Smokey the Bear persistently preached that “only you can prevent forest fires.” He understood that he could preach until he was blue in the fur about fire safety but he could only succeed if everyone did their part. A coach can make speeches, review game tape, prepare scouting reports, or employ coaching gimmicks but the team can only succeed if every player on the court contributes.
After a Toronto High School Senior Boys Basketball championship game, a West Hill player was heard to remark that the game was “easy.” One teammate concurred but another remarked that “wait, we lost.” Some athletes can’t separate process from outcome or recognize the differences between each definition of success. It is another issue entirely when team can’t figure out that both the process and the outcome are wrong and does not make adjustments.
Maybe the other team isn’t intense or applying pressure but let that be their problem. Beth Mende Conny once said that “if you can’t take control of your life, don’t complain when others do.” Or don’t sit there in the locker room afterwards wondering what happened.
Like work ethic, fear is an emotion that athletes can only conquer themselves. Jim Valvano remarked that “there are 86,400 seconds in a day. It’s up to you to decide what to do with them.” Well, there are 1,920 seconds in a high school game and it’s up to you to perform and leave it on the court without regrets.