Thursday, September 2, 2010

Player Player

Often we men use sports analogies to explain things…here’s another one. If you follow my blogs, you’ll see that I usually refer to relationships as a team. I use names and terms like “coach”, “player”, and “position”. This one is a breakdown and clear understanding of “The Team”.

I’m old-fashioned in the sense that I still believe in gender roles. I believe that the man is the coach, the play-maker. It is his responsibility to formulate the playbook and secure the needs of the team. Just like in sports, if the team is failing, blame begins with the coach and his ability to lead, teach and facilitate. The coach also has the GM role when it comes to acquiring and developing talent.

When it comes to the acquisition of talent (players), there several different approaches. Most often it is simply a walk-on acquisition. No prior thought was put into it, simply a same place, same time opportunity. Nothing against this process, in fact it has proven to be very successful, but with no prior scouting, problems can, and often do arise. Pre-existing “injuries”, as well as bad reports from numerous teams, can lead to a short term signing or even release from the organization.

Another way to pick up talent is via,“Free Agency”. This is the pulling from a pool of “experienced veterans”. The upside to free agency is often the players come with a full scouting report. Everything from previous teams, to issues, tendencies or special skills that might set them apart from the herd, are all accessible. Issues with free agency often stem from too many previous playbooks or an inability to adapt to a new system. This is also used in the acquiring of "role" players. In most cases, free agency is used as a quick fix as opposed to a permanent solution, so contracts are usually on a short term basis.

Make no mistake, free agency can be the path to some truly exceptional talent. Unpolished gems, undeveloped players, often go un-noticed in a sea of potential. So with a keen eye and an attention to detail, some star players can be formed. Just because a player didn't work out on one team, doesn't mean their not a find. Sometimes it boils down to strictly conflicting styles. It's a partnership, there has to be chemistry. So one team's failure can be another team's future.

A current and often practiced route is, “Drafting”. It offers the most high risk/high reward scenario. Drafting of a rookie is acquiring a young, raw player with no real previous experience. “Rookies” need more attention, direction, and coaching, but if a coach is willing to put in the time, energy, and effort they can end up with a true “Franchise Player”. That’s the player you sign for the duration of their career and they become the face of the organization. Like I said, rookies require a lot more time and one-on-one sessions but the benefits are infinite.

Not all situations work, and not always at the fault of the coach. Some drafted rookies are a “bust”. They seemed better on paper (see “what’s your number?") and that never quite translated to performance. Some blame does fall to the coach, he did draft her. (personal responsibility)

Whichever way a coach goes in the realm of talent acquisition, it will ultimately comedown to the commitment of both he and the player. A relationship that can excel on all levels; with good communication, a clear understanding of the team’s philosophy, and a sheer willingness to succeed, for years to come. Ladies, please see past the sports lingo and really take in what I’m expressing. They may not use these terms, but many men have adapted these practices. So do your homework, scout out what potential franchises you want to be a part of, and apply to your relationship the philosophy of the great Vince Lombardi:

“Winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing.”

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