Thursday, February 26, 2009

How goal-setting can spark a turnaround

On January 24, nearly 20 games into the season, Kent State had an 8-11 record, losers of five of six.

So first-year coach Geno Ford brought his team together for a "major" meeting. As this article tells it, "something needed to be done or a season would disintegrate."

Coach Ford, who had his seniors run the meeting (there are four on the roster), asked the team to outline five "specific goals." He wanted goals that were quantifiable.

Not things like 'win the MAC' or 'win every road game.' He wanted the team to tell him how they were going to accomplish the big picture, what it would take in each game to win. Things dealing with opposing field-goal percentage, rebounding, turnovers.

''I didn't want to see 'win the MAC' because that really has no meaning,'' he said. ''That's a fine thing to say, but I felt this group spent all their time talking about winning 20 games, winning a championship, going to the NCAA. That's not going to happen unless we have an idea of how the hell that's going to go down. What's it going to take?''

The final product of the meeting was a list, "written on poster board." It's always nearby: In the team's huddle during timeouts, on the floor at practice, and in the locker room.

Since creating "the list" (which is confidential), the Golden Flashes have won eight straight heading into tonight's game at Bowling Green.

Coach Ford gives credit to his team for the turnaround.

"I'm certainly not going to insinuate we're on a winning streak because of anything I'm doing."