Big Blue Nation and the University of Kentucky recently won its’ 8th NCAA men’s basketball national championship (editor’s note: originally published on April 26, 2012). Head coach John Calipari and his much-publicized dribble drive offense finally got his first national title after a near miss with the University of Memphis in 2008 against the Kansas Jayhawks. Though Coach Cal added to his already spectacular career, the dribble drive did not really add a national championship to its resume.
The last two months of the season, including the tournament, saw the Wildcats run more set plays than many of Coach Cal’s past teams. This was not because it doesn’t work. It wasn’t because the dribble drive was even bad for this group of talented players. No, he went away from it because they were good running it but not great running it. They were #1 in the nation running it, but there was some doubt that they would win a national championship in March running the dribble drive offense.
Like Coach Cal, I love the dribble drive. My team runs it. But, just like Coach Cal, I love winning even more. He was willing to change and adapt. He did what was needed to achieve his and his team’s goals. How many times have we been stubborn and stuck with something because it should work or because it worked in the past?
One day when I was a teenager, I crossed the street unconcerned about crosswalks and oncoming traffic. My mother got a hold of me and gave me the riot act. “Mom, why are you so mad. Pedestrians have the right a way”, I told her with a wise-guy grin that teenagers have long perfected. She responded with a statement that I have remembered often, “You may have the right a way, but you will be dead right!”
Our offense, our defense, our opinions, our actions, our strategies….everything that we do needs to constantly be evaluated to discern whether or not it is still the best to achieving our goals and being as successful as possible. Doesn’t matter if it is basketball, our jobs or our personal lives. Sometimes we need to change direction. Sometimes we need to adjust in order to be successful. This isn’t like being a kite…whichever way the wind blows, you go.
At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves “what is the best way to do this”. Too many times we get into a rut and stay in our comfort zone. Fortunately for Big Blue Nation, Coach Cal wasn’t satisfied with being really good. He did what was necessary to be the best.