Evaluate. Plan. Grind.
Andy Stanley writes in his book, The Principle of the Path, "Direction, not intention, determines your destination." This principle is spot on, and I highly recommend you read his book. A relatively easy read with great life application.
We have spent the last month sitting down with each of our returning players for their post-season conferences. Prior to the meeting the players self-evaluate their game. The following skills and traits are assessed:
Use of Left Hand
Use of Right Hand
Ability to Score
On Ball Defense
Off Ball Defense
Low Post Defense
As a coaching staff, we also grade the players accordingly. More times than not, both evaluations agree. However, every now and then there is a disconnect. These "disconnects" are obvious starting points for discussion.
Throughout the course of the conference we have one primary purpose in mind: How can we get each student-athlete to where they want to be six months from now? In other words, our off-season workouts need to be aligned with our destination. Lollygagging around will get us nowhere. It's not uncommon for athletes to spend a crazy amount of hours in a gym and mistake "activity" for achievement.
We want every player to achieve their goals; and to do this, "owning" a plan is key. Failing to plan is planning to fail. With sober judgement (aka humility) our players are encouraged to consider their strengths and greatest needs, then design a road map to their success.
We like to emphasize these questions to ask in mapping out a plan:
Do I have any weaknesses that will significantly hurt my team? For example, if I am a 50% free throw shooter it will be difficult to keep me in the game down the stretch. Thus, striving to improve such a weakness becomes a high priority.
What do I do really well that makes it hard for my coach to take me off the floor? A few years ago we had a player named Aaron Pena. He was a lock-down defender that we just couldn't afford to take off the floor. What separates you? Build upon your strengths. The more you have, the merrier.
What is my commitment level? The amount of hard work and sacrifice to be competitive in the Metro Conference is insane. For our most talented players, the grind is long and intense over a four year period. Rarely can short cuts be taken. Success equals effort over time.
School is winding down. Summer is cranking up. If you're in, let's be "all in". Evaluate. Plan. And grind. You can't fake the harvest!