Posts

Showing posts from November, 2019

How to Build a Championship Team

Image
Every team wants to win a championship, but each year, only one team gets to win the championship. So if you're a coach, how do you rise above your competition and build a championship team? 

Here is the obvious answer: it's all about creating the best product on the field. You have to create a team that performs so well game after game, that they make the playoffs, advance to the championship game, and is able to beat the best competition that your league has to offer in the championship game.

A more helpful answer comes from asking, "How do you create this product on the field?"
This answer comes down to 2 factors: talent and performance. Your product on the field is a product of these two things. Every game between two teams is a match up between these two factors. 

Here are some bar graphs to demonstrate how these two factors determine the outcome of games.




The black bar represents a team's talent, or their potential or ceiling. The red inside the bar represents a…

Grade Your Effort On A Scale From 0-100

Athletes like to say they give their best effort in games. Some athletes do give their best effort almost every game, but most athletes don't. They deceive themselves, and don't like to admit when they don't give their best effort. They think too often in all-or-nothing terms. Either they gave their best effort, or they totally gave up. They don't see the gray area.

I've once watched my friend play a tennis match. He played very hard for most of the match, but then towards the end, when the match began to slip away, I could tell he gave up a little bit. I thought his confidence lowered and he became less disciplined with his shot-selection/strategy. Later that day, I told him that I thought he "tanked" at the end. He became defensive and said, "I didn't tank! I gave it my best effort for the entire match!"

I explained to him that there's levels of tanking. You can give up completely, you can give up a lot, you can give up a moderate amount…

A Myth About Valuable Players

There is a myth about valuable players. When debating who is the MVP of a sport, people often make this point: when the player is off the court/field or is injured for a period of time, their team doesn't perform as well. With this logic, you could say that a particular player is very valuable because he is very needed by his team. A similar type of logic is used when making an argument against a player's value. A person may say that since a team does fine when the player is off the court/field or when injured, this means the player isn't needed, and therefore isn't as valuable.

Sometimes this type of reasoning is correct and truly validates a person's argument, but sometimes it is incorrect and actually means the opposite. Just because a player's absence causes his team to perform worse, doesn't mean this player is very valuable. It could mean the opposite. To understand this, you have to consider to role of leadership.

Everyone knows that a valuable player …

Self-consciousness

Self-consciousness is one of the biggest obstacles of peak performance. One of the effects of pressure is becoming self-conscious. You start to worry about what other people are thinking about you, and you worry if you're performing well so you keep your awareness on your body movements. This hurts your performance in many ways. First, it takes your focus off of what you need to be doing. If you're so worried about what others are thinking, this anxiety can "freeze" you and cause you to forget to do simple things such as moving your feet or breathing. Secondly, you become more conscious of the effort you're giving, which makes it feel harder, which makes you reduce effort or give up sooner. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, self-consciousness makes you try too hard to control your body movements and shots/skills. You lose trust in your instincts and don't allow your muscle memory to take control. All of this greatly hurts performance. Not only this, but a…

Book Review: Range by David Epstein

Range by David Epstein is one of those books that challenges your prior beliefs. Like many other people, I had fallen in love in ideas such as deliberate practice and a singular focus on specialization in order to succeed in sports and in life. Although, I've known for a while about the benefits of playing many sports as a child, this book taught me much more about the benefits of developing "range," or broad experiences and skills. I admit, it's uncomfortable reading something and thinking, "Wow, I was wrong about this," but in the end, you become a smarter person, so the bruises on your ego are worth it.

One of the first things the book teaches you is the difference between "kind environments" and "wicked environments." In a kind environment, rules are clear, and feedback is objective and quick. You know exactly how you're doing, what your errors are, how you can improve, and whether you're making progress. Activities such as go…