The beginning of March gives us one of my favorite times of year……NCAA tournament time. I’ve been lucky to experience and enjoy the wonder of March. I went through years where our team made it to the Final Four and I went through years where our team lost early. There wasn’t a disparity when came to talent on those teams because it was the same players. Looking back I’ve identified 5 things that were helpful during a tournament run that have translated to other situations I’ve been in after my playing career was over.
Continue to Evolve
Throw everything that happened before this out the window. Your previous success has no bearing on how you are about to perform in the future. The thought that how you’ve been operating will continue to work without any changes is wrong.
Knowing you are going into a situation where you’re only going to get one shot at winning is exciting and nerve racking all in one. It’s also the best time to take an introspective look at yourself and your team to make sure everyone is contributing in a matter that propels you forward.
Little Things Make A Big Difference
Very few tournament games are blowouts and most of them come down to a few possessions that will be the deciding factors. The more little things you do correctly over time the bigger the impact it will have come game time.
If you look at the game of golf and trying to hit a golf ball straight, the angle of your club face at impact directly correlates to the ball going straight or missing the target by 20 yards. Every inch and degree can have a direct effect on how your team operates in a one and done environment and those small changes can put you on a successful path.
Make The Most of Your Prep Time
After a win in the NCAA tournament you have to have a short memory and understand how to be efficient with your prep time. There is an art to being able to prepare a team with only one day between games. The ability to decipher what is the most important information and the best way to relay that information so your team can absorb it.
Staying In The Moment
Distractions are the most abundant thing at an NCAA tournament. You have family, friends, fans, and people asking for autographs and pictures, people calling for tickets and so on. Don’t get me wrong it is an awesome experience but it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of things other than the actual game you’re going to be playing.
Maintaining A Sense Of Urgency
The great John Wooden said “be quick but don’t hurry” and that is extremely true during one and done time. Doing your job with a sense of urgency doesn’t mean you’re doing everything at a sped up pace. A sense of urgency gives you an understanding of the importance of your individual job and why doing it swiftly and correctly will help you team.