Last night, before the beginning of BTL practice 13 with OSU Women’s basketball, I watched the end of practice on the court. Once the whistle was blown, signaling the end of organized practice, the team headed for the showers and got ready for the quick turnaround to BTL practice – all but one, that is.
Kelsey Mitchell (currently 3rd all time scorer in NCAA history), asked a couple guys to stick around for a few minutes. They seemed to understand what was coming next. One got under the basket and the other hung at the 3 point line. The balls started flying at her and one dude started counting. She had five spots beyond the arc and had to make five straight from each spot. It.Did.Not.Take.Long. As she jogged by me, heading to the showers, she said, “Wasn’t happy with my shot, Coach Chet. Don’t worry, I won’t be late to practice.”
She was not late.
Practice 13 was our best yet. The team responded to the challenge presented in practice 12. Kelsey led. Linnae led. Steph led. Sierra led. KK led. Asia led. Even Lexa led and smiled like crazy while doing so. The entire team participated. We gave the gift of belief to one of their teammates. We laughed a lot. They made fun of me and called me names (some of them were really funny). They answered four questions and shared openly their search for purpose and meaning beyond the hardwood floor. We went long. Nobody cared, at least not enough to disengage. They are beginning to believe.
Last night was a great reminder for me. The elite always work more and somehow still make it on time to the stuff that matters. Hard fights, that happen for a shared purpose, are a fact of life for real, good, teams. Light moments, often follow – Lots of laughter. Last night we let some of the team give the gift of belief by sending a teammate a text, we let some send the text and read it out loud, and some sent the text and simply spoke from their heart. I let teammates do it their way, not mine. I let loose of some control as they took the lead. High performance, remember, is found just this side of chaos, friend.
What’s your team need from you, leader? More order? More chaos? More clarity? More curiosity? More laughter? More love? More calm? It’s your job to know and it’s your job to make them feel like they don’t need you to give it to them. Good work, ladies. You got this…