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  • Martin Davis

A Year to Remember; A Year to Learn From


It's easy to focus on what was lost this year. Entire seasons. Recruiting opportunities. Practices. Community interaction. Fundraising dollars. And for too many people, jobs.


We can all be forgiven for feeling that loss and expressing our frustration.


And yet ...


... 2020 taught us a lot.


I put the following question to several coaches: What did you learn in 2020 that you'll carry into 2021?


Some of the best answers follow.


What happens outside of practice is as important as what happens inside.


Our online tools certainly made this year easier to endure, but for one coach they also reminded her face-to-face time outside of practice matters. If coaches are mentors and teachers on the field, they really get to know their players outside of practice and games.


Team-building events, after-practice bull sessions, and barbeques create an environment where coaches and players get to see one another as human beings. Volunteer events remind players that not everything in life is about them. And fundraising events create ways for coaches and players to cheer one another on as collectively they strive for one goal.


When we are able to return to normal, our time away will help remind us how special our time together really is.


Athletes are remarkably understanding and adaptable.


This insight comes from Javon Bexson of Underdog Coaches, and is one of the lessons he is taking from 2020. (To see others, click here.) Here's how he explains this insight that he gained in 2020:


"Some of the hardest tasks of 2020 were to inform athletes of cancelled events. Although there was anger and sadness along with other emotions athletes were amazingly understandable. It is truly remarkable what some of these athletes endured and how well they adapted and moved forward."


Success doesn't require doing things according to the norm.


From practice schedules and weight rooms, to game schedules and installs, we did a lot of things in 2020 that we would have never done in previous years. No doubt these adjustments caused frustrations. But they also showed us that there are more ways to get kids ready to play than the tried and true methods we know.


The challenge going forward? Bringing the best approaches we tried in 2020 over to our new year.


A bit calmer ...


A couple of coaches shared that one lesson they'll carry over from 2020 is the importance of maintaining a lower thermostat. Given the pressures and indecision surrounding sports this past year, coaches were forced to keep an even keel for the sake of their athletes.


This calmer disposition garnered some unexpected benefits, such as improved relationships with players that led to their being more receptive to instruction.


Living in the moment


Finally, if 2020 has taught us nothing else, it's taught us to appreciate the importance of valuing each and every moment we have in this game. Nothing is promised. And as too many have seen, it all being taken away in a heartbeat.


Every practice. Every game. Every player interaction. That's as good as it ever gets, and embracing that makes us all better at our jobs.

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