A high school athlete has just completed his or her season. They are physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. After a couple of weeks of rest and re-charging they’re ready to get back at it. The athlete is feeling motivated and has big plans for how he or she is going to work hard and improve. The coach has similar plans on how to improve themselves and the program. Some goals are met, while others are not. Unfortunately both the player and the coach stay at relatively the same level as the previous season. What happened? What prevented them for reaching the next level? Big buts did.

A few weeks ago I heard a message at our church about eliminating the “buts” in our lives. It was such a powerful message, and one that applies very much to athletics. Coaches and athletes alike all make plans for improvement but too many times we allow our big buts to get in the way. What do these buts look like? They’re ugly, like Charles Barkley ugly.

Here are some of the popular player and coach buts:

Player Buts:

It’s too early. I’m tired. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m sore. Coach doesn’t like me. The other player is better. I’m too busy. I can’t do this. It’s too hard.

Coach Buts:

I don’t have time. I need to sleep. It’s too early. I don’t have any help. We lack talent. We lack facilities. I don’t feel good. What will other coaches think? I’ll do it tomorrow.

Now that we’ve identified a few of nasty buts used by players and coaches, let’s discuss how we eliminate them.

First, we must go back to our Why. Why are we playing or coaching? What’s our reason for involvement? For me it’s simple. My why is: To build champions on and off the court. Whenever I am feeling down or frustrated I go back to my why. It helps to keep me grounded and maintain a healthy perspective through the wins and the losses. Your Why doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but it must clearly state what your purpose is. Without it, you will get lost.

No player or coach will ever make it through a season without dealing with some form of adversity. Some may have it worse than others, but we all face it. There will be times of heartache and frustration, and this is when it becomes convenient and easy to allow our big buts to take over. However, if we go back to our Why and truly live it out, our buts will stay small and out of sight.

Another great way to keep our buts small is to have an accountability partner. Players should choose a teammate they will help stay on track if the coach hasn’t already assigned one. Coaches should all share their Why’s and collectively have one for the program. Great programs have players and coaches who hold each other accountable. They care and love each other enough to hold them accountable to what they said they were going to do. Only when this occurs can a team truly reach it’s highest potential.

Lastly, eliminate fear. Fear of failure and rejection is what allows those big nasty buts take over our lives. And as we all know, once our buts get too big, it’s very hard to get rid of them.

Live, love, serve, and care for others. Be the reason someone smiles today. And remember, N.B.A (No Buts Allowed).

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!

Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.