Run to the Roar

Paul’s Blog

December 12, 2020


I’m a neurotic mess and go to a shrink once a week who has said that I’m the oddest person because, as the most conflict avoidant person he’s ever met, I’m leading people into conflict all the time. He called it running to the roar. *From the story about the lions hunting in packs, where the males are positioned away from the female in the center of a field. When the female roars, the pack’s prey run away from that roar towards the males, right into their eventual death. He said that this was something I needed to focus on.


We went 13 years without ever losing a match. Not one match. And so, I never realized what kind of pressure the boys were feeling because I've never coached for winning and losing. To me, it doesn't matter. One day, I was driving down the road with one of the boys when he genuinely asked me what would happen when we lost. I told him that nothing was going to happen and that we were going to be fine. It never occurred to me that he was feeling that pressure.


Every day, when I look at a person's body language and can tell that they are struggling, I always ask them what's the worst that can happen and then talk about it. Now when you're dealing with young people, very seldom are they even aware that they're struggling- they're just not that in tune- but you can tell it from their body language. What’s the worst that can happen? We’re going to lose. You’re going to get fired. But you're super smart and have already proven yourself successful just to get to this level, so you're going be fine. You'll figure it out.


What's the worst that can happen? It isn't as bad as you think. It isn't this big hairy monster that you have in your subconscious. So we deal with managing fear by running to the roar. One way to break that fear is by making practice harder, making it more difficult than anything they're going to experience on game day. What's the worst that can happen? That's something that we really reiterate all the time.

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