The grind is real.
At times in every basketball season, a team needs reminding of the Cal Ripken, Jr. quote, “When you’re in the day to day grind, it just seems like it’s another step along the way. But I find joy in the actual process, the journey, the work. It’s not the end. It’s the journey together.”
Ripken famously holds the Major League Baseball record for most consecutive games played at 2,632 games, which is 23,688 innings or 71, 064 defensive outs without missing a single pitch or play…the ultimate grind.
Our Houston Girls Basketball team is in the midst of one such grind. The defending regular season and district tournament champions are in the midst of another historic season this season. Undefeated thru the first half of district play and currently on an 20 game district winning streak.
“Like every team at Houston, we have our sights set on getting to the ultimate goal,” Head Coach Ben Moore said. “But like every team, there are certain things I want the young people to take away from the experience.”
This year’s Lady Mustangs are led by sophomore Jayla Hemingway, a top 10 national recruit, who averages over 20 points per game.
She plays along with Division 1 signee Rochelle Lee, who will be attending the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and several other Division 1 recruits including Maddie Griggs, Destinee Wells, Shaela Gardner, Sammiyah Hoskin & Melisa Carter.
Senior Shannon Sharp says Coach Moore is using several different ideas to combat the grind of the season, one is humility.
Of all the qualities and characteristics seen in great leaders, humility is one of the greatest. It’s also rarer than it should be.
C.S. Lewis said it so well when he wrote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Athletics can be such a results oriented endeavor, but at Houston it is all about the process. Not dealing with “what ifs” is an essential part of growth, nothing is more important than dealing with what the players can control…attitude (staying together), energy and effort.
The key idea is…there is no accelerating the process. Every individual learns at a different pace, so all you can do is give them the experience and the understanding. Every player that comes thru goes thru struggles at some point, some physical, some emotional, some intellectual.
It is something everyone must simply go thru, it is a part of the process.
Here are some other ideas Coach Moore shared he uses to help with the pitfalls placed in front of a championship team.
Whether an athlete is doing a great job or struggling, there are a number of things a coach can do to acknowledge their effort.
Even when you might know what a player should or shouldn’t be doing, don’t let your decision seem arbitrary.
Make sure that your players know that you are coaching with intent. If an athlete is doing well, tell them and encourage them to keep getting better. If an athlete is not doing well, tell them to keep their head up and offer a suggestion of how they can improve.
“This takes a bit more effort than many coaches care to exert, but the difference it can make in the life of your athlete can be huge,” Moore said. “Everyone gets a reminder to focus on the process. Every time.”
Most of us think integrity is a good thing, but what does the term mean?
One the one hand, it means that who you are on the inside matches what you appear to be on the outside. You are consistent to the core.
The concept of integrity springs from the original Latin root of the word, which means ‘intact.’ In other words, can you withstand the crisis intact?
A house with integrity (a solid foundation that is what it says it is) will withstand a storm. A house with a flimsy foundation won’t.
‘Normal’ doesn’t test your integrity. A crisis does. If you want to see how deeply your integrity runs, just look at your last crisis.
If you want to improve your integrity, take the steps you need to take to ensure your private walk matches your public talk.
“If you want to see how deeply your integrity runs, look at your last crisis.” -Carey Nieuwhof.
As this season draws to a close, Coach Moore hopes these ideas will help the team work cohesively to reach their goals.