Thursday, January 10, 2008

systematic for the people

I collect hats. No clichéd symbolism happening here; just a straight-forward factoid. In fact, every March, I purchase a brand new fitted Boston Red Sox hat. I have no particular affinity for Theo Epstein or the Prudential Building, but I attended college in New England and wearing a Red Sox hat seemed quite innocuous since they're an American League team and I root (loser) for the Phillies (ha-ha!).

So now, every Spring, right before the first lacrosse game of the year, I pony up and spend close to 24 ducats for a new hat. I wear it when I coach and sometimes, after games, while wearing my hat, some local newspaper reporter will ask me about my coaching philosophy.

Here's my favorite question:
Do you coach players or a system?
Honestly, it's the quintessential question for any coach, lacrosse or technology. In fact, as the one year mark as Classrooms for the Future coach rapidly approaches, I'm finding it necessary to ask and answer this question daily.

Coaching A System
Can you say 'film study'? You need to be able to break down your oppositions' tendencies. Implementing a system before a soul arrives is time-consuming and leaves little room for impromptu, on-the-fly changes. You've invested so much of yourself in design and planning, that no matter what occurs, you'll pay no heed to the vociferous cries that scream for change.You'll be saddled with a deep-rooted belief system, one that few can sway or alter.

Coaching A Player
Get ready to read and react. You'll have to identify strengths and areas that need improvement. An ability to see, really see, like Haley Joel Osment see, needs to be an innate quality. You think like John Nash and you operate like you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle...but under extreme duress; sirens blaring, clock tick-tick-ticking away. Putting people in the right situation is what matters. Everyone appears happy, conducting themselves in a fashion that seems beneficial, but you keep moving them in order to maintain the status quo.

I still can't decide. In the meantime, I'm going to gather my ducats.

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