At the start of my second year as a head coach, at Division III Rhode Island College, we beat Iona College in an exhibition game. That win was huge for our program and for my confidence as a coach, but it also caught me off guard. I learned a lesson on intentionally handling success. This is an excerpt from my book “Entitled to Nothing” on what I learned after that game.
Obviously, the confidence we took from beating Iona was important to everyone – our players and our coaching staff. But I failed to adequately prepare our team mentally after we won that game. As important as our approach was leading up to that game, I didn’t recognize the importance of it after we won. Up to that point, I had never really thought about handling success. You win, things are going well, you just keep it going and everything will be great, right? Well, I learned pretty quick that doesn’t work. My team had great confidence, but after that win everything changed. Our expectations, the way people looked at us, the way we looked at ourselves, it was all different. Handling success is something you have to prepare for intentionally, and it can be harder than handling failure.
The strongest emotion I felt in our gym after we got back from Iona was tension. We were loose and confident on the outside, sure, and we felt good about ourselves. But things had clearly changed, and our team, including myself, was really tight. Winning that game had raised expectations and rightfully so. I love high expectations, and I want them around my program all the time. But there can be a lot of tension around teams with high expectations, and I wasn’t ready to deal with it.
If you are interested in order a copy or copies of “Entitled to Nothing” for your staff or team, click on this link: