As we make preparations for our players to return to campus, coaches will spend time developing the culture of this year’s team by implementing pre-season conditioning programs, discussing team dynamics, and making modifications to practice plans and playing philosophy as we adapt our program to the players we will have. As I consider potential changes to our offense, I have a plethora of ideas and materials to sift through, but some times it’s best to consider things from the perspective of our opponents. We’ve been good offensively in recent years and haven’t needed to make a lot of changes, but I think it’s healthy to make sure that we do things that make it difficult for our opponents. I also think that’s a healthy suggestion for the rest of our lives, too. It’s easy to sit back and stay in our comfort zones, but sometimes when you consider the view from the opponents in your life, you may spot some things you can clean up and do a little tweaking!
BASKETBALL – What Defenders Hate
Mitch Cole from head coach Billy Kennedy’s basketball staff at Texas A&M sends out a newsletter with helpful ideas and discussions about their program throughout the year. As they prepared to go on a foreign tour before the start of school, Cole had a great list in his August edition. I know there are plenty of things our players struggle to defend, so why not try to incorporate some of that into our offense? Here is Cole’s list:
8 THINGS PLAYERS HATE TO DEFEND:
1. Full speed ball-handler in transition
2. Blind ball screens from unpredictable angles
3. Back screens
4. Well-designed movement “away from the ball”
5. Fronting the post, then having to block out
6. Relentless dribble penetration
7. Relentless “glass goers”
8. A big man who can make free throws
Whatever your offensive style and philosophy may be, that’s a great list to consider in making changes and adjustments for the season. I think it’s helpful to consider how willing defenders are to deal with these concepts. In many cases, some just aren’t willing to commit to doing what it takes to defend. That’s why it can be so helpful to consider things from a different perspective!
LIFE – The Other Side
Seeing things from the other side can be incredibly effective in helping each of us navigate through the difficult culture in which we live. Parents can learn to respond to their kids by experiencing and feeling the pressures young people face in our culture. On the job, many of us would grow our job performance and satisfaction by considering the responsibilities and concerns of those we lead and of those we follow. And in a nation that is ripping up our consensus views of race, sexuality, and moral standards, it becomes essential to examine the other side of the debate – both to understand, but to also create and foster change.
Living as a Christian today is becoming an increasingly more difficult endeavor – but then again, Jesus never said it would be easy. It’s more important than ever to examine the effects of technology, humanistic trends, and religious diversity by understanding opposing perspectives. That takes some effort and awareness, which God willingly provides to each of us.
FAITH – What the Devil Hates
Far too many of us in our faith lives often fail to consider adjustments and changes that can help us grow in our walk with Jesus. If we’re honest, many of us are on a sleep walk. God didn’t create us to sleepily wander through this life. In fact, He created us in His image with an amazing intelligence that He expects us to use. That being said, let’s consider our opponent, the deceiver who looks to do all he can to pull and separate us from our Savior. By looking at aspects in life that make it difficult for Satan, we can add and tweak our approach to life and find ways to walk more in line with who God has created us to be:
8 THINGS THE DEVIL HATES:
1. Christians proclaiming their faith
2. Memorizing and calling on God’s promises
3. Seeking & telling truth
4. Well designed quiet time with God
5. Putting other people’s needs ahead of your own
6. Relentless Bible study
7. Relentless “Doers of the Word”
8. A Christian who prays from the heart
Hopefully, just as a coach may find some wisdom in Mitch Cole’s list that may lead to some adjustments in basketball, one or two of these items may strike a chord with you and can inspire you to take a closer look at things in your life. If nothing else, when it comes to the devil and what he’s attempting to do, follow the advice of James:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)