I was a senior in high school playing middle linebacker and calling the defensive signals. It was the third quarter, we were leading but, the opponent had started to move the ball and we had started to panic. People were pointing fingers in the huddle, the defensive lineman were telling me to change the calls, run a different defense. Things felt like they were moving faster and faster and we were losing control. Then our defensive coordinator called a time out.
I ran to the sideline. “Coach’, I said, “we need to go to 53!” I don’t remember if he slapped the side of my helmet or just grabbed my face mask, but he got my attention and then said, ” slow down.” In a very calm way he asked me what I was seeing, talked me through a few things and sent me back with a few simple reminders. In those two minutes he created a space, enough space to look around, gather my thoughts, refocus, adjust and get back on track. Happy ending – we regained control, shut them down and won the game.
The new year is here; a natural transition time. Good athletes know that transitions are key. Sometimes they come in the flow the game, a turnover, a rebound, a fast break or a breakaway. Other times we create them by changing tempo, or formations or by calling a time out. They are where you can create a separation, open up space between you and your opponent.
In sports, and in life, space and time go together. On the field or the court or the ice, space gives players a sense of comfort and freedom. Time allows players to settle themselves and find the optimal target. (More about this here and in AH Naylor’s post here.) This time of year invites us to use the transition to create that space and take the time to choose those optimal targets, the things that matter, that move us in the direction of what’s important to us.
So, here’s a challenge and an invitation to use this natural transition to create some separation.Give yourself some space and time over the next few days to take an unhurried look at where you are and where you want to be. Then, rather than just firing away, or trying to force the action, ( adding more camps or clinics or tournaments or trying out for a different club because of what someone else is telling you ) use that time, even if it’s only a little bit, to get clearer. What are you seeing? What’s standing out to you? What’s important to you?Write it down if it helps or talk it through. Whether its the long term or just the next step you’ll probably get a better decision. Your chances are always better if you pick our shots, even if you miss , than just firing away and hoping something happens. Happy New Year – Good Luck in 2013.