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You Don't Know What You Don't Know | Part 2

We're over halfway through the college basketball season and the countdown is on to conference tournaments and March Madness. There is still so much we don't know. How will teams travel to the tournament? Will they all need separate hotels? What happens if a team tests positive? What if someone on staff tests positive but the players are negative? How strict will contact tracing be?


Again, these are all examples of the infinite number of questions that are discussed and thrown around on a daily basis for which at this point we can only answer with the honest truth of "I don't know".


Now that's a general perspective in terms of the state of college basketball....and I mean we made it this far right? The NCAA will find a way to make it work, I guarantee it (:


Anyway.... Back to my first year coaching story here! In the last post I talked about a typical day and how coaching compared to playing in terms of that daily routine. Part 2 of what I've learned and what I continue to be humbled by literally EVERY single day is that there is SO much that I don't know. The funny part is that you don't realize how much you don't know until you're faced with that situation or question that you had probably never thought about before.....Well, that's happened to me - a lot lately, but it's not a bad thing! From day 1 of practice and even pre season workouts, I have learned something new from not just our coaching staff but even our players. Whether it be how to set up the clock or camera for practice, enter a recruits name into the online data base, create an excel spreadsheet for practice stats or how to guard a wing ball screen when the screener can step out and shoot the 3 - every day I walk away with a new piece of knowledge and confidence.


Every time I find myself in a moment where I don't know the answer or the "right" way to handle a particular task, I do one of two things.... I literally may say "I don't know" or I might give my thoughts and opinion anyway knowing I may very well be wrong - but that's not the point - the point is that I'm not afraid to be wrong and I'm not afraid to admit what I don't know! This is WAY easier said than done... I mean who wants to be sitting in a staff meeting, the youngest one in the room and not know what to say when you get asked a question. Or how about in a film session when you are presenting a scout to the team or on the floor and a player asks that one question or scenario that you never thought about or hoped they wouldn't ask about? We've all been there! Now I'm not saying that "I don't know" should be your new go to line whenever someone asks you a difficult question BUT I am saying that instead of making something up just to fit in or sound smart, why not actually find out what the correct answer or best response would be from someone who has the experience or knowledge to provide that insight. If you consistently go through your days assuming or thinking that you have it all figured out, that's the moment that you begin to start taking steps backwards.


So instead of giving some wishy washy answer that I made up on the spot about how were going to defend this horns set - why not just tell the player - "I didn't think about it that way or good question, I'll go back and watch that clip again, or let me see what the rest of the staff thinks or even how do you think we should guard that?". Just because you don't have every single answer at that moment in time doesn't mean that you're not qualified or good enough, the growth happens when you're now determined to find that right answer...and when you do, which you will, that's one less "I don't know" you have to worry about for that next staff meeting.


Use those moments of uncertainty to spark your desire to be better each and everyday and to guide your learning process... Make a habit of learning one new thing each day, whether it be something very simple or something more complex, if you can stick to this plan - I promise you'll be way more useful then you were when you first started!


Jen Fay


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