V is for Vision

        V is for Vision.  Vision, put simply, allows us to see.  We use our eyes to see the world.  There are things that impair our vision.  The sun and darkness are a couple of natural sources of impairment.  There are some that are not so natural as well.  With vision, we are able to see where we are going.  Without it, we aren't.  Usually the closer we are to something the more clear it becomes.  Signs far in the distance, for example, become easier to see as we get closer.  In a sport sense, having vision provides the same things as physical vision.  Vision as a player of who you want to be allows you to see where you are going with your career.  What is right in front of you is much easier to see than what is far away in the future.  "I'm just a JV nonstarter," is much easier to envision than, "I'm going to be a Major Leaguer," for many.  Of course, being able to see what is right in front of you and a ways away are important.  What is right front of you allows you to see where you are.  Vision for the future allows you to see where you are going as a player.  Some like an activity where you think about how you would like to be remembered as a player.  This forces you to think down the road and have that vision for the future.  Then, you reflect about how you will make your vision happen.  You also think about what could impair that vision.  What could possibly get in your way?  There are probably some that are within your control (who you hang out with, what you do on the weekend, your preparation) and some beyond your control (opportunity, injuries).  Taking time to reflect on where you want to go, how you will get there, and what may get in the way is taking control of your vision.

        As a coach, having a vision is vital as well.  You have to have an idea of what you want for the program and how it will look down the road.  The same applies as above in that it allows you to create the path to your future.  Where the magic really happens is when the coach's vision becomes the players' vision.  This is where the creation of a championship culture becomes possible.  In a few days Clemson and Alabama will face off in the National Championship Game (or whatever the NCAA is calling it).  There will be two coaches who are masters at having vision in the game.  Nick Saban has come up a couple of times in previous blogs.  He is incredibly disciplined, and I love how his focus for everyone in the program is being as good as possible at all times.  Scores and opponents are irrelevant.  That is part of his vision for the program, and over time his vision has become the players' vision as well.  It's a great part of what has allowed for consistent, sustainable success at Alabama.  Dabo Swinney has gotten a lot more attention recently as well.  Swinney, to me, is really a great example of someone who is incredibly self-aware.  He is an outstanding motivator.  He also loves and trusts his players.  For me, those are his greatest strengths.  Swinney hasn't tried to do too much with the team.  He has hired really good assistants and clearly trusts them to do their jobs.  "All in," is his vision and everyone else's involved in the program.  It's incredible how, over the span of a few years, he went from someone who was mocked for "being a cheerleader" to being thought of as one of the best in the country.  There are certainly countless factors involved in this, but it's clear he has had a vision for how he wants things to be done since he got the job.  He's also done everything it has taken to make that vision a reality.

        What is your vision?  What is your vision for yourself as a player or a coach?  How do you want to be remembered?  If you are a coach, what is your vision for your team?  Does your vision match up with the players' vision for themselves?  Is that important to you?  A short conversation, either individually or as a group, can answer all of these questions and help to provide the direction you may be looking for.

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