This scene played out in front of millions of viewers last night. Ball game tied with seconds to go and your team has the chance to take the lead if George Hill (Career 80% FT Shooter) can make them both. We now know he missed the second and what happened next is not only fascinating in sports but it plays out in the board room and the selling court way to often.
As the meltdown happened the immediate blame went to JR Smith for what he did and didn't do. Don't forget Hill missed a free throw which history tells us he doesn't do often. Add a little pressure, the impact of winning game one, and who knows what else was running through his mind. I could write a whole article on mindset alone but for this piece we'll focus on coaching and mindset.
You might ask where did the coaching go wrong? I'll argue it went wrong on the sideline and on the court. Having played basketball most of my life I've been in similar non-NBA situations. Our coaches would put us in these types of scenarios during practice and then reinforce during the game. This is what it could have looked like last night.
Scenario 1-Coach-We make both free throws and know the other team has 1 timeout which they will likely use. What personnel and defense will we use? Or they don't call a timeout and run the ball up the court. Again, how will we set up?
Scenario 2-Coach-He misses both free throws and the other team gets the ball. What do we do...pretty obvious foul immediately and at least get the ball back with a few seconds left and a chance to tie or win the game.
Scenario 3-Coach-We make the first free throw, miss the second, and we get the rebound (game is tied). We can immediately call a timeout or get a shot off to win the game.
There are more scenarios but I'll stick with the three above from a coaching perspective. On the court the team failed to communicate with each other. In baseball for example we are taught at an early age to yell out how many outs there are each time we make one, where we are going with the our throw if the ball is hit to any number of places. It's the game within the game and the communication is non-stop. From what I could see none of this happened on the court last night until it was too late.
Now, onto mindset and excuse making. As the video shows JR Smith says "I thought we had the lead." Not really an excuse but maybe lack of awareness. After the game a much different story as he made several excuses. For example, he knew the game was tied but no one would expect him the take the shot over Kevin Durant(Big Excuse). He dribbled out because he thought they would call a timeout (Big Old Excuse).
Here's the deal. We see this scenario play out all the time in selling situations. Our teams are not prepared with effective coaching and our mindset makes us susceptible to excuse making. For more on excuse making watch this video from my friend Dave Kurlan Is Excuse Making the Biggest Obstacle to Increasing Sales. For insight on coaching this is a great blog featuring a few of my coaching colleagues across the globe Essential Sales Manager Skills
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