Goals Create Motivation – Action Creates Progress

The small things we focus on can deliver the big things we dream about. This is the very point University of Dayton Head Basketball Coach Archie Miller made during an interview with Mike Hartsock of WHIO TV.

Hartsock: Do you still take your guys back to last year? “O.K. guys, remember what we had last year, what we went through last year?”

Coach Miller:  I think more so the path that we took, how we handled the path, not so much where the end result got, but… how much better did we get from February 22nd to March 15th… It’s finding a way to get your team to stay in the moment, of talking about, “Hey look! This was the path we were on. This is where we were a year ago men…think about how far we went; we can do it, too!”… Not so much about, “Do you want to do this again, do you want to do that again? Remember the little things that got us there.

– Archie Miller, Head Coach of Dayton Flyers Men’s Basketball Program; Broadcast, 3/1/2015

People are motivated by big dreams and goals if they believe the goals are possible for them. That’s a good start. But having inspiring goals is not enough. Goals are the measurable parts of a dream. Dreams become real from the execution of the right, moment-by-moment actions. Too much attention on the dream can distract us from doing the actions that produce the outcomes we expect.

Successful people know how to leverage the motivation of a dream to create the actions that get results. People who feel the high of an inspiring dream and consistently fail to take the necessary actions are adrenalin junkies.  From this interview, I conclude that Coach Miller understands this principle and leads his team accordingly.

 “The small things we focus on
can deliver the big things we dream about.”
— Clancy Cross

Good luck to the Dayton Flyers, Men and Women, in their upcoming tournaments!

Two More Magic Moments

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, it was the Greeneview Rams hosting the Springfield Catholic Central Irish in a high school boys’ basketball contest. It was a special night and once again it was my privilege to be “The Voice of the Rams.”

After scarfing down a couple slices of pizza in the hospitality room, I was cornered by Athletic Director Mark Reinhart, who had a secret and a special assignment.  A player on each team was about to reach a career milestone, 1000 points.  At the high school level, this many points is not an everyday occurrence.  Twice in the same game is unthinkably rare!

Greeneview High’s Evan Bradds, a junior, needed 14 points.  Catholic Central’s senior forward Brian Kelly needed 13.  Apparently both players knew they were close, but not exactly how close.  Neither knew about the surprise that was in store.

Only a handful of people were briefed: the head coaches, the referees, and the officials at the scorers’ table. Jane, the lovely Greeneview scorekeeper, was responsible for monitoring their progress.  When either player reached the milestone, she would alert Kenny, the reliable and steady timekeeper, who would hit the buzzer to stop the game. Then, yours truly would have the privilege of announcing the player’s name and his outstanding accomplishment.  The fans would cheer and the players and coaches would celebrate as athletes do with high fives, chest bumbs, knuckle bumps and a few hugs.  Then, the game would resume and the process would continue hoping for that historic second milestone.

Here’s how it played out.  Bradds scored his 1000th point with 1:45 remaining in the 2nd quarter. Kelly followed suit in the 2nd half. The script played out just as if we had rehearsed it — two 1000-point celebrations in the same game!  What made it exceptional was seeing the sportsmanship of rivals enjoying each other’s accomplishment.

17 years ago, when Athletic Director Bob Roach entrusted me with the job of public address announcer, this special game was not on my radar screen. How could it be?  Evan Bradds was either an infant or a twinkle in his father’s eye. Clearly I did not seek this job in preparation for this moment or any other specific highlight. My long-term vision is not that acute.  Motivation for the job was to improve my skills and audition for an announcer position at a Division 1 college program. That opportunity never materialized.  However, with perfect 20-20 hindsight I’m glad it didn’t.  Each time another magic Rams moment comes along I’m reminded how grateful I am for the opportunity to be the man behind the microphone in my hometown.

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills
so that when important occasions arise, you will have
the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”
— Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker

What opportunities are you looking for?  What opportunities are looking for you?  What are you grateful for?

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 10)

Take your eye off the ball” is bad advice in sports, but a great metaphor for the biggest barrier to success.  When a football player is seeing his endzone celebration before seeing the ball safely in his hands he is likely to see the ball on the ground.  “Hearing footsteps” refers to a situation where a player anticipates getting hit by the opponent, loses focus and makes an error.  We might say the player “takes his ears off the ball.”

A tactic in basketball is to do something like a head fake or a look-away pass to cause the opposition to focus on the wrong thing.  A player with the ball can cause a momentary distraction with a simple turn of the head.  In the diagram below, Ronnie (44) had the ball in the corner.  Before passing it to Zach (20), who was headed for the basket, he turned his head left toward the stands and fired the ball to Zach on his right, who caught the perfect pass and made the easy basket. Here’s the interesting part of this particular play.  Who or what was on Ronnie’s left to look at?  He’s in the corner, where there is no basket and no other players to pass to.  Still, the defender froze, lost focus for a fraction of a second, and allowed the ball to get by him.  Loss of focus, even briefly, can be a game changer.

Ronnie to Zach for 2 Points

These examples illustrate the importance of short-term focus.  Now, let’s consider focus from a long-term perspective.  Do you know where you are going?  What is your purpose for being here in this world?  How does your vision of your future align with your sense of purpose?  As purpose and vision take form, perhaps you can “see” an image of your preferred future.  If so, put it into written form or draw a picture.  This is much more than an academic exercise.  Taking time to visualize your purpose-driven future and create a visual representation of it helps you stay focused on what matters most.

“I dream my painting and paint my dream.” — Vincent Van Gogh

“The Three Armies can be deprived of their commanding officer,
but even a common man cannot be deprived of his purpose.”
— Confucius

With a vision, you can plan.  With a plan you can take action.  Action creates momentum, which gets results.  But, always remember to keep your eye on the ball or you might get the wrong results and that would sabotage your future.

“You cannot change your destination overnight,
but you can change your direction overnight.”
— Jim Rohn

These Flyers Really Fly!

Dayton is the birthplace of aviation — it is also the home of the Dayton Flyers. This season the University of Dayton men’s basketball team is giving new meaning to their nickname.

After today’s victory over St. Bonaventure, Coach Brian Gregory’s boys are sporting an 18-2 overall record, 4-1 in conference play and just a half game out of first place in the Atlantic 10 conference standings. They continue to get votes for the Top 25. But, soaring in the standings and flirting with the upper stratosphere of the Division I rankings is not the reason.

If you’ve seen these guys play, you know what I’m talking about. These guys really can fly! First, there’s London Warren who was tagged “The Jacksonville Jet” because of the way he flies down the court. Fellow point guard Rob Lowery, also with great speed, literally went horizontal today, soaring over the scorers’ table and the bench before landing almost in the laps of the first row of spectators. Next, there is senior Charles Little, who can jump out of the gym with his 41-inch vertical leap. Freshman guard Chris Johnson, Dayton’s number two rebounder, launched himself above the fray today to pull down eight rebounds.

I’m just getting warmed up. With a third of the regular season remaining, Dayton has already obliterated the school’s season dunk record and they added nine more today against the Bonnies, including five during a 2:37 span at the start of the second half. Junior Marcus Johnson started the show with his familiar one-handed jam on a breakaway that began with a Chris Wright block. Then it was time for the aerial acrobatics of Top Gun Chris Wright. Without the benefit of a flight plan Wright raced down the court looking for the ally-oop from London Warren.  With the ball on its way, Wright launched himself, grabbed the rock,  and finished the mission with a powerful jam, much to the delight of 13,408 fans. About a minute later, he repeated the same stunt in crowded airspace causing the UD Arena to erupt. The Dayton Air Show needs to book this guy.

“We talk all of the time at the house when you see me running just throw it up and I’ll get it there. The worse the oop is, the better it looks.” — Chris Wright,  Source: <www.DaytonFlyers.com>

It’s too early to make postseason predictions. But, here’s what I know so far. These guys are extremely athletic and entertaining. (A halftime show with the Bud Light Daredevils would be an anticlimax.) To a man, they play hard-nosed defense, getting steals, controlling the boards, diving for loose balls, and blocking shots. The result of their tenacity is consistently holding their opponents below their average. The Flyers have been winning games with defense!

“There was no doubt the first 30 minutes of the game, our intensity was really, really good. We did a good job of getting the loose balls early and we caused a lot of offense. I was pleased with our guys and the energy level they played with this afternoon.” — Brian Gregory,  Source: <www.DaytonFlyers.com>

The team is deep. Coach Gregory plays 11-12 guys every game and each one has shown he can contribute. The Flyers are taking care of business at home, finding ways to win on the road, and outlasting their opponents in the close games. In fact, winning the close ones is becoming their trademark. I’ll abstain from mentioning any liabilities and leave that for others on the discussion boards. I just love watching these guys play and that’s all I need to say.

Go Flyers!

— Clancy Cross