Crisis Management

At the end of last season, I endured a seven game losing streak, the worst of my career.  As I write, a few of my good friends are in the midst of losing streaks.If you coach, you will go through tough times when your team can’t win, and as frustrating as it may be, you will be measured by your response.  Handling crisis, specifically losing is as much the job of leadership as cutting down the nets.

Stay in Front.  You are the leader and must not wallow in self-pity.  The team will look to you for leadership.  Do not let your personal energy and effort diminish.  Be honest in your assessment of why the team is losing and commit to improving or adapting in the areas that make a difference.  Have and deliver a topical message to your team.  It may be togetherness, incremental improvement, attention to detail, or an appeal to competitive instinct.

Players will be unhappy.  Give that unhappiness an outlet, but channel it in a productive direction.  Lean on your core guys for their input amd when applicable implement their ideas as it gives them continued investment in the team.  Do not be afraid to talk to your unhappy players.  Ideally, you can find common purpose, but it may be productive to simply realize this player is no longer willing to fight for the team.  Addition by subtraction.

Do not quit.  You will never win again or realize any success if you do, and there is always the larger life lessons of perseverance, commitment to cause and respect through shared human experience to serve.

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