“Learning from Failure”

Another week full of opportunities for each player and our team to take a step forward or a step back is in the books. I believe from an effort stand point our guys and thus our team did take a step forward the last five days. We had two intense team workouts, tough weightlifting sessions and a conditioning workout that pushed our guys to their limit. However, as a former player, I know improving your conditioning or gaining a better grasp of your team concepts is not what most basketball players look at when evaluating whether or not they had a good week.  They usually determine their level of personal success by assessing how they shot the ball on offense, if they prevented their man from scoring on defense or if they made any Bert Bertelkamp “SWEET” highlight worthy plays. In a media driven world that almost only shows highlights of great offensive or defensive plays, this thought process of what a successful day entails is very understandable.

However, my hope is that each member of our program can take a moment this weekend to evaluate their week a little differently. Yes, some guys out-performed others in practice this week. We had a few guys that not only filled the stat sheet offensively and locked down their man on defense but more importantly showed flashes of understanding the offensive and defensive principles we have been working on this preseason. On the other hand, there were a few guys who didn’t shoot it well, turned the ball over and got beat defensively. This latter group of guys would probably tell you they had a bad week and are probably down on themselves as they go into this weekend. But I disagree. Would you call me crazy if I said guys from this group could have had the best week?

As I stated in my last post “Developing an Identity,” you have the opportunity to learn from every situation. Your level of success is often determined by how you deal with every set of circumstances. If you mess up an assignment at work or screw up a project around the house, how do you handle it? Do you sit there and ask God, “Why me?” Do you point your finger and pass the blame? Or do you evaluate the situation, develop a plan to improve, roll up yourselves and get to work? To ultimately be successful you can’t let your failures force you to take a step back. Adversity must fuel your motivation to be great. A tough day? Tough week? We’ve all had them. However, the only way tough days or weeks become bad is if you do not learn from your struggles.  The adversity that great players and great teams encounter only makes them better. It doesn’t get them down. They don’t lose confidence. They just modify the steps they deem necessary to achieve their goals and keep working. That is what I hope our guys will do this weekend. Learn, lay out the steps, and then get ready to put in the labor Monday.

Have a great weekend!



About Mark Pancratz's Blog

A native of Schaumburg, Ill., Mark Pancratz played Division I basketball at UW-Milwaukee, earning his degree in marketing and finance. He joined Tennessee's staff in 2006 as a graduate assistant, earning his master's degree in sports management later that year. Serving as a G.A., director of video scouting and assistant to the head coach, Pancratz was an integral part of Tennessee's six-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. At 26, Pancratz boasts an impressive 18 games of NCAA Tournament experience as a player and/or administrative staff member. He is a member of the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and voted one of the 100 Legends of Illinois High School Basketball. Pancratz resides in Knoxville and is married to the former Brooke Waddell.
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