My wife and I recently went to Arkansas to see the Florida Gators play the Razorbacks. That makes 4 SEC stadiums and counting now (it’s a bucket list thing). The Gators were favored by more than a field goal. They had the talent to win. They had the defense to win. They should have won. But they didn’t. Instead, they lost 31-10. I’m not bitter about it though…but I do need to confess that it usually takes me a couple of days to get over a loss. Especially one like this.
We had a great experience going to the game. It was a great game day atmosphere, we were there with some good friends, we had good seats, ate good food, and the Arkansas fans were more than hospitable. The outcome was just disappointing. It was like the Gators were trying to phone this one in. They didn’t look like themselves. It’s like they didn’t even get off the bus! I don’t mind losing if they leave it all on the field, but they just didn’t play up to their potential.
Ever been a part of a team like that? A team that doesn’t play up to their potential? It happens for all kinds of reasons:
Sometimes teams just aren’t prepared to play the game. They haven’t had enough practice and game-like repetitions. Sometimes they don’t have a clear strategy that tells everyone what to do next. Sometimes they’re not emotionally or mentally prepared. When the whistle blows and the ball is kicked it’s too late to prepare. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to get their players prepared to play.
Not Playing to the Strengths of the Players
Sometimes coaches don’t play to the strengths of the players they have. You can’t just go out and clear your roster and get new players. You have to play the game with the players you have. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to be willing to make adjustments to their preferences and play to the strengths of their team.
Recruiting Based on Potential
Some of the worst recruiting is based on potential. When you add a team member hoping they’re going to develop into a superstar your making a dangerous wager. Potential is a 4-letter-word. Recruit based on what players have already produced, not on what you hope they’ll produce. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to recruit players who have already demonstrated competency.
You can’t win games when individual superstars aren’t willing to play their part on the team so the team can succeed. If you have players that don’t understand when the team wins they win, then they’ll never win. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to get their individual contributors to play as a team. If they can’t, then the Coach has to get them off the team.
What are some other reasons you’ve seen teams not play up to their potential?
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