Special guest blog written by professional lacrosse player and Lead ‘Em Up ambassador Kevin Buchanan:
With the holidays behind us… hope everyone enjoyed theirs… I can’t believe it is already mid-January. For the lacrosse players out there, we all get that same feeling, the season is within reach. Preparation starts to ramp up, zoning in on your strength and conditioning as well as sharpening stick skills with the approaching season. I can believe college is about 3 weeks away from opening weekend, craziness!
Over the next month, I am pumped to be writing two blogs on topics I think are key. These blogs are timely as the beginning of the season is so critical in so many ways. The formation, vibe, and culture of your team will start to develop within those first couple weeks. Hopefully, the foundation is set fast and well so focus can be directed to succeeding on the field.
As I mentioned setting a foundation for your team, leadership within the group to help lay that foundation is vital. Now, I know we hear this word “leadership” a lot in our day to day lives. If you were to ask me what leadership was 15+ years ago, I wouldn’t be able to describe it. I’d probably say the best player on our team equals leadership. But as I reflect back, it was and is so much more. Sometimes the players that contributed the least on the field, actually lead the best and are key to team’s overall success.
Leadership has many layers. If it was a cake it would have every flavor know to man, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry… thing would be 50ft tall. The one layer I’d like to focus on, serving is leading. The best leaders I’ve been around in my career both in athletics and the professional world are the ones that serve. There are hundreds of examples about leaders who gain respect and followership through serving. As a Christian, I see Jesus at the top of the list and as I sit writing on MLK day, Dr. King was excellent as well. These figures were unbelievable at serving the people around them with their actions. Leading the way and setting a standard on how things are done for others to witness.
In today’s society, the media, Hollywood, etc., its very glamorous to give these epic pre or post game speeches, to inspire folks through verbal communication and get all jacked up. Don’t get me wrong, I love those too, but if you were to break down the amount of time you actually compete in a game against an opponent versus how much one practices and prepares for those few minutes, it’s staggering. I make that point because its rather simple and easy to give a 5 minute pump up speech. It’s difficult to bring energy to practice, shag balls, pick up the locker room, or clean the bus everyday for entire year. To condition when no one’s looking over your shoulder at Christmas break so you hit the ground running when you arrive back at school. Hitting the wall after practice for an extra 100 reps or grinding in the weight room for an extra 20 minutes. For the leaders around me that did these type of things, it inspired me to be a better individual. It created an identity for our team, established a way to conduct ourselves and a culture to work for the guy next to you. Believe me, this type of leadership is contagious. When some serves you, you in turn want to serve someone else.
So take a moment to reflect on your past. Have you come across someone who serves as a type of leadership? How did it impact you? Looking forward, try to serve someone everyday. As your season ramps up, whether your a veteran or a rookie, do something (even if it is small) to serve someone. Stay persistent and consistent. People will notice and the impact is exponential.
Coaches are always looking for more leadership from their players; using our drills and exercises your players will grow into the leaders needed to win.
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