What does the ‘Flying V’ and a flock of geese have to do with this site, your basketball career, success of your team and your life beyond athletics?
Well, I am going to tell you:
Take a few minutes to observe a flock of geese in flight and you’ll understand. One goose flies at the front of the V, fighting wind resistence and putting in the effort so that the flock can fly further and achieve more than any of them could on their own, being the leader of the flock is difficult and exhausting therefore one goose can only take the lead for a short amount of time, the geese rotate the leader of the V ever so often to share the burden of fighting the wind. Without a cohesive, well-structured plan where all the geese buy into the system, the flying V will fail.
The individual goose must establish trust with his/her peers within the flock, without trust and teamwork the objective of the flying V cannot be sustained.
Here are some concrete idea’s we can learn from the flock.
The team is always greater than any individual
Establishing roles and responsibilities is key to success
Create your own trustworthy flock, gather together your teammates this off season and build genuine, trustworthy relationships and start preparing for a championship next year.
One vision – each member of your flock must see and understand the flock’s objective.
Trust must always be constant. That wind gets strong, so the trust in your flock must be stronger
In honor of Mother’s Day, I have asked a sport’s mom who is a regular reader of iA to be a guest contributer and write about her experience bringing up two athletes (basketball players) in her family, this is her story unedited!
From a very early age, we knew our sons were going to play basketball, it was in their blood and they were talented. They were very fortunate to have very good coaching, and a gym at their disposal, which helped them develop their skills. As parents, it is our responsibility to discover what talent lies within our children and then do whatever is necessary to develop that talent. Whether the talent is music, or art, or athletics, knowing what they are good at, is half the battle. We were always very supportive of our sons. From their very first game at the YMCA (2nd grade), to their last college game, we were always there for them. We never missed a game and always made sure they were on time for games and practices.
Developing their self esteem was crucial and basketball did that for our sons.
Motivating our boys was actually easy…they loved the sport; they worked hard during the regular season, and more importantly the off season. But they needed us to show legitimate interest in their activities, always attending games, asking those important questions, and providing the financial support that developing their talent would need.
They needed approval, positive words, smiles, and letting them know that we recognize their improvements. We NEVER allowed Coach trashing. They were taught that all adults were to be treated with respect, and we were very lucky to have very good coaches in their lives.
We as parents enjoyed every minute of watching our sons play basketball, and the success they enjoyed during their playing days. We have watched them grow into positive, hard working young men, and playing an organized sport for much of their lives helped get them there.
One of my favorite words in raising an athlete, is the word “we “.”We will work on it”, or “We can do better next time”, these are positive statements and gives out the message that we are all in this journey together.
Parents, I promise when using the term; “we”, when talking to their kids, will see a positive change in their child’s habits and performances. To parents just starting out, enjoy the ride, be always positive, and always be there for them, ask questions and make sure that what they are doing is making them happy and leading them in the right direction towards becoming an adult.
Objective - Look for, build up and identify these characteristics
Going through my notes, speaking with college coaches and athletes and revisiting my past as a former division 1 athlete, I wanted to come up with characteristics that define winning athletes, no matter what sport you play.
As a matter of fact, looking through them they seem like 12 characteristics of winning at life.
Here is my list:
1.) Desire – I put this first for a reason, nothing on this list matters without desire or passion to be the best you can be. A desire to always improve, to compete, to win. A burning desire that keeps you up at night.
2.) Aggressiveness – Go out and hunt for what you want, don’t wait for things to happen magically. Produce your own results and always be on attack mode.
3.) Determination – The refusal to quit or accept defeat. Persistence to keep getting up every time you fall down and knowing that your willingness to practice harder than anyone else will lead you to your success.
4.) Responsibility – Admit errors, and take responsibility for their own actions.
5.) Leadership – When needed, pick and your choose when to demonstrate the necessary leadership skills that are needed at that time. A huge leadership attribute is knowing how to lead in certain situations and what tactics to use at that given time period. (This deserves its own blog).
6.) Self-Confidence - Confidence breeds success. Believe in your abilities. I truly believe confidence comes from practicing and dedicating yourself to the cause. Knowing you’ve been through something and have practiced it millions of times provides you confidence.
7.) Emotion Control – Handling the pressure of competitive sports and athletic success. Letting the game come to you and slowing things down in your mind during key situations of the game. Not letting your emotions get the best of you and channeling them into a positive direction that benefits you and your team.
8.) Mental Toughness – Not many people have this or know this but mental toughness is a big factor in athletic success. Being able to accept criticism and rigorous training. Being mentally stronger than your opponent will give you a competitive edge.
9.) Coach-ability – Embrace others knowledge and expertise. Don’t question your coaches methods and believe his best interest is in your development as an athlete and placing the team in positions to win.
10.) Conscientious – Having high standards of character. Having a deep sense of obligation and know a team must have discipline to be successful. Putting the team before yourself, be self-less.
11.) Trust – Athletes are believers, they accept people at face value and know that mutual trust is a major factor in building a successful team. A trustworthy locker room is one of high spirit, high morale, better communication and everyone understanding the goals at hand.
12.) Attitude – Last but not least, your attitude in anything you do will determine your success. Positive attitudes will separate you from the rest. Have you ever noticed how many people around you are negative and are always complaining? Be the opposite and always take a positive view on things and if you think positive in your athletic career, positive things will happen.
Oh, I have 1 more to add, so I guess it’s a baker’s dozen….
13.)Ownership– Take ownership in your athletic journey, what I mean by that is: Understand this is your career, seek out the best advice from experts and understand that if you don’t put in the time and effort you will not get anything out of it.
You are in full control of your You can only be an athlete for so long, and then all of a sudden it will end – so take full advantage of your situation and embrace the hardships, the competitive nature and enjoy the journey.
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