Byron's Babbles

Own Your Own Expectations

Posted in Coaching, Education by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on January 29, 2012

Me & The Seniors

Last night I had the tremendous honor of being named our Lebanon High School Mens Basketball Honorary Coach. This was huge for me because it was the players’ idea and Coach Albert Hendrix agreed. The players are are biggest reason for my being excited about this opportunity. I have all but two in class, and since I am a systems thinker those two are my students too, since they go to Lebanon. Our Tigers are now 16-2, and I have been to all the games but but two (I was out of state for both). I have blogged about my personal mission of using Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships to facilitate high student achievement. Today’s post really goes to the Relationship component. Because of basketball a bond between myself and these students has been forged that is unbelievable. But really all of this is not the theme of this post.

Last fall during a leadership workshop we were conducting for our students one player/student, Ray Solomon, made a comment that has forever changed me and shaped many of my discussions with this team. When asked by the workshop facilitator “What are major distractions to to your being successful?” Ray wrote down “Expectations.” I asked Ray about this because normally we think of high expectations being a key to attaining success. Here’s where the student set the teacher straight; Ray said, “But Mr. Ernest you don’t understand, in basketball everyone has their own idea of what the expectations of the basketball team should be. They want us to all be straight A students, go to the college they went to, win a state championship (even though many making that statement never coached a state championship team, were on one, or even a good basketball player), never get into trouble, and the list goes on and on. Every one of them also wants to tell us exactly what me need to do better, and many times the next piece of advice contradicts the one before. It’s just too much to handle.” This statement from Ray really struck me and caused me to think. I really believe most of this is not coming out of love for the student athletes but out of these people’s own selfish desires to attach themselves in some way to the team. Much of it becomes not providing expectations, but DISTRACTIONS.

Sign Made by Rob Dukes

Coach Hendrix and I have developed a great relationship as well (in fact he uses my room and SMARTboards for film practice) and we have discussed these distractions. Amazingly, he gets the same thing – many who think they can coach the team better. My thought – even if they can (pretty sure they can’t) they are not the coach, period. Let me assure you after being on the bench with Coach Hendrix last evening there are few better at adjusting to what is happening in the game than him. He is a tremendous game coach. I have always said one of the best things we could do would be to take down all the banners in the gym and not live in the past but live for the here and now. Right now is this teams time. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past or who came before. What matters is the expectations this team has for themselves right now. It has to become personal.

Ray & I After My Coaching Debut!

My suggestion to Ray and all the other players is quite simply “Own your own expectations!” Don’t worry about everyone else’s expectations. I want them to quite simply make it personal. In fact, I personally tweeted that message to each player yesterday before the game and reinforced it in the locker room during the game. As Coach Hendrix said in his pregame, “you now have the opportunity to do something that very few get to do, it has to become personal, you have to want it more than anyone else, the stretch to a state championship begins right here, right now!” We won last night, by the way!

Last night it was such an incredible honor to be honorary coach for the game. I did everything that a coach would do – locker room pregame, on the floor for warm ups, sat on the bench with the players, halftime locker room adjustments, and post-game talks. What an experience! Words cannot describe the love I have for this team. Everyone of them is a great student, and more importantly, person. I will never forget the experience of the feeling of being asked to be the Honorary Coach. It means so much because it was this team – it was their own EXPECTATION of me. Guess what – I owned that expectation, too!

So for the readers of this post please remember that high expectations are important, but also remember as I tweeted: “No more DISTRACTIONS. Tonight it becomes personal. Don’t worry about everyone else’s expectations. Own your own Expectations!”

My Tweet to Ray - All the other players got one too!

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2 Responses

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  1. Never Be Average! « Byron's Babbles said, on February 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    […] of weeks ago you will remember I blogged about our basketball team (to read the post again click here). Well this week I would like to use a paper Cord Barricklow wrote for an “I […]

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  2. “They Were Scared!” | Byron's Babbles said, on February 21, 2014 at 9:58 am

    […] get to visit with him after the game. Click here to view past post that include wisdom from Albert: Own Your Own Expectations and Learning From SMART […]

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