That sound, I will never forget that sound.
Nor will I ever forget the smell that seemed to always accompany that sound of the 8mm film projector, popcorn popping. Not the microwave bags of popcorn we have now, but kernels in a pot soaking in vegetable oil.
Of all the memories growing up a coach’s son it is one of my favorites, Dad’s late-night film sessions. I remember being in bed and the house being eerily dark and quiet except for the projector and now and then a comment from my Dad which he was sure he was the only one who heard. It took every ounce of will power not to go immediately running downstairs, but then the smell of that popcorn would push me over the edge.
There were nights though, based on the comments, a number of times I heard the projector grind in rewind mode, as well as the comments, kept me away. And if he burnt the popcorn, I knew it was best to stay away. As nostalgic as that is, it was those moments that taught me the value and significance of watching film. Lessons I would carry over into my coaching career.
Though as a player watching film was often dreaded as it usually was when you were called out in front of your teammates. A great deal of your time was spent anxiously holding your breath, praying something happened to the quality of film overnight, or you ran out of time to get to the sequence where you did not help out on the weak side.
As a coach, though, it was an incredible tool to use to evaluate your team and to get an idea of what was working and what was not working. You could break down how your team reacted in certain situations and evaluated your decision making as a coach making sure you put your players in position to succeed. Confirming how your team reacted to adverse situations mentally whether it be a bad call, bad bounce of the ball or a huge swing in momentum.
The line that we have repeated a thousand times in our head and to our players…..the film don’t lie!
One of the things that watching film allows you to do is take a step back in a neutral environment and truly reflect on what you are seeing. Sometimes your memory gets a bit emotional in the moment and as we all know it is a bit hard to see the forest through the trees. Game film absolutely confirms a favorite saying of mine that “nothing is ever as good as it seems or as bad as it seems, but somewhere in the middle reality lies.” The key is that there are lessons to be learned and it is the action that you take the next practice or next game that determine what level of success you will achieve.
When I founded The Molitor Group, we decided on the brand ‘The Athletics of Business’ which is a leadership mindset built on the foundational belief that the leadership skills, traits, and behaviors which are developed in athletics are not only applicable in the business world but are key to your success.
So, what does that have to do with watching game film? Everything!
My Mental Game Film
This time of the year has always been one I use for reflecting on the past year and replaying things over in my mind. It seems to be the natural thing to do as we rush through the Holidays and jump into the New Year which always seems to promise bigger and better things (Fighting the urge to add any Cubs comments here, such as ‘This is Next Year’).
However, a few years ago things began to change for me as our daughter Maddie was two and Nancy (my absolute better half) was expecting our son EJ. The game was changing, and I started to pay more attention to my eulogy virtues than my resume virtues. This is when it dawned on me to take time at the end of the year, just as I did at the end of each basketball season, and truly evaluate myself in each one of my roles.
The ones that receive the most attention nowadays are the roles of a Father, Husband, and an entrepreneur. So, I started to watch my mental game film.
Sometime in mid-December, I gather my journals, my personal and business calendar, my ACT’s (at the end of each month I make a list of my Accomplishments, Celebrations, and Tweaks for the month) and my business plan/goals which I set in writing the previous December. Once I feel organized and comfortable that I have everything needed to make an honest evaluation of the previous year I block off two to three days where I can work uninterrupted for at least 6-8 hours.
Those two to three days are an incredible reminder to me how much I have accomplished and how much more I can improve. Here are the things I look for:
- What could I do more/less of?
- What did I enjoy?
- What were my proudest accomplishments?
- What did I spend too much time on?
- What did not get enough time?
- What can I learn from my failures/mistakes?
- How can I build on my successes?
- What areas can I improve?
There are some more, but that gives you a good idea of my approach to working through my game film. The key is transparency and honesty with yourself, so you can maximize your awareness.
I take this information, and I use it to set my goals and build my plan for the upcoming year. This exercise has helped me become more focused, strategic and effective in every area of my life.
Each year I find that although there are many required skill sets for everything I do, (Executive Coaching, Leadership Training, and Speaking), it all seems to come back to relationships and did I do the best job I could in relationships and serving others.
In other words, when things got crazy in the normal routine of the day, did I remain focused on being present and staying true to each process I was involved in or did I get sideways and get away from my core values and goals.
Once I complete the review of my game film I immediately plan my first week of the New Year by filling out 7 Practice Plans, one for each day of the week. You can read about the process of the Practice Plan in my FREE e-book 6 Steps to Planning a Successful Day and you will also receive an interactive, downloadable copy of the Practice Plan.
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