Defining Core Values and Goals for a Team
I recently had the pleasure of working with a highly competitive all-star team. The athlete’s are from teams that regularly compete against each other and then come play as an all star travel team. This takes place during the season. We were meeting to discus roles and goals which lead us in the direction of setting up core values and goals. I’ll do a blog on goal setting soon.
In business we might define this as our mission statement or company philosophy. For an athletic team I think core values hit it pretty well. Define who you are as a team, not so much in terms of what you want to accomplish, but to establish the backbone of the team. This way win or lose you have a foundation from which you can deal with most any situation. Core values can be modified over time, but serve to assist in continuity for new team members and changing rosters.
My suggestions for the team went something like this and I hope that this outline is useful to others.
1) Develop some Core Values for a Team
2) Write out this year’s and next year’s goals Performance & Outcome
3) Write out Process goals fitness, practice time, strategy, etc.
4) Everyone writes out their personal goals to help the team (individually at home) they can share one or two in a group session
5) Agree to and sign goals and core values
6) Agree to hold each other accountable for actions. This works as a team, and in pairs or groups of three. Sometimes 3’s are better, but it depends on team dynamics.
7) Visualize working as a team, striving to reach goals
8) Imagine greatness Remember to imagine what it will taste, feel, smell, or sound like reaching your goals
Their next step is getting together to brainstorm core values and write team goals. I believe this is beneficial in many team situations from the youth level up. Coaches and managers can develop the core values for teams. As players join the team they start out understanding these values. It helps avoid conflict down the line.
It is said that desperation is the mother of invention. I am not desperate, but I am tired of telling families I’m sorry I can’t work with your child because you can not afford to pay me. It sucks. A friend and associate of mine asked me how I could work with kids for free, when he knew I had a business to build. I told him it was because I felt like these kids needed my help and that I could make an impact in their lives. His answer was, if I didn’t stay in business who then would I impact. He is right of course and perhaps as a successful business man and former great professional athlete I should pay attention to not only his words, but his intention. The only thing I can say is “James I just can’t” .
So this is where I have landed. I have toyed with the idea for some time to build some sort of center or foundation to teach young athletes about mental training. The only drawback is that I have no idea how to go about doing this and still build my business. I just know that I have to be able to teach athletes about how to deal with competitive stress, how to concentrate, what it means to be mentally tough. Some would say that it’s not very important. I would counter with all the athletes I’ve seen that succeeded in school. I’m not talking about the ones that have gone on to play in college, I’m talking about the ones that stayed in school because of sports and went on to have productive lives because they learned how to use their minds in a positive way.
I want to change lives one athlete or team at a time. I want to reach more kids in Washington that want to play on teams or compete individually. Sports have become very expensive and outside training to stay competitive has become the norm. Speed training, strength training, core training, specialized coaching all needs money. Sport Psychology or mental skills training is always it seems thought of last on the list. I’ve tried to change that perception for 30 plus years, one athlete at a time. I may not change that general perception anytime soon, but I think we can change the availability part NOW.
The Northwest Foundation for Sport Psychology and Training will provide both mental, physical, and nutritional training and education for those that can not afford it otherwise. Working in conjunction with physical trainers I propose to be able to offer athletes, at least in group surrounding, access to all kinds of sport training.
I can’t do this alone. I can find the needed partners to help provide training. I need some business partners that have my same vision of providing kids in the Northwest with this kind of training. The Foundation needs commercial sponsors to help fund the program. If you know of anyone that would be interested in helping and investing in athletes and their futures. I’m reaching out to all of my friends and associates worldwide to help me get this project accomplished. So all my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Univera friends, if you can help me either yourself or through someone you know, you know where to find me.
Role Models and Imagination
I started to continue the last post on my origins working with athletes on the Game within the Game when I caught my self staring at my walls. On either side of my computer screen are pictures of sorts of two of my role models. I realize that this in and of itself is no big deal, but it did get me thinking about origins and imagination as it relates to sports and sport psychology. On my right is a baseball card of Sandy Koufax. He was my childhood idol. When I was 9 I recall being mad at my parents for allowing me to be right-handed. There are lots of reason of course for my reverence for Koufax. He was the best of that era and he was Jewish. This of course pleased my otherwise anti sport mother. I have a funny story about Mr Koufax and not me, but my mother. My mother came home one day from work. She was secretary to the president of a large discount retail store in California called White Front. She said she met this very nice Jewish boy at the store and he gave her this toy to give to me. Now I was about ten at the time and was thinking I had outgrown toys. It was a Sandy Koufax Pitching Game. You threw styrofoam balls at these plastic points on a sort of dartboard. On the box it was signed to Mike from Sandy Koufax. I was speechless. My mother said he had told her to bring me over, but she didn’t think it was a big deal. I didn’t talk to her for a week. I did however believe in my heart every time I picked up a baseball that I was Sandy. It was my summer of baseball and it couldn’t have been better as not only did the Dodgers with the World Series, but I pitched in almost every game. In my mind’s eye I was Koufax and pitched like him that whole year. There was nothing I wanted more than to play professional baseball.
On the left of my computer is a picture of Albert Einstein. My parents seemed to insist that I spend my time doing more than playing baseball and other sports. I got really intrigued with him through one of my Jr High teachers. Not because he knew that I was Jewish, but because he said he liked the way I thought about things so I should understand Einstein. Had no idea what the teacher meant, but I did what I was told. I was intrigued with him to be sure though I was still more interested in being an athlete rather than a scientist of any sort. What I did recognize is that Einstein was into thought problems. He explored the Universe with his mind. It wasn’t E=MC2 that caught my attention, but the quote “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. It is that quote that is up on my wall.
My third role model was Wilt Chamberlain. OK, forget about the number 3000 for a minute. As a basketball player (I gave up baseball soon after Koufax retired), I wanted to be Wilt. I saw him as cool. He was big and bad. He was tough on the court, yet smart enough to stay out of foul trouble. He could score at will and I wanted to be like him. So how did it turn out? I could dunk (not bad for a 6 foot Jewish kid). I could defend big tall players. And I could do a finger roll. I averaged 20 points a game my senior year. There was one problem though. I practiced being big, bad and to take people into the paint. Couldn’t dribble to save my life which of course was a large problem as I went to take my game to the next level.
So there are three stories. The very short end to this blog is simple. When we were children we used our imaginations to do everything. We used it to play as toddlers and as would be athletes. Somewhere along the way our natural ability to use our imagination got taken away from many of us. It is a key component to success in everything. Sports and virtually everything else we do in life. If I can leave every athlete I meet with something it would be to remember when you believed you were Koufax (insert current star here). Play like you did then and see how fast your game accelerates. We can contol our world very simply and play out of our minds.