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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Contrary Agendas

I've discussed the UNC women's soccer slogan, "We have one agenda: excellence." What other agendas plague teams? 

Ryan Holiday wrote Ego Is the Enemy. "The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.” Ego and validation go hand in glove. Pat Riley called it "The Disease of Me." 

Other agendas can include playing time, publicity (notoriety), role (shots, touches), and money (scholarships). 

Playing time. Everyone wants to play. "User fees" (participation fees) complicate 'minutes' as some coaches feel obligated to play everyone because parents have paid to participate. At the varsity level, fees are for participation not a guarantee to play. 

Publicity and credit. Nick Saban remarked, "the players who suffer from the “disease of me” syndrome constantly feel that they are overlooked in praise." Dean Smith carefully credited players who got less publicity for scoring but helped the team in other ways. I remind younger players that if they are asked about their performance, to deflect credit to teammates and the team itself. An outstanding area coach was fired and ultimately rehired after parental pressure. Part of their criticism was lack of publicity about their daughters. 

Role. It's natural to want a bigger role. But having a greater role demands greater commitment, effort, and sacrifice. Are you prepared to change yourself, to differentiate yourself physically and mentally to assume that responsibility? "Do more to become more; do more to become more." Ask your coach not for more minutes but how you can contribute more to team success. 

Money. Scholarships can become the 'golden ticket' for athletes. They may permit the assiduous student to get an education otherwise impossible. But they demand long hours, distracting from studies and changing the entire educational dynamic. And as hard as getting scholarships is, leveraging that into professional careers remains a long shot. 

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