As a new assistant lacrosse coach this year for our local high school team, I was eager to bring my experience and expertise in lacrosse to the struggling program.
Not wanting to step on some toes of the returning coaches, I made the conscious decision to hold back some of my more aggressive ideas and insights into how practices should be run and the games should be played.
I felt that this decision would help to keep the continuity flowing smooth for the kids as they transitioned to a new coach.
Was I ever wrong!
Bad as Hell
Thinking back, my decision reminded me of a story I was told relating to recruitment and new members of the team.
On the day that Johnny died, he was met at the pearly gates by Saint Peter who told him that he would get to spend one day in Heaven and then one day in Hell before he got to decide where he wanted to live for eternity.
During his time in Heaven, Johnny ran into some old friends, enjoyed extravagant feasts, and was generally content playing the harp and floating on clouds. While he enjoyed his time in Heaven, he was eager to see what Hell was like.
Upon his arrival in Hell, he was greeted with a raucous party with many of his college buddies. They took him golfing, enjoyed yet a more extravagant feast than in Heaven, and partied the whole day.
When his time was up, he was sent back to the pearly gates to speak with Saint Peter to decide. In his discussion with Saint Peter, it was made clear to Johnny that he would have to make the choice and it would be for eternity.
Johnny told Saint Peter that while he enjoyed Heaven, Hell didn’t seem that bad of a place, as he had more of an enjoyable time with his college buddies.
Saint Peter asked him if was sure, and Johnny replied yes.
At this time, Johnny was transported back to Hell where he couldn’t believe what he saw!
The same friends who had been golfing and eating feasts with him just a short time ago, were now wearing tattered clothes, working in the extreme fires of Hell, all with the Devil lurking nearby and laughing at Johnny.
Not comprehending what was going on, Johnny asked where he was.
“You’re in Hell,” replied the Devil.
“But it wasn’t like this yesterday!” Johnny said exasperated.
The Devil replied. “Yesterday we were recruiting you; today you’re an employee.”
Now Back to Lacrosse
Now that the season is over, it certainly wasn’t as bad as Hell. When I was asked to work with this team, I didn’t completely understand the dynamics of the team and how the players (employees) felt about the coaches they already had.
- The existing coaches didn’t have the playing experience I had (lack of credibility)
- One coach had played on this team a few years earlier with some of the current players (leading your peers)
- There was a divide between some of the parents and the existing coaches (lack of communication)
In spite of these struggles, I’m proud of what we accomplished as team because we did have a better record than last year, and we didn’t get blown out in as many games as we had in the past.
Despite this success we had as a team this year, my lack of understanding of the dynamics already in place had the potential to set the team up for failure from the get go.
After our last game, I had several returning players for next year come up to me and ask if I was going to come back next year to coach again.
I told them I planned on it and I was ready for the challenge!
How many times do we negatively set-up new employees when we bring them onto our team? When we do this, what opportunities are lost through that specific time frame of when they’re new that could have helped the team be more successful? What struggles do we have in how we communicate to new members or potential members of our teams? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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