A STORY I ALWAYS USE WHEN I MEET MY NEW TEAM FOR THE FIRST TIME
You only get one shot to make a first impression. I get questions every so often about interviewing for head coaching jobs, and I always tell coaches they must 'paint a picture' of what day one, week one, and month one will look like to the interview committee.
All new head coaches, whether it's your first job or your fifth, must go in and light a fire under their new team, coaches and any administrator who attends the meeting. You need players to go home with excitement! They should tell their parents, "We have the right guy! Coach ______ is what we need!"
My game plan to do this is to have a team meeting in the auditorium before I begin full-time. I want to set the vision and generate some juice before the work begins. In 2017 when I took over at North Forney, I asked the principal, Courtney Peck, if I could do this and she graciously allowed it. The team meeting happened on a Thursday and I began full-time the following Monday.
After 45-55 minutes of laying out how we are going to win with our culture of 'everything matters', I always finish with this story:
Charles Blondin was a world-famous tightrope walker. Early in 1859, Blondin decided that he would be the first to walk a tightrope stretched across Niagara Falls, 1,100 feet long and 160 feet in the air. Blondin didn't disappoint, and the thousands of people who were there were amazed by the spectacle.
He jumps on the rope, to the crowd's amazement; he doesn't look nearly as stable as he should. He wobbles until he grabs his balancing pole and starts across the falls. He goes back and forth a few times. The crowd is now in a frenzy.
Blondin knew he had them in the palm of his hand, so he began to 'up the ante,' he traversed the rope with no pole. Then he took a chair half-way and sat a spell. Then he took some juggling pins and juggled all the way across, and then took a hot plate and made himself lunch. With every trip, the crowd got louder. For the last trip, he ratcheted up one more notch.
Blondin asked the crowd, 'who would like to see me push someone across the falls in a wheelbarrow?' Oh yes, they cheered loudly! The crowd was fired up to say the least..yes! Yes! Yes!
"Ok, who would like to volunteer to get in the wheelbarrow?"
Silence from the crowd. You could have heard a pin drop. No one was willing to take the leap of faith and get in the wheelbarrow.
How does this story relate to this meeting and our team? This is might be when I ask you to do things you haven't done before. I will ask you to do things that you will have to trust me on. We will implement new ways to train, a new offense, a new defense, kicking game...everything will be different. You will understand some of it and some of it you won't.
We are going to be good here. The recipe of 'everything matters' and the culture we will create is proven. It can be an evolution and take the normal two or three years or it can be a revolution and we can shock the world this year. The choice is yours...
If we are going to win this year, all of you must trust me and get in the wheelbarrow. I hope you will!
*DAY-ONE TEAM MEETING POWERPOINT is now available in our store if you would like to have an outline to energize your new team.