Simple Is Not Simple
The offensive anchors for our basketball program are “Simple & Together”.
Together is fairly straightforward. It addresses areas such as sharing the ball, making the extra pass to the open man, being a good teammate, doing your job on every possession, and helping teammates by screening and cutting. Most players understand this aspect rather quickly.
The other tenant, simple, is much more difficult for players to understand and execute.
And, I don’t think this is relegated to basketball. I see it in teams in all aspects of society.
Simplicity is one of the most misunderstood and undervalued concepts we entertain.
Why Should We Care?
Simplicity requires understanding.
“Before I studied the art, a punch was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I’ve understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity; the ability to express the utmost with the minimum.” - Bruce Lee
It’s a fascinating paradox. The more we learn about something, the more we realize we don’t know. This stands in stark contrast to the YouTube phenomena in which everyone thinks they can just watch a five minute video and know everything there is to know on a specific subject. It’s simply not true. Some of the most toxic situations on a team occur when confident unknowledgeable people become the loudest, and most persistent, voice.
Simplicity requires embracing the mundane.
No matter how you dress it up, the simple things are never sexy. It’s exactly what makes them simple. One of the most significant mistakes we make as leaders is gradually lessening the emphasis we place on the simple things as the stakes get higher. Every accomplishment we experience is rooted in the same simple, mundane actions that we initially embraced when we started. It’s the persistence of those mundane actions that drive our success - not the lone win, the news headlines, or the SportsCenter play.
Simplicity requires patience.
The whole idea of delayed gratification seems like a foreign concept nowadays. Something our forefathers might of had to adhere to, but we get to skip over. This is not the case for simplicity. The riches that come from simplicity are a slow burn. Slow enough that most give up on it just before they begin to see the benefit of it. It’s the daily, boring, forgettable work that few see and even fewer value appropriately.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
We have so many demands, commitments, and deadlines pulling us in various directions that it’s difficult to stay focused on what is most important. Here are few ideas to assist in staying on the path of simplicity.
The daily, boring, forgettable work that few see and even fewer value is actually the straw that stirs the drink. We lead to help others be the best versions of themselves, to help them achieve things they didn’t think was possible. If that’s truly the case, we should double down on our emphasis on the simple.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.