldn't, even though I didn't know it was something that shouldn't be said or said in the way I say it. I don't want to be insensitive to others' feelings and situations.

I have written and spoken a few times before about my fear of ever making someone mad. This has never had anything to do with any racially charged situation. It's just my own "wanting to please everyone" nature and my overly warped feeling of wanting everyone to like me.

Because of those...

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Lucky to Have You?

I follow a variety of people on Twitter. Most are in the coaching and athletic world. It is the world that I have inhabited for the last 30+ years. It is a world I am passionate about.

But my passion in that world is about helping kids have the best experience possible. Sure, I want to win games and championships like everyone else. But I don’t get nearly as passionate about those things as I do about helping kids have the best athletic experience possible.

I read a lot of tweets and posts from people who seem to share those same ideas on school and youth athletics. They realize that, while we all want to win and that is our goal every time we step into our competitive arenas, we are here to provide so much more than that for our kids.

I don’t personally know most of the people that are writing these tweets and posts, so I don’t know for sure if their actions follow their words. And people who don’t know me don’t know if my actions follow my words...

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Are You Ready for the New Reality of Coaching Kids from a Distance?

Check out that title again. I don't believe I just wrote that. I don't want to believe it. I hope it's not true. And yet, I fear that it may be our reality for some time as we move forward.

Now for those of you who know me personally, you know I am not a "gloom & doom" guy. I am upbeat, energized, enthusiastic, and excited for life. I am a "glass is half-full" person through and through.

So for me to write that title took some effort. 

But here's the deal. I really believe that this new reality that we are going through right now is with us for more than just a few weeks. As I sit here typing this, my wife is sitting 10 feet away from me online posting lessons and grading assignments from her high school Spanish students - on a Sunday afternoon. Many of you taught your classes this past week through your computers for the first time ever.  This is not what you had in mind when you decided you wanted to teach. 

This is CERTAINLY not what you had in mind...

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Are You Like I Was? This is for You

See if this isn't something similar to how things went for you in the early stages of your coaching career or if this isn't similar to where you are now on your coaching journey.

In my first teaching and coaching job, I was 21 years old. I was teaching high school English at an all-boys Catholic school in the suburbs of Chicago. I had 3 classes of seniors. They were 3 & 4 years younger than me.

I had to IMMEDIATELY create a positive, loving relationship with them while at the same time create distance between us, so they saw me as an adult who commanded their respect.

"YIKES!" I thought. "How the hell am I going to do that?! I'm only 21 frickin' years old!" 3 months before that I was a college senior doing what college seniors do. I was more like a big brother to them age-wise. There were no courses in college labeled "Create Distance from Your Kids When You're 3 or 4 Years Older than Them." 

While I was an athletic, fit man and a fairly big...

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We Need Coaches (and Athletes) in Government

No matter which side of the political aisle you sit on, I think you might agree with me on what I am about to propose. And if it’s not exactly a proposal, it certainly is an observation and a wish.

Now, I’m not trying to persuade you one way or the other. For my entire teaching and coaching career, I have always maintained a middle-of-the-road philosophy as much as possible. While I certainly lean one way politically, I have always tried to keep that out of my discussions with my students and athletes and their parents. I have always felt that it is not my place to espouse my political leanings too much.

Oh, I’m sure through the years I have let out a comment about how I thought something was and how it should be, or I have touched on an issue from my perspective. But for the most part I have tried to stay away from doing that. My main reason was that I didn’t want to alienate any of my kids. I didn’t want them to like me or not like me based on my...

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I Want It Now!

I believe in the power of goal-setting and what it can do for you. For the last 10 years or so, I have set goals for the new year at the end of the previous year. I have read a lot on the subject, have taken a short online course on setting goals, and now have a presentation I do for middle school and high school kids on goal-setting.

I also know that when I set my goals, I am setting them for the year or the quarter, and then I will establish monthly, weekly, and daily commitments and habits to work to reach those goals. I know that the habits and actions I take each day are going to affect how things go that week, which will affect that month, quarter, and year.

And of course, while I set the goals for a year, I also know that on December 31st just before midnight, there is no magic scoreboard that pops up and says, “Congratulations! You have (or have not) made it. You are now done with your goals.” It’s just that the concept of January 1st to December 31st...

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The Power of Practice

I just did my first Facebook Live recordings today. Okay, that’s not completely true. I did one about five years ago when I was at a coaches’ clinic in Chicago that I was speaking at. But I did that really quick just to learn how to do it.

Today, I did three of them. I was out on a walk with my dog and thought, “Hey, this would be a good time to try a Facebook Live again." Just like the one a few years ago, they were quick. I was doing them mainly to start to re-learn what I was doing. I will be doing a lot of them in the near future as I embark on my new Fast Track Lab for New Coaches program, so I wanted to get in a little practice.

The Most Important Time of Our Seasons

You know - PRACTICE. That thing that we coaches realize is the most important part of our seasons. Practice – that thing that we spend hours thinking about, planning, tweaking, revising, and then worrying about whether we created a good one to accomplish what we need to today. Practice...

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