Life can and will throw curve balls your way from time to time. But how do avoid getting knocked off your feet? How do you duck, dodge and make alternate game plans? How do advance when faced with challenges and adversities?
Browse the video lesson below to find out. And remember to take the quiz at the end of the lesson.
No one had given them the chance of a snowball in hell. The second place finish in the National Cricket T20 League had thus caught everyone by surprise.
Well, everyone except Raghuvir Yadav, the coach of the hyderabad titans.
Two years back, the Titans had been at the bottom of the pack. “They have won just one of twelve games played and have received an absolute hammering in eight of the eleven games that they lost.
I feel that we should shut the team down” the owners of the team had been talking in a team management meet had noted. “They are a lost cause” one of them had remarked.
But, in an act that they viewed as the final roll of the dice, they had decided to appoint Raghuvir Yadav as the team’s new coach.
Raghuvir, a young coach with an analytical bent of mind, had been following the fortunes of the Hyderabad Titans purely as a fan of the sport.
In his first address to the team, Raghuvir outlined his vision for the Titans. “A top six finish this year, a top three finish the following. In the third year, we will look for an outright victory.
I will be working with you one-to-one, and collectively as a unit, to make this happen. I recognise that some of the senior players in the team are technically adept and that there is raw talent in the team that can be developed into productive and effective resources. We have a good shot at this”
To most of the team members, this sounded like a pipe dream. “Move from being bottom of the pile to the winners in three years? That guy is seriously deluded or a charlatan, neither of which I like”, Arjun, one of the senior members of the team remarked.
In the ensuing weeks, Raghuvir outlined three areas of development: “We need to look at a 35% improvement in runs scored, a 28% improvement in bowling accuracy and an 80% improvement in runs saved in the field.
These goals are well within our reach, and as my analysis has shown, will enable us to improve our results in games that we can win, especially against the teams in the middle and the bottom of the table”
In the next three months, the period preceding the start of the cricket season, Raghuvir and his team of coaches worked with each individual one-to-one to improve individual efficiency.
Raghuvir encouraged his team to give each other developmental feedback, especially technical inputs on how people could improve.
The team was encouraged to view developmental videos by themselves and experiment on techniques to improve self. Only, they had to share with the coaches as to what this improvement targeted was.
Experiments with changes in team formation and individual playing techniques were tried at a small scale level and if initial results from the experiments were encouraging, these were retained, or discarded if they failed to yield any results.
For a team which had lost its morale, progress had proven slow at the start. Many players still harboured doubts over their ability to change the previous year’s poor outcomes.
But Raghuvir persisted, constantly pointing out to individuals the improvement that he saw them make. It seemed to make a difference to the team, which began to win a few pre-season friendly matches.
Come on guys we can make it… there is a lot of improvement in each and every one of you… just look how well we performed in the pre-season matches…
But it did not take long for trouble to strike.
Rakesh, a popular senior member of the team approached Raghuvir, stating he had landed a higher paying gig with a rival team. Raghuvir knew there was no way he could match Rakesh’s new offer. So Raghuvir was upfront about it, and let Rakesh go with the best of wishes.
Coach, Heroes Team has offered me a 5 year contract with 50% hike in salary… it’s a really good opportunity for me and my carrier… I would really want to move on…
Well Rakesh if you have decided then I won’t stop you… I wish you all the very best for your future endeavours…
Gopal, another young talented team member got caught by the police in a betting scandal and was subsequently incarcerated. The morale in the team dwindled.
“These are devastating blows…for lesser mortals,” Raghuvir stated in a team meeting. “Not you. There may be plenty more of these setbacks before we’re done here. But we’ll walk on. We take it in our stride.
We’re Titans after all! I won’t lie, it’s going to be tough in the games ahead. We will stick to our plan, though modified, to deal with the setbacks that we have faced.
We are already seeing a 22% improvement in runs scored in the friendlies that we are playing, our bowling accuracy has improved by 20% as measured in the trials that we are conducting and we are almost saving 80% more runs today in the friendlies, as we did last year.
Progress is being made, but we will need to step up our efforts to make up for the players that we have lost. We have also decided to hire a recently retired cricketer, who we believe can serve us this year at least, as a stop gap arrangement till we find a more permanent alternative.”
The data presented, as well as Raghuvir’s ability to make progress in the face of challenges, which hitherto would have left the team sapped of its morale, lifted the collective mood in the team.
At one point, when funds were running low due to sponsorship issues, Raghuvir offered to take a pay cut. It worked, and it gave the team a fighting chance until three months later when a sponsor stepped in.
The progress in the team continued. They won their first three games in the League, including one against the team that had placed third in the table, the previous year.
“It is the improvement that we have brought about, individually and as a team, that is helping us win. As per my current analysis, we have improved our run scoring ability by 82% as compared to last year, our bowling accuracy by 33% and we are saving almost 100% more runs, as compared to last year”
Team members could validate the data, as they had seen an improvement in their own output. This, combined with the initial wins, raised the confidence levels and morale in the team.”
In a critical match, Raghuvir stepped back and let the players coach themselves in a game against their arch-rivals. The Titans won hands down, and the team’s confidence was now at all all-time high.
The Titans finished fifth that year and second, the following year.
“This is nothing short of a miracle” the team’s management said as they felicitated their young coach.
“Thank you, sir,” Raghuvir replied. “Though, I might say that creating the right environment for success, and not some miracle, is the reason that we have finished second. They’re a great team, no one can take that from them and by the time we’re through, this ‘Titanic’ tale wont be one about sinking at all.”Questions: What were the factors that led to the team improving on its performances?