We had an organizational meeting in the spring of 2003 for our returning Trinity players. On each desk was a schedule of practices, camps, weighlifting,and games from the first day of summer until the state final February 2004. The team was 19-10 the previous season and won every game they should have, and in doing so failed to win a meaningful game. To play into February of 2004 the team would have to do several things it had never done before.
I would love to tell you that in February 2004 we cut down the nets in Lakeland, poured champagne on each other and took 12 under age kids to Mons Venus for Valentines Day, but we missed three open looks in the final minute and the front end of a 1 and 1 down one with 30 seconds to play lost by 3 in a regional semi to the eventual state champion and cried in the locker room.
Between the calender and the tears, we had the best season in school history 24-5, won a holiday tournament, beat 3 6A teams on the road by 12 or more points and won a district title by 30 points.
That calender was our season narrative. We would follow it and more importantly believe in it. We scouted the team that beat us three times beginning in December before playing them in February because the calender told us we would play them in February. With every success and achievement I mentioned above we continued tracking the calender because our narrative was unfinished. We gave our players the narrative and the breathed life into it.
It’s vital that you give your player’s tangible goals and the means to achieve them. The work of your team cannot be an idle, directionless activity. Without a narrative the ups of a season are not connected to a larger purpose, and the downs do not have the light to pull out of. The narrative is a source of identity and motivation over the course of the season.