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Monday, January 14, 2019

Basketball: Coaching, Five Words from Around the World That Feed the Essence of the Game

Find our way. Illuminate our path with light from other cultures. Discover competitive advantage around the planet. 

Wonderful words instill unique meanings. Empower our teams with them. 

SAWUBONA. Sawubona is a Zulu greeting, "we see you" but also inviting mutual participation. The video below elaborates. 

Use MANA. As coaches, we hold the paradoxical positions of servants and leaders. In Leading Matters, John Hennessy writes, "It is a difficult lesson because almost every other aspect of being a leader convinces leaders otherwise: leaders typically are paid more money than most of the people they lead, leaders hold authority over their teams, their decisions take priority, and their subordinates are ultimately dedicated to serving their leader (or more precisely, the institutions they lead)." Mana, a Polynesian word, invokes a spiritual quality of influence and authority.

Yesterday during halftime, I shared the Hindi word MASTI loosely translated as the "intoxication of life." Mira Nair shares this in her MasterClass on Independent Film Making. We had played a lifeless first half. We needed energy and joy to mount a comeback. We got it. 

DUENDE translates from Spanish as passion and inspiration, charisma. I associate duende with former Boston Globe columnist George Frazier. Frazier wrote, "So difficult to define, but when it is there it is unmistakable, inspiring our awe, quickening our memory. To observe someone who has it is to feel icy fingers running up and down our spine." Pedro Martinez had duende; Greg Maddux, not so much. Always inspire. 

SISU means to Finns, "what must be done will be done." We might call it persistence or will. "Sisu is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage. It is a word that cannot be fully translated. It defines the Finnish people and their character."

Lagniappe: I'd like to say this play keyed our comeback victory. Maybe it did. It didn't score, but it fired up the bench. 

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