Archives For perspective

Sharing Wisdom Series3

If you’d like to read the first two installments of this series, you can find those here and here.

doug woodard

Doug Woodard with members of the 2013-2014 Nebraska State Champion Bellevue West Thunderbird boys basketball team; File photo c/o Omaha World-Herald

 

I’ve looked up to this next coach as a personal role model for well over half my life. He is not only one of the top high school basketball coaches in Nebraska, he’s also my father-in-law and my former World History teacher. The fact that he got me interested at all in World History speaks volumes for his innate ability to motivate kids.

Doug Woodard has coached high school varsity boys basketball for over 25 years and is entering his 18th at Class A Bellevue West High School in Bellevue, Nebraska. Doug has had five separate teams win State Championship titles under his leadership (1996, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2014), as well as coached three State Runner-Up teams.

He’s been named Coach of the Year 10 times by different media and organizations. Doug has also administered and directed the Omaha Sports Academy Crusader summer basketball program, which has seen more than 200 student-athletes acquire college scholarships.

I’ve personally seen the amount of time and dedication that Doug puts into coaching young men and can say with utmost confidence that he is as interested (perhaps even more interested) in guiding them off the court as he is when they’re on the court. In addition to coaching the Thunderbird basketball team, he also serves as Dean of Students at Bellevue West High School, has spoken at coaching clinics and basketball programs throughout the Midwest, and has presented at corporate training sessions for Union Pacific, ConAgra Foods, and Hudl.

Although I was particularly interested in hearing his answer to the question, Seriously, how did you put up with Ryan (my husband) for the first 18 years of his life?, my actual questions and his corresponding responses appear below.

Q1: You’ve been coaching high-level varsity boys basketball for over 25 years. How do you think your communication style has evolved over the years with your student-athletes?

Doug’s Response: There are two major areas where I feel it has been necessary to alter my approach: The first is in using more of a collaborative style attempting to give the reasons why certain things are done (required). The days of simply saying do this and don’t question are over. It is critical to achieve “buy-in” that today’s athletes see a reason or justifiable rationale for the techniques or systems being used.

The second is to communicate in shorter segments due to societal trends that have helped shorten the attention span of this generation. Video needs to be shown in abbreviated sections for instance, as watching an entire game is not conducive to good learning or retention. The tension is to try to adjust one’s techniques without compromising in areas that you feel are core principles and therefore not dependent on societal or cultural transition.

Q2: Who would you consider to be a coaching mentor and why?

Doug’s Response: My old high school coach, John Johnette, is one who I see as a mentor.  One of the reasons is that I feel Coach Johnette was way ahead of his time. He wanted us to shoot in 8-12 seconds and this was during the 1970’s!

He used techniques and strategies that lived outside the norm and was never afraid of innovation. He also used as his core philosophy to be true to one’s self. He thought if you coached true to your beliefs and philosophy that, at the end of the day, you could take great satisfaction in a job well done…regardless of the result. I remember after we lost in the semi-finals of the state tournament, he told us that the result of the game is never what is important…it is what happens subsequent to that result that will determine if it was a net positive or negative in one’s life.

In this way, a loss in districts could be viewed as a “better” result long-term than winning a state championship if one uses that loss in a positive sense as opposed to one who, as a result of the state championship, makes negative or destructive decisions.

Q3: What are the major lessons learned in basketball that can be carried over into a young man’s life well after his competitive playing days are done?

Doug’s Response: There are so many, but to highlight a couple: The importance of being part of something larger than one’s self and the corresponding need to sacrifice…at times…what is in your personal best interests for the good of the team. Ironically, this selfless approach will, in the long run, bring greater personal success and accomplishment.

A related lesson is that each member of the team has a role and that every role is important to the overall success of the team/organization. This is one reason why so many successful leaders in business have come from the athletic realm. The obvious traits of discipline and work ethic are things that will carry one far in whatever career or endeavor they choose.

Successful basketball teams are built on trust – trust among teammates as well as trust between players and coaches. A culture of trust is one that is critical to long-term success, be it in business, education, or any other vocation in life.

The Sharing Wisdom: A Series of Coaching Perspectives is written by Heidi Woodard.

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Knowing how great life is

January 9, 2016

How’s life been treating you?

I’m guessing your answer to that question is probably influenced by your age, whom you depend on and who depends on you, the person you see staring back at you in the mirror, the struggles you’ve endured, the triumphs you’ve enjoyed, and how you personally define happiness.

Whenever asked, my go-to answer is normally “good!” without a second thought. But, depending on different life circumstances, what actually swirls around in my brain is more like this…

I can’t believe I’m leaving home to go live somewhere else for college.*

I kinda like Ryan Woodard. Like…a lot.

Saying goodbye to my teammates after all these years, and all we’ve been through together, is the worst.

I’m going to marry him. Are we technically grownups? This is crazy.

Finally graduating school…look out real world…I’m coming for you.

These can’t actually be the ONLY houses in our price range. Are these even up to code? Will we ever find a home?

What do you mean there are no paid breaks between New Year’s and Memorial Day? That can’t be right.

It’s surreal this will be our last dinner together as just the two of us before bringing a mini version of ourselves into this world.

I have to plan my social life and sleeping schedule in three hour increments because this kid is so hungry.

I kinda want to punch Ryan every time I wake up and see him next to me sleeping ‘like a baby’. Where did that stupid phrase come from? Our baby doesn’t sleep.

Returning to work sounded good on paper. But, man, it’s hard functioning with my head in one place and my heart in another.

I can’t believe our little boy will soon have a baby brother. I can’t wait!

What on earth were we thinking?

Trying to keep up with daily demands and hold it all together.

I’m not exercising as much as I used to, but at least I’m doing something one or two nights a week.

It’s not exactly the career path I’d envisioned, but it’s stable.

How on earth do people keep their homes ‘Open House’ clean all the time?

Why isn’t there a punch card for ER visits that every mom of boys automatically receives before leaving the hospital?

One last look before we close the door for the final time on our first home. I remember the day we moved into this place and our first night sleeping in the basement on nothing but a mattress. Such a great memory.

I guess we’ll be living in an apartment while we wait for the new home to be finished. With two small children. And two dogs.

Finally found our forever home, or at least where we’ll be until our kids leave us behind.

This is a longer commute than I’m used to.

MaternalMedia is officially launched! Online therapy. Less pressure than actually writing a book. I wonder if anyone actually relates to what I ramble about?

A trifecta of kids? WHY NOT?! Flat stomachs are overrated.

The rumor is indeed true: Girls are a different breed. She has strong opinions about what she’s doing and wearing and eating and planning. As a preschooler, she looked me over from head-to-toe and asked me if today was “mismatch day” at my work. It was not. 

I will do this damn triathlon if it kills me. There’s still an athlete buried in here somewhere!

I am guaranteed uninterrupted ME time if I stick with running.

Ryan is a supportive husband, a fun dad, and a caring coach. I think I’ll keep him.

My plan is to win over a dynamic duo of radio DJs and then keep showing up in their studio until they beg me to leave.

OHMEYEGAWD ALL OF THE KIDS NEED SOMETHING 24/7.

Goodbye friends. Goodbye sanity. Goodbye running. Goodnight Moon.

Hello minivan. 

I’m tired of working on auto-pilot. Eject! Eject!

New job. New challenges. New team. Onward.

I’m going to GiveTheGameBack because I love to watch my kids play.

I’m happy.

I’m exhausted.

Dark room, blankets, foo foo drink, Netflix. These are a few of my favorite things.

I never fully appreciated my mom and dad while growing up.

I’ve got the best parents and in-laws in the world. I would be lost without them.

How blessed am I to have colleagues like these doing the work that I do? Hoping for the best as my future lies in someone else’s hands.

I have to stand on my tip toes to see into the eyes of a boy who once weighed 8 lbs, 14 oz, and whose entire body was 22.5 inches long.

We are soon going to have three different kids in three separate schools.

My dog won’t live forever. But I will love my dog forever.

* I have retained very few memories prior to 1995.

 

So that pretty much summed up the last 20 years with one caveat: I left out some of the bigger experiences that have helped me gain perspective and cherish each new day for the blessing that it is.

Losing my grandparents, rocking my children back to sleep in the middle of the night, getting to know the woman whose son gave my mom a second chance at life, skiing down a mountain side with my dad, traveling to tropical get-aways with my husband, saying goodbye to one of our dogs, appreciating  just how far friends are willing to go to support me and my dreams, embracing the chance to serve as a witness when my sister marries her longtime girlfriend, staring in awe as my children morph into free-thinking, uniquely incredible people…hard to adequately articulate what these moments mean to me.

I do know that, in my 39th year of life, as my dear friend Ashli so eloquently puts it:

At least I get to spend the rest of my life knowing how great life is.

Video forewarning: Ashli’s favorite thing about life is connecting with people and once you hear her words and see her smile, you will forever be changed for the better. Take time to watch this beautiful video that was originally posted on the Her View from Home Facebook page and is sponsored by Team Concepts.

The next time someone asks How life’s been treating you?, be honest. If not with them, at least with yourself.

Take the time to genuinely thank those who have made your life great. Say goodbye to people or things who don’t.

Thank you for coming along on this journey that I originally thought was just a blog…but turns out it’s been so much more for me.

Written by Heidi Woodard

As I pulled out of my 9-to-5 parking lot in the dead of winter with a light yet blistery snowfall side swiping my mom van (boy is this turning into a depressing visual), I looked ahead toward the direction of my normal route home. The blue and red flashing lights of police cruisers combined with a long row of bumper-to-bumper traffic warned me to go a different direction if I wanted my trip home to be a little longer than normal, but not entirely unbearable.

Another crash on the side of the road.

Another person suffering inconvenience…hopefully in just their pride and pocketbook.

Another driver losing control on the icy roads and another getting struck without warning.

And, just like that, two (or more) lives were impacted for the worse.

I had begun my day by watching a video, produced and shared by The Players’ Tribune, about why Larry Sanders chose to leave the NBA.

Prior to watching that video, I didn’t know who Larry Sanders was. I mean, I recognized the name, but I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out in a room full of freakishly tall guys.

Now I find myself respecting this guy I do not know, not because of what he accomplished on the court in the past, but because of his present day perspective.

Sanders was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. In his most recent contract extension in 2013, he signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Bucks. Let’s all pause and ponder what we would do with that kind of ridiculous money.

Then it appears he started to metaphorically lose control of his life path…or maybe he was never fully in control in the first place?

A couple of injuries, a couple of drug policy violations, a suspension, and a contract buyout.

A “crash” that no amount of ridiculous money could fix.

He understands that it was never his extreme athletic prowess or level of wealth that defined him. In his video message, he encourages everyone watching to “Don’t Forget The And…” meaning we are all more than just one thing, according to Sanders.

I am a mom AND a wife AND a writer AND a professional AND a kid-at-heart AND a dreamer AND a youngest child.

He talks about connecting to family, how he considers them his real riches, and why he walked away from such a lucrative career. He talks about how people like to use labels.

He stresses that 90 percent of the day is mental and how he turned to canibus to help him cope, and then went away to a hospital to help him with his anxiety and depression. He spoke of wanting to make a difference in this unseen world.

I needed to hear his message so I am passing it on in case any of you needed to hear it too.

If you didn’t exactly reach every success you set out to achieve this day, month, or year, I bet you met some. Luckily for all of us, life is not just a one-way trip.

We all steer off course.

We all crash and get crashed into.

We all regret and wish we could do over.

Just don’t remain on the side of the road. Get back behind the wheel and get back on course.

Written by Heidi Woodard