As we head into my favorite season (no, not Spring - the NCAA tournament), I’m reminded what happened to the youth basketball all-star team I coached last year at this time.
As the coach, the league provided me with ten of the best players and we had enough practices to be prepared. The gym was packed with parents, families and fans. Only the center court was used so the bleachers could be pulled out and the main scoreboard was lit up.
With seven (7) seconds remaining we were up by one point and were taking the ball out of bounds at the far end of the court. The other team called a time out to set up a full court press. We had practiced a press break play and we reviewed it with the kids. As with the teams we lead at work, once you send them back to the court, they are on their own to make snap decisions. Jake takes the ball out of bounds, Chad picks for Sean just as planned. THEN – Sean lays the ball up into the wrong basket and the game is over. After we consoled the kids and accepted the runner-up medals, I asked myself what I should have done.
It was a simple answer. In times of great stress and challenge, never leave the little things to chance. The leader is the sound of reason and calm. Walk the team through the total play and not just the element you believe will be the most difficult.
What would you have learned from this experience? Have you had a similar situation?