An Enlightening Conversation
It was senior day at my son’s Alma Mater this weekend and many of the “original” players who started the men’s lacrosse program during the 10-11 academic year and their parents descended upon the stadium. It was a great opportunity to re-connect and see how the graduates had fared over the past year. One conversation in particular stood out. I had always thought of my son as a play maker rather than the man who puts the ball in the net.
I realize my perception of my son’s lacrosse abilities are biased. I believe he is:
- A quiet leader on the field
- A catalyst for effective plays
- A team player; not the leading goal-scorer
Off-Ball Movement is Critical to Success
The men’s lacrosse coach favored a run-n-gun style of lacrosse. Run-n-gun is a fast-paced offense where players make fast-breaks and shots are taken very quickly. My son played for a coach who demonstrated value in individuals over the team as a whole. An off-ball player is not the ball handler, he is the player that reads the field and positions himself to make a play happen. Knowing the coach’s values did not change my son’s commitment to the sport he loves or his team. He stayed the course throughout his four-year college lacrosse career. What stood out was my son’s former team mate naming him an off-ball player, and that struck a deep chord within me.
Off-Ball Movement Sets Teams Up to Score
An Off-Ball Player
- Knows the lay of the land. He knows the game, the rules, the plays, and the players. He uses that data to accurately read each situation.
- Understands how to be in the right place at the right time. He predicts where the ball will be. He uses deep knowledge to act and move accordingly to facilitate an effective play.
- Is, above all, a team player. An off-ball player loves the team above all and works towards the greater good: A Win! It is not about being the star, it is about being part of a winning team.
Do You Have Off-Ball Players on Your Leadership Team?
- Does your leadership and/or board of directors know the lay of the land? Do they intrinsically know the profession they serve, what fiduciary responsibility really means, bylaws, and policy and procedure?
- Do your leaders understand how to be in the right place at the right time? Do they recognize peer communication preferences and overall board culture to move agenda items forward?
- Is a winning team of greater value than the individual participants? Is it more important for individual leaders to win their point, or is it more important to come to consensus for the greater good of the organization?