I’ll be seriously shocked if I actually have to write this down, but that picture above is from the movie “Hoosiers”. Really, if you’re a coach and you didn’t know that, then you have my permission to stop reading this post, put the movie in your Netflix queue and watch it right now!
I’ve watched parts of this movie with my teams before and the results are always good. I haven’t used it as a “fire up to beat the big team”, because I worry that I’ll get them too riled up for one game. But it’s great for an “us against the world” kind of thing. And that mantra works whether your team isn’t very good and no one expects much from you or you’re expected to win it all. The beauty in the movie is that it truly is a team that makes it happen. Hickory’s new coach has a shady past, one of the player’s dad is a drunk, and their best player quits in the middle of the season. Not exactly how you’d write up a successful season…but they are. Together.
And that’s the lesson. From the best to the least of them (remember when little Ollie had to get in and shoot free throws? Movie magic, I tell ya!), they are vital to the team’s success. I’m always shocked at how many of my players haven’t seen or even heard of this movie. We don’t watch the whole thing, but usually just the last hour…that’s where all the good stuff happens. Without fail, after they win a couple of games along the way to State, one of the players will nervously ask out loud, “I wonder what happens! Are they gonna win?” And they look at me and I give them the I don’t know shrug and encourage them to keep watching. If you’re able to finish this movie and not feel like all is right with the world, then something is wrong with you.
It’s a good time to talk to your team about goals. The sky’s the limit, right? It’s all about blowing past preconceived notions of how good your team can be. And make no mistake about it, they have a happiness ceiling in their head. Like, they’d be happy if you were in the top half of conference…or if you won conference…or if you made it to your regionals. They may not say so, but it’s in there. What if that happiness ceiling were removed and they just played hard and worked hard in practice and rode the wave? What if winning it all were a possibility? It’s our jobs as coaches to challenge our teams and make sure that they end every season knowing that they did all they could do to be the best they could be.
Do you have any movies that you use to motivate your team? What situations do you use it in?