David Thorpe, an NBA analyst for ESPN, recently tweeted, “One of Rick Carlisle’s best attributes is his intense belief that he can get more from a player than what previous coach got.” Carlisle, who coaches the Dallas Mavericks and is regarded as one of the best coaches in the NBA, may appear arrogant for believing this, but it’s true.
Carlisle’s belief is based in confidence, vision, and a stellar track record. He has turned various collections of castoffs, malcontents, and one-trick ponies into playoff teams. In a world where we so readily discount and write off people for their faults, Christian leaders should take note. How does one do what Rick Carlisle has so consistently done?
First, see the goal not just the methods. Carlisle coaches with a view toward the endgame, the win. He doesn’t seem to care which methodology will get him there: Play slow or fast, big or small, old or young; shoot threes or grind it out in the paint. He flexes to the players he has and that flexing puts them in a position to succeed. If he stubbornly clung to a single system he would not get the most out of everyone.
Second, see the cans not just the can’ts. Carlisle finds out how players can help the team instead of fearing how they might hurt it. He puts a collection of specific skill sets on the court together. Then he puts them in a system and in positions that use those skills and diminish their weaknesses. He asks players to do just what they can and no more, and it works.
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