Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
I originally posted this Sep. 8, 2009, and it is just as valid today. It is applicable across any sport, but the concept can also be applied to the workplace. Continuous improvement doesn’t have to be boring. We use fun 2 second lean videos to share easy improvements to our workflow so that we keep things fresh, but also buckle down with additional training on formal problem-solving techniques. Continued reading, webinars, conferences all have a mix of fun and education. Choose to be great.
When you go outside with the basketball to improve your game are you practicing or shooting around? Do you realize that there is a difference? For the average player or for the recreational player, nope, not really a difference. For the great players...well, there is a huge difference!
To help clarify, let's define the two activities. Shooting around is just what the words mean: you go out to the court, and you start shooting around. Typically, you don't have a plan of activities, an expected outcome or time limit. Your main purpose is just to put the ball into the basket and enjoy yourself in the process. Hey, this is a lot of fun and probably describes most kids playing basketball today.
Now, when I say practice, I am talking about practicing as an individual like you practice with the team. There should be a "practice plan" just like most good coaches have in place before their practice. They have drills, times, and goals for why each drill is being performed. You can do the same thing when you are practicing basketball alone. What type of drills will you work on today? Will you just shoot baskets, or will you mix in ball handling and conditioning? How many shots will you take? Left-handed? Right-handed? Post moves? Free throws? 3 pointers?
Let's be honest, practices are typically not as fun as shooting around which is why, as kids, it is important to do both! One day, just shoot around for 30 minutes or an hour. Play a game in your mind where you hit the game winning shot against Kobe and the Lakers to win the NBA title 98 to 97. Enjoy playing the game and work on your moves. Play at game speed. Then the next day, go to work. Put the time in on the little things, the fundamentals, that will make you a better player. That will separate you from your competition. Set goals for shots made and then give yourself a reward or punishment (push-ups or sprints) when you don't meet those goals. Combine your drills to keep things from getting boring and allow you to work on multiple aspects at one time. Perform the drills that you do at team practice or your individual workouts using a "defender" (a.k.a. trashcan, chair, etc.,) and then explode for a lay-up, power drive, or jump shot. Do this from multiple spots on the court.
You have probably heard the saying that somebody somewhere is practicing basketball and when you meet and all things are even, that person will win. Will you be that person? I use a saying with my team, "Practice hard. Play hard." This is our break from the huddle and a mantra that I use to challenge my players to improve their game and to practice at game speed...not just shoot around. The courts are full of kids who shoot around and only shoot around. Great players practice. Will you be great?
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.