Coach would then proceed to run us ragged with suicide drills. Which is the term used for timed sprinting drills up and down the basketball court. If the team didn’t meet the time deadline, we kept sprinting until we did. Quite often the drills involved team members throwing up at the end from sheer exhaustion.
At the end of the drills, we’d lay sprawled on the basketball court, huffing and puffing, red faced and utterly shattered. Coach would pull out a small whiteboard and walk us through goal setting exercises.
What did we want? To win the grandfinal.
What do we have to do to get there? Win games.
How do we do that? Be determined to be fitter, smarter, stronger, faster than other teams. You might not beat them in 50 metre sprints, but with the right fitness, you can run faster for the whole game.
How do we win games? Train hard, achieve our offensive and defensive skill targets and know our game transitions inside out.
Do we want to train hard? Harder than the other team? Yes we’d answer.
Then he’d challenge us with these goals. “It is the team who are willing to do more in order to win, that will ultimately succeed” he’d say. The team that dives for every ball, that busts their arse to intercept more passes, get more rebounds, who plays committed defense without fail… who sprints with their team mates on a fast break, even though their legs are on fire, in order to back up a team mate in case the shot is missed… that is the team that wins.
Be patient with the game plan, don’t bust out stupid moves. Be tolerant when things go wrong and keep a level head. Be determined with your training and in your game, and it will all pay off. Do more to win than the other team.
Discpline equals freedom, he’d say. If you commit to your goals and committ to discipline, you’ll have the freedom to enjoy success.
Then he’d ask us if we wanted to train harder than other teams.
And you guessed it, he’d have us running up and down for another round of suicide drills.
Our team got to the grandfinal that year. We were one of the smallest and most inexperienced teams in the competition that year. I’d picked up a basketball for the first time a year before the grandfinal and had found my way onto a division one rep team with girls who’d been playing for ten years. I was most certainly a weak link in our team chain. But I thrived on the coaches advice.
I’m pretty sure we lost the grandfinal. But we were thrilled to get there, and I know that we would have never gotten there without that coach.
The advice has always stuck with me. I hope one day I run into that coach so I can thank him again. The following year was my HSC. With much patience, tolerance and determination, I smashed my goals (which were an academic stretch to begin with) and my TER was 15 % higher than I was aiming for.
I was watching the following artists’ you tube this morning and it made me think about my coaches sage advice on goal setting.
Whilst the youtube runs for a minute and a half, I’ve spoken with the artist about the length of time and dedication it takes to make stencil artworks of this scale and detail. And even then, I suspect the artist plays down how bloody hard he worked on the painting.
I’m glad I revisited this youtube this morning. It reminded me that my discipline has turned to crumbs of late and a long standing project is in dire need of some blood, sweat and tears.