10:00pm on a Friday night and you look at the scoreboard after the final horn goes off, it reads “Home: 42 Visitor: 10.” The scoreboard has two sides, each with two separate communities behind their score. For the home team, it’s a celebration. For the visiting team, it’s a long bus ride home. Everyone in the stands and in the community can look up and see the score, what everyone can’t see is the journey that led to that score.
Let’s just look into the differences often associated with winning and losing programs.
Winning Programs: The most important factor in winning programs has always been connected to the culture of the team. From accountability, organization, and discipline, winning teams find ways to get everyone to buy-in. Building trustworthy relationships, caring for one another, and being a WE > ME type of person regardless of what your role is. Everyone has one goal: To WIN!
Losing Programs: Any small slip-up or excuse can penetrate a winning program and lead to that of a losing one. Selfishness, poor relationships, lack of buy-in, and lack of accountability will destroy a team’s culture in a day. Some things are out of coaches and players control, but culture is not one of them! If you do anything right, create a positive culture!
Winning Programs: From the principle, to the AD, to the coach, to the players, to the managers, to the parents, to the janitors, EVERYONE has to do THEIR part. Players can’t win without support from coaches, coaches can’t win without support from the front office, the front office can’t win without support from the parents. Great programs find ways to make it work from top to bottom. Every-one is organized and on the same page. May not always agree with one another, however they find ways to make it work in order to bring success to the program.
Losing Programs: Instead of everyone helping and supporting each other, losing programs point fingers and blame other departments for lack of success. No one accepts their responsibilities as admins, coaches, athletes, or parents. Each department looks for the other department to do something instead of taking initiative and moving forward. No program can win when the surrounding casts of support fail to make it work. They spend more time complaining about others than investing time and effort into the program itself. Resources are needed to win, and every-one has to do their part to achieve that success.
Winning Programs: The X’s and O’s don’t change much in sports. Most coaches know the basics of what to call and what to counter certain offenses and defenses in the games with. Strategies are a small factor into winning. When you’re around a program with a winning coach, you can just feel it when you walk in. Everything is smooth, energy is buzzing, and there’s a sense of excitement game in and game out. Will they win every game? Probably not, but that sense of excitement never leaves. The players would run through a wall to win for a great coach. Parents will go to extra lengths to make sure the coach has their supports. Admins will bend some rules in favor of a quality coach. Coaching matters!
Losing Programs: Losing coaches know the same X’s and O’s as winning coaches. They struggle with relationships, accountability, and organization. Ever watched a losing program warm-up? It’s usually not hard to see why they are a losing program within the first 5-10 minutes of game day procedures. You can walk-in to any practice or team event and just know, this team is not very well coached. Losing coaches tend to be close-minded and stuck in their ways. Being an un-coachable coach is probably worse than dealing with an un-coachable player.
Yes, there are 100’s of other factors that go into winning. Talent, facilities, resources, and other aspects certainly help support winning programs. The 3 listed are above are most commonly associated with the best programs around. As a former coach and player, I’ve been involved with both losing and winning programs. Success isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth it! Please help support your coaches and athletes. They spend a ton of time and you don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors. Be positive and help the program grow and develop!