The Time in Between

We all experience the “time in between.”  It’s that time spent in your doctor’s office waiting room, stuck in a long line at the DMV, or waiting at a gate for your flight.

It’s the time after you were doing something that mattered, but not quite yet when you’ll start doing something that matters again.

It doesn’t matter if we’re waiting for something dreadful or exciting – people waiting in line for a roller coaster have the same look as those in line at the DMV – because the “time in between” is still considered a waste of time.

We have ways of filling the time in between.  We check our phone, zone out, and check our social media. We people-watch, play a game on our phones, look at our reflection in a window, and check our phone until we finally start worrying about our battery level.  (*Generation gap moment: in the days before cell phones we only had “Hi-lights” magazines in the doctor’s office, and I’m sorry this generation won’t ever know the thrill of finding all of the 10 hidden objects.)

Even though we may fill the time in between, we’re really not doing anything useful with that time.

We have the “time in between” at school and in athletics too.  This is that time at school where we’re waiting for AP and final exams, end-of-year events, and graduation.  Waiting for summer vacation, waiting to go to college, waiting for the weather to change.  Waiting.

Your team may be waiting too.  Both teams in most contests at this time of the year are waiting: the successful team is waiting for the regular season to end so they can get to something meaningful (the playoffs), and the team with a losing record is just simply waiting for the season to end.  Waiting for the “time in between” to end.

Which would be fine, except for the fact that the one thing we all want is more time.

Perhaps we all have been given just enough time to do what we’re supposed to do.  It might be that we don’t always recognize the extra time we have … because it’s hidden in between the things we think are more important.

Maybe this “time in between” is where we’re supposed to reconnect with a classmate, get to know a teacher better, and to work on some academic skills that will prepare us to be successful in college.  Maybe this is the time to offer sincere gratitude to our mentors, or to work on leaving a positive legacy at our school.

Maybe this time is where we’re supposed to work on those skills we never get around to training because we’re distracted by competition.  Maybe we should try a new position, experiment with creative play, change up practice plans, or revisit team goals from the beginning of the season.  This might be the time to find a role for the player who has been ignored, to encourage a disillusioned coach or teammate, or to offer mentorship for younger players.

The “time in between” is the time to make yourself better, or make someone else better.  The time to recommit to what you want to do, hope to do, dream to do.  Play, smile and laugh.  Reflect, think, and imagine.

The “time in between” isn’t a waste of time, it’s a gift.  It’s time we do something with it.

-Jason Curtis

Youth Sports: What I Care About

My kids love sports. Currently, my oldest daughter plays club volleyball, my two sons play in a YMCA basketball league, and my youngest daughter goes to “practice” (say it in an Allen Iverson voice) once per week to learn how to play volleyball. They play other sports too but these are our current “seasons.”

I love that they love sports. I watch when I can but when I’m not there, life does go on. I don’t want my presence to have any impact on the joy they receive from playing or the effort that they give to their teams. Don’t get me wrong, I go to as many games as I can but if I have a conflict, neither I nor my kids are bothered.

When I watch, I watch. When a good play is made by any player on either team, I clap to acknowledge the play – that’s it – the game isn’t about the parents who are watching from the sidelines. I like seeing kids learn things on their own, discover how to interact with teammates and coaches, and get better at winning and losing. Gasp – losing. I want them to lose? No – I don’t WANT them to lose but I have been involved in sports long enough to realize it’s a potential outcome of competition. So, if I don’t truly care if my kids win or lose their games, what do I care about?

I care about how they respond: To wins. To losses. To injuries. To mistakes. To sitting on the bench. To bad calls. To conflict. To fatigue. To feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or lacking confidence. I care how they respond and sports provides a fantastic experiential learning opportunity.

I care about how they learn: I want them to become good learners. I want them to learn skills, team concepts, and the rules and strategies of the sport they are playing. More importantly, I want them to learn how they learn.

I care about how they communicate: Real human communication. I want them to communicate with their teammates, their coaches, and with other adults like referees, tournament directors, and volunteers who make their experience possible. There has been nothing in my children’s lives that has helped them to become better communicators than their participation in sports.

I care about how they lead: Sports provide my kids with opportunities to speak publicly, to motivate those around them, and to teach others. In addition, sports allow kids to play different roles which is an essential leadership skill as they continue to grow.

My kids have won and lost plenty to know the difference and to also know that the sun has always come up the next day regardless of the result. The outcomes I am most interested in are the joy they give and receive to their team through competition, the relationships that develop and last a lifetime as a result of being on a team, and the experience they have of being part of something bigger than themselves. I also want them to recognize that hard work is its own reward and never guarantees a successful outcome.

-Mike Schall

Making Our Case

In the January 23rd issue of Sports Illustrated, Seth Davis writes about the trend of high school basketball players leaving high school in their senior year so that they can start playing in college earlier.  In “The Case for … Starting College Early,” Davis writes about the Auburn coaching staff approaching a recruit in his junior year at Spain Park High in Alabama.  They encouraged Austin Wiley’s family to arrange an early graduation by transferring to Calusa Prep in Miami while playing basketball for The Conrad Academy in Orlando until he enrolled at Auburn and played in his first game last December.  By my count, that’s four different schools in less than 12 months.

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl argues that players heading to college early “get college coaching” “a meaningful off-season” and “closer to a degree.”  The NCAA appreciates the latter argument, asserting on its website that “the ultimate goal of the college experience is graduation.”  Yet, less than half of Auburn’s men’s basketball players who enrolled in 2009 had earned a degree from Auburn University by 2016 (according to 2016 US Department of Education Federal Graduation Rate statistics).

Kentucky coach John Calipari, who helped 18-year-old Hamidou Diallo enroll at UK this spring even though he may enter the NBA draft next year without ever playing a minute for the Wildcats, added: “If a young man is 18 and has a chance to go to college as an 18-year old, he should do it.  I don’t know why you wouldn’t.”

Unless you consider that only 29% of Wildcat men’s basketball players who enrolled in the school in 2009 earned a University of Kentucky degree by 2016.  To be fair, a record number of Kentucky players left college early to play in the NBA, likely a far more lucrative option than many of their Kentucky classmates had even with a degree.  Kentucky is the outlier however: only 1% of NCAA men’s basketball players actually have the opportunity to play in the NBA.

Click image. NCAA screenshot shows graduation rates vs. professional playing opportunities.  Yes, those are multiple typographical errors on the NCAA website touting the academic success of college student-athletes.

Coach Calipari previously asserted that the advancement of his players’ personal goals is paramount, even more than winning a national championship: “[My mission is] to be the vehicle that helps others reach their dreams, be the stone that creates the ripple in their lives that goes on and on and on.”

Sounds a lot like what we’re trying to do in high school education.  So why do these college basketball coaches feel so confident in publicly dismissing the value of the senior year experience in high school?

It’s not just college football and basketball: we are experiencing this phenomenon in volleyball.  High school student-athletes are increasingly seeking to leave high school early and enroll in college during what would be the spring semester of their senior year, and in response to decreasing participation USA Volleyball has moved up the National Championships for the 18s division, holding the tournament two months before all other age divisions.

I believe that college coaches are doing this for many of the right reasons.  They correctly assert that college coaches have more time and resources to dedicate to the training of student-athletes, including strength, conditioning, nutrition and academic programs.  Certainly having more time with their student-athletes on campus can improve the team dynamic, and college coaches can more quickly identify and address problems with student-athletes during off-season training.

On the other hand, college coaches don’t articulate the disadvantages of transitioning a student months before the rest of their freshman class comes on campus, or address the national statistics that indicate that more students every year are entering college unprepared academically and socially.  Many college coaches bemoan the lack of focus, leadership and program commitment from incoming players, while underestimating the abilities of high school and club coaches who could help form those characteristics.

If I were a college coach, I would want more time with my players too.  The tremendous pressures on athletic programs and the significant responsibilities of players and coaches makes every day with a college team important.

However, as a high school educator, I also want more time to help form these talented young people.  As seniors they can engage in a more personalized academic environment to prepare them for a university classroom.  They should spend time with mentors on campus who can challenge them to become active contributors and leaders, committed to leaving a positive legacy in their high schools.  They should work with coaches who have grown to know them and their families well and can assist them in developing life balance that will be essential in the pressure-packed world of intercollegiate athletics.  They must become mentors and teachers themselves, so that they are prepared to assume that role in college and later in life.  In short: they need to develop the characteristics that universities and intercollegiate athletics programs claim to seek in prospective students, but may be in fact keeping them from gaining by enrolling them in college too early.

Early enrollment isn’t the fault of college coaches or universities.  The fact that nobody is willing or able to articulate the value of the academic, athletic and social formation during the senior year of high school falls squarely on the shoulders of high school administrators, teachers and coaches.  Have we become too comfortable allowing or even enabling “senioritis?”  Has our willingness to allow twelfth graders to coast through classes, practices and competitions rendered the experience expendable?  Have we missed an important leadership opportunity by not pressing seniors into significant responsibilities to care for and lead younger athletes?  In short, are we failing our students by providing a poor senior year experience?

This is a wake-up call for us to examine the senior year in high school classrooms and gymnasiums, and to commit ourselves to providing an exceptional experience making sure that every student and family knows how important the 12th grade is to their short and long-term future.

As Pearl argues, “Why discourage someone from taking advantage of an opportunity to better himself?”

I couldn’t agree more. Shame on us if a student’s senior year in high school doesn’t offer an outstanding chance to better themselves.

It’s time for high school educators to make the case for a high school senior year that every student can’t afford to miss.

-Jason Curtis

Learning by Doing

Over the Christmas holiday, I did an experiment with my two sons. Sam just turned 13 and Andrew is now 9. They like to play – whatever is in season – they like to play. Neither has played much “organized” basketball (whatever that means) but instead enjoy playing with their neighborhood friends in our driveway.

One evening, long after the sun had set, I heard basketballs still being dribbled in the driveway. I walked through the garage to find the boys still shooting and I told them I would play “21” with them. Growing up, it was the game my older brother Jim tortured me with. He was a dead eye shooter and I was, well…I was good on defense. I didn’t win many games of 21 growing up on Brinker Street. It’s a simple game in which a free throw is worth 2 points and a layup is worth 1. If the shooter makes both shots they keep going. If the shooter misses the 2 pointer, they still get to attempt the layup for 1 point but then it’s the next shooter’s turn. The game is played to 21.

Because I love for my kids to stay curious about learning new things, I told them that the layup had to be left handed. They hesitated. I knew exactly why they balked at the idea. They didn’t want to miss, didn’t want to lose, and weren’t confident in their ability to consistently make a left handed layup. So, I tried something with them that would encourage them to go for it. I knew that I had to take away the fear of failure – it’s real and I understand it.

For our game on this night, I made a deal with the boys. If they attempted a left handed layup, they got a point. They didn’t have to make it – just attempt it. We played for another hour and every time they attempted a left handed layup, they got their point. A few things started to happen…

  • They got excited about trying a left handed layup. In fact, they saw absolutely no reason to shoot a right handed layup.
  • They made mistakes – both in jumping off the wrong foot and missing more shots than they were making.
  • They got better at it every game.

I estimate that they attempted one hundred left handed layups. By the end of the night, both boys looked very natural – and they started to have success. They weren’t perfect at it but they got a lot better. That wasn’t the best part. The best part came after I went inside only to find the boys wanted to stay out longer and keep practicing.

So, how do we apply this experiment to coaching and teaching?

  • Create an environment in which risk taking is encouraged (1 point for attempting the left handed layup).
  • Emphasize process over result (each of my sons took 100 shots).
  • Recognize that mistakes will be made. Encourage and reward a demonstrated commitment to trying something new regardless of outcome.

Below is the video of when I came back outside and saw the boys practicing.

-Mike Schall

What’s My Job?

Have you ever been confused about where one side ends and the other begins? The world is full of cautions about taking on too much, the slippery slopes, the warning against too much yes and not enough no.  That’s all well and good, but often the line, the space, the expectations are blurred, widened, increased, respectively.  So what then? What is your job when it isn’t the job?

Hey, coach? You just need to give the fundamentals of the game, work in some of the rules and regs, maybe touch on the way to handle both wins and losses. Right? I mean, that’s the job, right? The idea of the coach is vetting talent, forming the team, then practicing and executing.  So when did it become expected that you’d balance the playing time of some who might offer lesser talent but still deserve a jersey? Did you check a box that claimed you would make certain you watched and guarded against players not feeling part of the team? When did you become the one with the whistle that also had to help mentor the athlete struggling in an academic area?  Maybe that wasn’t explained.  Maybe during the interview process all that seemed to matter were W’s & L’s, X’ and O’s.  But be honest, it was always going to be more than that.  It should be more than that.  The job isn’t coach, the job is far more important.

Teacher, teacher. Get through your curriculum.  Grade your essays.  Make sure we all know the quadratic equation, the way to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, the importance of bees in cross-pollination.  That’s all, right? Stand in the hall between classes? Where’s that written? Learn student names in the early days of a school year? What textbook states that as a professional expectation? Offer to sit and talk with a struggling student, in the most professional ways, as they softly explain an issue you could only guess existed in a life.  No one class, no course, ever defined the ways everyday feels different in the classroom.  No professor ever lectured about the ways you should go to a school play, watch a sporting event, take part in a fundraiser.  But really, isn’t that what makes the job more complete? More fulfilling?  Yeah, it’s not expected, and you certainly don’t collect on billable hours, but it makes the job what it is.

Mom, dad? Where do you begin with this? As I sit here typing, with music playing in the living room, I have a daughter in heels dressed as Belle [Beauty and the Beast] and another dancing like a 4 year-old possessed.  And I smile.  Not always, I assure you, but right now I do.  This is the part of the job, the part of parenting, I’ve waited for.  When it’s hard, there’s nothing like it.  When it’s like this, there’s nothing better.  It is the job of a lifetime- never fully realized and never fully accomplished.  Your child, your kid, your son, your daughter… where do you begin on what your life is meant to do for them? Where do you begin to explain to someone how much you try to do?

Friends, family, perfect strangers? I think who we are supposed to be to all others can’t ever be strictly defined. No one role, no one duty, obligation, job is ever as easy or as simple as it appears.  That’s what makes the job endlessly interesting.

What’s your job… and what do you love about it?

–Tom Mooney

A Tale of Two Fields

On one field…there are uniforms, a scoreboard, coaches, umpires, bleachers, bored parents and over-involved parents alike.  There is organization.  There are kids who have to be there.  There are also a lot of walks.  Lots of walks.  Lots of standing around, a by-product of the walks.  And advice–lots of advice from the bleachers which is matched, ironically, by a lot of silence on the field.

On the adjacent field…there are arguments and resolutions, siblings of all ages and heights and abilities.  There are kids who get to be there.  There is joy and laughter.  There is action and motion and (did I mention?)  laughter.  There are clouds of dust and high-fives.

There is a place for both fields, and I am not making a suggestion to abolish the former.  But I am suggesting that the former field should have more traits of the latter.  Let us not in our executive decision to structure childhood forget the joy, the creativity, and the spontaneity of the pick-up game.

I hope you find laughter, high-fives, and clouds of dust in the place that you’re doing life today because these things shouldn’t be reserved for childhood.

–Dan Schall

Something to Learn

A college coach recently asked me, “Do you know what I’d really love to hear from a recruit?”

I leaned in because, yes absolutely and of course, I’d like to know what our players could say to impress a college coach.

He continued, “Just once, I’d like to hear an athlete on a recruiting visit say that they like their high school coach.”

I must have had a puzzled look on my face because he clarified, “The last 50 players I’ve spoken with, every single one of them has said their high school coach is terrible.”

Wow.  As a high school educator and former high school coach, I certainly don’t share those students’ assessments, but as a club coach I understand where this is coming from.  As club coaches we are able to spend more time on technical aspects of the game, and we’re working with a single age group of players with relatively similar skill sets.  It’s much easier to plan practice with extended training time and a group that doesn’t require much coaching differentiation.  Club coaches also work at tournaments attended by college recruiters, giving us access to an important goal for our players.  A group of college coaches circling our court during pool play may give us more coaching status than we deserve, at least in the eyes of our players and parents.

On the other hand, high school coaches are managing programs that are much closer to the reality of playing in college.  High school teams practice every day, balance school academics and activities with a competition schedule, work with limited resources, often coach students from more diverse age groups and backgrounds, connect with teachers and alumni, develop relationships with rival schools, and are responsible to a larger set of expectations from their school community.

The truth is that high school coaches aren’t terrible.  In fact, they’re really good.  It’s just that they’re teaching lessons that we don’t value as much as we should.

Here are some lessons your high school coach can help you learn during your season:

  • How to serve and represent a group larger than yourself and your team. While it’s fun to walk into school the day after a win, it’s also essential to learn how to deal with public disappointment with maturity and humility.  Learning to represent your school (thousands of classmates, educators and alumni) is an opportunity to develop responsibility.
  • How to bring your best every day. The truth is that we don’t always feel motivated to train, and that challenge is magnified when you have to walk into the gym every day.  Playing in a high school program teaches you that it’s important to consistently bring your best effort because your teammates need your energy, leadership and encouragement, especially at the end of a difficult day.
  • How to work with older and younger players. Learning to mentor a younger teammate, or seeking mentorship from an older teammate is an essential life skill.  When working in teams it’s vital to learn that not everyone has the same life experiences or expectations.
  • How to balance academic and extra-curricular work with team responsibilities. High school coaches are uniquely positioned to mentor you through conversations with teachers and administrators.  Schedule and assignment conflicts are an opportunity to learn how to communicate with adults, as well as to evaluating and aligning priorities.
  • How to value the contributions of others. It’s not just teammates, managers and coaches who deserve our gratitude; we should also be inspired by the classmates preparing for Science Olympiad, the basketball team using the gym after us, the teacher staying late to grade papers, and the custodians who patiently make our schools beautiful.  Training in an environment surrounded by so many different activities reminds us that we’re not the only people working hard at something we love.
  • How to leave a legacy for younger players and a future generation.  Recognizing that our actions will impact others long beyond our career is a part of developing maturity.  Leadership and decision-making will always be more fulfilling and successful if it is done on behalf of others, for a benefit that we are willing to give away to people we may never even meet.

Each of these skills transfers to life beyond the volleyball court.  Tweaking your approach and armswing may serve you today, but I hope that you learn many more important things that will allow you to serve others long after your volleyball career is over.

Most of all, I hope that you go to practice tomorrow and thank your high school coach for their willingness to provide opportunities and teach the lessons that we don’t always fully appreciate at the time.

-Jason Curtis

Leading With Vision

Last week, I wrote about the importance of vision in a post titled, “What You Will Become.” Jason Curtis then wrote “Growing Trees” in which he describes the role leaders should play in the lives and the development of young coaches and teachers. It got me thinking in a practical way about how coaches, teachers, parents, and leaders can model, encourage, and collaborate with one another to change the atmosphere and ultimately the impact that participation in sports can have on the lives of young people.

Here are a few examples of statements I have heard over the years and how teachers, coaches, parents, and leaders with vision can change the narrative and perspective.

She can’t.” A coach with vision replies, “yet.

I give up.” A parent with vision encourages, “stick with it.

It’s his fault.” A leader with vision states, “let’s do this together.

It’s over.” A teacher with vision inquires “when can we start again?

We did it!” A leader with vision questions, “what’s next?

Where can I hide?” A friend with vision pleads, “where can we go?

We made too many mistakes.” A coach with vision wonders, “what did we learn?

That’s not fair.” A parent with vision answers, “how will you respond?

It’s mine.” A teammate with vision corrects, “it’s ours.

That’s impossible.” A teacher with vision answers, “what a great challenge.

We need this.” A leader with vision compels, “let’s give this.

It’s too late.” A mentor with vision exclaims, “it’s the perfect time to start.

There is no way.” A coach with vision begs, “what is possible?

We’re no good.” A leader with vision implores, “how can we get better?

-Mike Schall

Growing Trees

Finally, for the first time in my coaching career, I’m considered “above average.”

At last night’s season kickoff meeting we learned that the average age of coaches in our club is 34, firmly throwing me into the “above the average” category.

(Sigh)

Years ago, while hiring for a coaching position we interviewed a young candidate who had talent and potential, but did not have much experience.  When I brought up my concern about her lack of experience to a colleague who had participated in the interview he replied, “I’m sure she’ll make many of the same mistakes you and I both made when we were new coaches.” He added, “We should definitely hire her.”

I felt a sudden rush of gratitude for the many coaching colleagues and administrators who had patiently mentored me, supported me as I made many, many mistakes, and encouraged me during those times when it got difficult.

Thank goodness they had been willing to hire me and introduce me to this wonderful calling, despite knowing that I would make those errors.  I only wish I had thought to thank them at that time.

NFL observers talk about “coaching trees,” referring to a group of former assistants who spend time with a legendary coach and bring their offensive or defensive schemes to teams when they move on.  Legends such as Bill Walsh and Tom Landry influenced a large number of assistants who went on to become head coaches throughout the NFL.

All of my mentors and colleagues had each, in their own way, welcomed me into their “coaching tree.”  While they transferred knowledge about drills, game-planning, and technical correction, they also taught me about better ways to care for my players, how establish relationships with parents, and why I needed to give back to the sport.  Whether or not they knew it at the time, I became a part of their legacy and contribution to the sport – their “coaching tree.”

We are all coaches together – the head coach of our rival team, the eager assistant, the volunteer parent coach, the confident rookie, and the veteran with too many stories about the “good ol’ days” – all of us are connected to a part of someone’s coaching tree.

That tree’s continued growth and health is up to us.

If we’ve coached for one season or twenty years, we each have something to offer all of these coaches who are starting out.  The next generation of players is counting on us to grow our coaching trees into healthy forests of coaches who will be dedicated to coaching our grandchildren.

Start this season by reaching out to other coaches, especially those new coaches, by trying the following:

  • Find the new coach in the tournament coaches’ meeting (they’re the ones frantically deciphering the schedule) and offer help and encouragement throughout the day.
  • Stop by a new coaches’ practice and give them a compliment about one of their drills.
  • Talk to their team’s parents and tell them about something special you see in their coach.
  • Pass along a favorite article or book.
  • Write them a note pointing out something specific that you like about their coaching.
  • Quietly mention to their student-athletes that they’re fortunate to have such a talented, committed coach.
  • Bring your team to one of their tournament matches or practices to cheer on the players and the coach.
  • Encourage them to speak up at a coaches’ meeting, and ask for their opinion during impromptu discussions about technical skills.
  • Let them run a drill demo, speak at a coaching clinic, or write a blog post for your club’s website.
  • Find that new coach at the end of the tournament day, compliment them on their work that day, and tell them you’re looking forward to seeing them at the next tournament.

And to those brave souls who took a chance on a young coach, thank you.  I’m sorry that I didn’t always think to express my gratitude at the time, but I promise to do my best to pass it along and take care of the “tree.”

-Jason Curtis

What You Will Become

I had the honor of speaking to our coaching staff last evening about establishing a vision for the season – personally (as a coach) and collectively (as a team). So critical is our role as coaches to see what the collective ‘we’ will become.

To be clear, vision has nothing to do with goals. We all want to win. In fact, throughout my coaching, teaching, speaking opportunities, I have often asked those listening a simple question – would you rather win or lose? Without fail, those responding answered ‘win.’ To me, as a coach, leader, or parent, vision is far more important – and also far more difficult to develop – than a list of goals. Vision forces one to see something that isn’t there yet.

The most powerful vision I have been a part of was the experience our family went through when our youngest child Mia was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss just after her first birthday. In the ensuing months of uncertainty after her original diagnosis, my wife Sarah and I arrived at a meeting with Dr. Oliver Adunka at UNC Children’s Hospital. Dr. Adunka sat Sarah and I down and explained to us very calmly, “The vision we share is perfect hearing and perfect speech for this child. We are not sure exactly how we will get there but we must remain committed to that vision.”

In that moment, while still concerned, unsure of the exact path we would take, and faced with the uncertainty of how Mia would respond to the treatment, we were given confidence in what was to come. Below are a few reasons our hearts and minds shifted on that day:

  • A vision was shared. Dr. Adunka, when explaining what he saw for Mia, committed to working with us to help the vision become a reality.
  • We partnered with someone who had the experience, confidence, and maturity that went beyond our emotion and feelings of uncertainty in the present.
  • It gave us hope and a glimpse of what was possible – something we could not yet see.

We have this opportunity as coaches. Regardless of the age or level of team, the beginnings of a season are filled with questions surrounding roles, opportunities, and experience. Casting a vision with your team allows everyone involved to build confidence on what is possible vs living in the uncertainty of the present.

My encouragement to coaches everywhere is to be Dr. Adunka to the lives of the young people, their parents, and the teams they are responsible for leading. Here are several thoughts and questions to help coaches cast a vision for their teams:

  • Have a picture in your mind, as the coach, of all that your team can become, what positive behaviors they will exhibit, and the possibilities that this experience can provide. Kids and their parents often can’t see that picture yet.
  • What are the qualities of the very best teams?
  • Five years from now, how do you want to remember this season?
  • If someone were to watch your team play at the end of the season, what would you want them to say?
  • What does your team look like, sound like, feel like when you are collectively performing at your very best?

Enjoy the opportunity to coach your team to the very best of your ability, to see in them what they are unable to see in the present, and inspire them to get there. By the way, our shared vision for Mia has already become a reality. Five years after the vision was cast, two cochlear implant surgeries later, hundreds of hours of therapy with selfless teachers and therapists, a determined child has begun first grade. In speaking and interacting with Mia, one would never know that she ever had an issue with hearing or speaking. Vision is a powerful tool to bring reality to that which is unseen in the present.

-Mike Schall