Progress is being made even though it is not seen
Often the bottom line — or in the coaching world, wins and losses — don’t tell the whole story. Coaching staff changes are made by head coaches and in increasingly faster fashion. When results aren’t immediately evident someone is going to pay the price.
As these changes are becoming more and more common it is very easy for these quickdraw changes to become the norm. The norm doesn’t make it right. It also makes future leaders and head coaches more callous and even cavalier in executing the staff changes. At times the changes do provide a spark to a team and lead to some short-lived success. Owners are also becoming less patient with head coaches.
The new age of technology and video games can create an unrealistic mentality.
Players can be thought of like a video game player controlled by the computer’s artificial intelligence.
Players in real life cannot be operated by someone else’s intelligence and ability. Once the human element is removed from the decision-making it is too easy to place blame and make changes without fully contemplating the consequences to those affected by the decision.
There have been few if any instances I can remember of the leaders who made a change that didn’t provide desired results, to be held accountable in any way. Most often they were applauded for making tough decisions. When ample time is given with no progress there are times change is necessary. Ample time can be debated and is ultimately decided by leadership.
I’d like to relate a story that may provide food for thought for head coaches, future head coaches, and leaders.
A dad and his three sons made a trip to the batting cages to get ready for the upcoming baseball season. The two older boys (ages 8 and 15) took turns with the machine making consistently good contact. They were both excited and confident for practice to begin.
The youngest son took his turn. With 15 pitches per token, he took 15 pitches and 15 whiffs. The seven-year-old did not even come close. As you would expect of a seven-year-old who watched his brothers hit every pitch the tears flowed. “Let me try again” was his next response. Another token and another 15 whiffs. More tears, more whiffs and more tokens. After four rounds the dad was almost in tears like the 7-year-old suffering through each whiff. The dad almost couldn’t bear the suffering of watching the boy fail again and again. One more round and again all whiffs. Not even a foul ball. Zero contact. The youngest screamed, “The ball is invisible!”.
The next evening the two oldest boys wanted another trip to the batting cages and the youngest reluctantly went along. After watching his brothers for a few rounds he decided to give it another try. “Oh no” the dad thought. Here goes another tear-filled night of swinging at the invisible pitches. In the cage he goes, readies himself and the bat, here comes the first pitch and ‘BAM’ contact. A well struck line drive right up the middle. Then 14 more pitches and not one single whiff. High fives all around. What joy on his face!
I should know, I was there because it was me and my three sons. The lesson I learned was that although I didn’t see progress with whiff after whiff, progress was being made.
Slowly his eyes were being trained. His timing was getting better even though there were no visible signs. His determination and persistence was getting stronger through the tears. Then all of a sudden, results became evident.
Sometimes the bottom line doesn’t tell the whole story. Progress is being made even though it is not seen.