Extraordinary Does Not Mean Complex

As a college basketball coach, I often had a lot of information to share with our players and usually not a lot of time to do so.

Academic information, practice, workouts, conditioning, travel plans, community service commitments, and a whole lot more. Short, to the point, crystal clear messaging in a way that was easy for the players to digest so they could figure out what it meant to them.

In other words… present the information in such a way that they can take it and run with it immediately.

Ordinary is Unacceptable

Be Extraordinary in everything you do.

That is something we talk to our clients about all the time. It is vital to commit to separating yourself from the competition by how you do the things that people may take for granted.

Let’s put a different spin on it for a second.

After a 5-3 start in the 2021 – 22 season, Mark Turgeon, the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Maryland stepped down and it was said that he and the administration mutually agreed that this was the best thing for the future of the program.

Here is someone who in just over 10 seasons at Maryland went 226-116 and went to seven NCAA Tournaments and he decides to step down.

What went wrong?

The consensus… Maryland Basketball became ORDINARY.

The lesson in this is simple, pay attention to the little things, embrace the intangibles and what they do for you, and never lose sight of growing even when you are standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before you. Have fun being something special and take pride in being the author of your own story collectively and individually.

Do Not Overthink What It Takes to Win

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the remarkable story of what TJ Otzelberger did at Iowa State over the same season. 

TJ had the Cyclones playing in the Sweet Sixteen just one season after they went 2-22 and lost their last 18 games in a row in 2020-21.

Nowadays when you take over a program there is a ton of pressure to have immediate results and many coaches are turning to the transfer portal to do just that. When you do that you are getting players who have either experienced success in another program doing it a certain way or they wanted out of where they were at because they were not happy.

Both situations bring a different set of dynamics that may or may not make it difficult to get people to buy-in and to be on the same page. When this happens, coaches can overthink what needs to be done to move in the right direction from day one, but TJ kept it simple.

TJ shared two keys to his success that I know will help you and your team right now as you continue to level up your game as a coaching leader and face the challenges of recruitment and retention, and getting the most out of your people.

  • TJ sought “low-ego, high-producing” guys as he reshaped his roster through the transfer portal
  • They knew what they were signing up for and they knew what our identity would be

Here are three questions that will help you take those quick bursts of content and apply them to your leadership and your team immediately.

  • What little thing can you do today as a coaching leader that can move your team in the direction of being extraordinary?
  • Who are your low ego/high-performing members of your team, are they happy, do they feel valued, and are you coaching them to the best of your ability?
  • What is your team’s identity and do they embrace it?

Keep doing great things!

This was originally published as a weekly newsletter from Ed Molitor, with The Molitor Group. If you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, follow this link to subscribe.


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