Monday, December 9, 2013


In his most recent blog, John Maxwell wrote about "making memories."  I think it gives great insight into building teams.  If you ever been involved with an alumni gathering of your players, you will be amazed at what they talk about.  It will rarely be about plays or games or even championships.  Their most vivid memories will be about "happenings" that occurred within the team. 

Certainly, some of these are out of a coaches control.  They will occur when the team is just hanging out together.  But there are those times that you can control to an extent just be creating them.  And I believe strongly that it is a part of building and growing team chemistry.  It is a part of the culture that you want to build.

Yesterday our team had a "Christmas Photo Shoot."  It's an annual event here in Aggieland were we take individual photos of players and one team shot.  We will utilize the team shot for a Christmas card for our boosters as well as social media.  The point is, the kids had a blast.  We brought in a professional photographer and piped in Christmas music.  We created a positive memory for our team.

Later this week we will visit the world's largest gingerbread house with our team, coupling with the area Special Olympics program which is one of Coach Gary Blair's most important organizations that he supports.  Again, we are working to create a special day -- create some memories -- to help our team grow together.

Later this week, my wife and I will have our managers and student trainers over to our house to decorate our Christmas tree.  After they leave, we will take the decorations back off and have our players over the next night to decorate the tree.  It may sound simplistic, but I have always enjoy having an alum tell me years down the road how much they enjoyed decorating our tree.

Here are some key points that Maxwell mentions in creating memories:

With every experience, we make memories. But I believe that by being highly intentional, we can create opportunities for deep, meaningful memories of connection and love. Here are the elements we need to make memories that we will be able to look back on fondly for years to come:

1. Initiative: Make Something Happen.
Our visit to New York on Thanksgiving weekend didn’t just happen. Margaret and I decided to plan the trip months ago. And we invited the kids and grandkids as soon as we decided to go. The first step in creating a memorable experience is the decision to do it. Start by deciding to lead your life, rather than just letting it lead you. Be intentional about creating memories.

2. Time: Set Aside Time to Make It Happen.
We all have busy schedules, and it’s easy for time with family and friends to fall by the wayside. The way I avoid that is to schedule that time first. When we decided to go to New York, we put it on the calendar, with the understanding that nothing else would interfere with our family time together. Don’t let your calendar rule you. Remember that “quality time” comes out of “quantity time.”

3. Planning: Plan For Something to Happen.
Soon after we decided to go, the planning began. Again, we knew that it wouldn’t just happen. My assistant Linda worked hard to help us with travel, lodging, and touristy activities. Of course, some favorite memories may come from spontaneous events or even mishaps, but by planning ahead you’ll be opening up the opportunities for memorable moments.

4. Creativity: Find a Way to Make Something Happen.
It didn’t take us long to discover that a lot of people like to spend Thanksgiving in New York. Everything from finding a hotel to booking a Thanksgiving dinner took creativity. Even when you come up against obstacles in creating a memory, do what you can to make it happen. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. We had special dietary restrictions in our group, but with creativity we found a place that could accommodate all our needs.

5. Shared Experiences: Make Something Happen Together.
Of course, our first goal in making this memory was to share it with the kids and grandkids. And we had many shared experiences together over those few days, from hearing carolers in Central Park, to riding the wooden escalators at Macy’s, to seeing the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade as they were inflated. Remember that shared memories are made up of little moments together. Be intentional about embracing them, and everyone will benefit.

6. Mementos: Show That Something Happened.
When we visited Macy’s, one thing the grandkids did was each pick out an ornament to help them remember the trip. And of course, we took a lot of photos, so we can look back at our experiences. What you choose as a memento doesn’t have to be big or expensive; it just has to be meaningful to you.

7. Relive the Memory: Talk About What Happened.
My favorite time together on the trip was during Thanksgiving dinner. We were in a quiet side room at the restaurant, so we were able to go around the table sharing what we were thankful for from the past year. It was incredibly touching. By putting your experiences into words, you strengthen the memories, so you can enjoy the stories for years to come.

You can read his entire blog post here.