I listened to the University of Denver’s lacross coach Bill Tierney speak to a group of execs this morning. If you have not heard of Tierney you don’t follow college lacrosse. Bill Tierney is the John Wooden of lacrosse. After 22 years of incredible success coaching Princeton’s mens lacrosse team and six NCAA national championships (he had inherited a very weak team at Princeton with a loosing record, no history getting to the NCAA finals, no dedicated lacrosse field, etc.) he came to Denver l8 months ago. Someone to follow.  UUWEEXH5YCFKN

Coach Tierney shared a number of coaching philosophies that can be applied to leadership – I’ll share more later. One I loved was that he does not believe in giving out “game balls” to individual players at the end of a game. He views the outcome of a game the result of team effort. 

However, the coach does hand out a “practice ball” at the end of some of his practices. The practice ball goes to the player who pushes himself well toward his potential, not necessarily the player who scored the most goals or made the play that won the game. 

Tierney made a great point that when a team is performing as a team it celebrates the seamingly minor successes of all players, not just the top performers. In fact, such teams celebrate a new player’s first goal or a hard-working but less skilled player’s one break out play of the season more than a superstar breaking a school record. 

How do you give out practice balls?