Basketball on the Edge – Be Present!

I was listening to a Coaching U Live podcast back before Christmas and heard an interview with author Jon Gordon and former Atlanta Falcons Football Coach Mike Smith. Gordon and Smith co-wrote a book titled “You Win in the Locker Room First. The 7 C’s to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life.” During the interview Gordon and Smith discussed their belief that in order to set the tone for a “winning” organization or team a leader needs to focus on building the right culture. The proper culture enables everyone in the organization to perform at their best. The interview piqued my interest and last week I carved out some time to purchase and read the book.

There is a ton of useful information in the book that any coach, leader, or parent can use immediately to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of those they influence. I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the book.

Gordon puts forth one particular concept that intrigued me right from the moment I read it. Gordon’s concept centers on the idea that each individual in an organization chooses one word to describe themselves or hold themselves to over the course of the coming year or the coming season. I decided that I would take this one word “resolution” and apply it to my own life and then see how it would go over with the youth travel teams that I coach. Last week I made the one word concept “homework” for the players. Their words are due this afternoon (1/15/16) at practice. I can’t wait to see what they come up with, how much thought they put into it, and finally how it impacts them going forward from here.

My word for 2016 is “present”. Not the kind of present you get for Christmas or your birthday, but the kind that puts you in the moment. I have the same habit as a lot of other people, constantly checking my phone to look at email, texts, or twitter. I also often find myself thinking about what I have on my to-do list rather than being present for the people I am in the room with at the time. I am making a conscious effort to be more present for my family, my players, and my friends.

I see parents on the sidelines of their kids’ games all the time checking their phone, not watching the game. I’ll admit to missing a soccer goal or two that my kids have scored because I was looking down at my phone to check an “important” text message. It is very hard to answer (and very embarrassing) when my kids ask me if I saw the goal they scored and I have to say “Uh, no. I was checking my email.” Trust me, kids notice when you are watching and when you are not. All of us will have plenty of time in our lives to check our phone when our kids no longer play sports. That time is coming much faster than any of us with young children care to imagine. Ask any parent whose kids are done playing and they’ll tell you how fast the time goes. I am making a concerted effort to try and keep my phone away when I am watching my kids play sports. I want to be “present” in both body and mind.

Let your kids know that you love watching them play. What better way to send that message than by actually watching (not coaching, but watching) your kids when they’re out on the court or the field. I hope you’ll join me in being “present” for all your kids’ game this coming year.

The other area that I struggle with is thinking about the things I need to get done for my business or my coaching to-do list when I should be dialed in to family time. My kids are growing up fast (just like yours) and I need to be better at engaging them in conversation. I’m sure there will come a time when they won’t want to talk to Dad so I need to grab hold of the opportunities that exist today.

I know being “present” won’t always be easy and I’ll still fall back into old habits occasionally, but by choosing “present” as my word for 2016 I hope to build new habits that will make me a better husband, father, coach, teacher, friend, and business owner. I hope you’ll give this “one word” idea some consideration and choose a word that will make you better in the year ahead.

I’ll share some of the words my players picked in a future blog post. Can’t wait to hear what they come up with. Be present!

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