Trying or Doing

October 13, 2016
Steve Chapman

“No! Try Not! Do or do not! There is no try!” Yoda – The Empire Strikes Back

For me, this is very much the best way to think about transitioning young impressionable players into capable players with responsibility. Of course for every player this transition will happen at a different time.

Age, ability, maturity, experience and so on are all factors with each player and whether you are the coach of a team or indeed the individual player, your instincts will be very much at the heart of this transition and trusting them is all part of the learning process.

Many youngsters leave the home on game day listening to mum`s shouted encouragement as you leave;

“Good luck son try your best!”

Absolutely awesome! Personally I can remember my mam saying this to me like it was yesterday. But at what stage is “As long as you`ve tried your best” when you lose, not enough?

At what point is trying your best no longer a justifiable reason for failure? Can you imagine Manchester United coming off the ground having lost and saying “Sorry coach we tried our best!”

Now clearly for most youngsters there will be a time, an appropriate time to make this transition and for many it will happen naturally, however, the players driven to play higher level cricket, the faster they learn to become accountable for their performance the better they will become.

Cricket is still only a game and of course is meant to be enjoyed by those of us involved either directly or indirectly. But the message in the sentence from Yoda is one of honesty. I believe the message really comes down to this; 

“When do the excuses for failure stop and when does the winning start?”

As with anytime you need an excuse to justify why something hasn’t or isn’t as it should be, there are going to be some beauties. Occasionally you`ll hear one you haven’t heard before and often people are sincere and very convincing when they tell you. It`s all very convenient, but the bottom line is excuses are riddled with words and phrases such as deceit, ill discipline, lack of respect, laziness and so on.

Clearly in any winning culture or environment this kind of weak mentality must be eliminated. Of course we have all told ‘a little white lie’ from time to time but you’ll be amazed how many people are completely comfortable knowing that their deceit has been accepted because good people around them extend them the courtesy of trust and respect.

I regularly ask my players to be honest with each other, trust each other and avoid looking for the short cuts. Players with a good work ethic, rather than one of excuses, build genuine respect amongst each other. This respect is often the difference between winning and losing when games get tight, when players are tired and times are tough. Often this respect for each other pushes you to want to succeed for your mates. Australian cricketers love talking about taking players to the trenches with them such is their faith in their teammates.

I am a very strong believer in the phrase;

“You can have results or you can have excuses. But you can`t have both!” 

Knowing what is expected of your role within a team and being accountable for your performance are two very important lessons for players to learn. A great starting place to learn is at practice. Be accountable for what you do at training and don’t waste any opportunity to become a better player.

Work hard not to make mistakes. Make sure you are doing what needs to be done and not just trying. After all at the end of the day you`re either doing or you’re not!!

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