Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It only a good pass if....

Picture the scene, early on a Saturday morning, me and my friends are practicing basketball in St Andrews. We are playing a relatively insignificant 4 v 4 game, but I still want to win…quite badly. I throw the peerrrfect pass to one of the players on our team, firm, fast and accurate, but he fumbles the pass and we go on to lose the game.
I remember that at the time I was truly furious with the guy and gave him a really hard time over not catching the pass and how it lost us the game. And then as happened many times in my school days, in came the voice of reason Coach Conan Doyle, a constant source of basketball wisdom.
I remember what he said to me clearly, and like most good things in life it was simple and easy to understand and has stuck in the back of my mind ever since. He told me that

“its only a good pass, if the person catches it”
Now on a basic level you may disagree with such a claim, but it really is true and true throughout life wherever you care to take a look. Although in my eyes the pass I had thrown was perfection itself, the transfer of a ball, or of any message at all is only good or effective when viewed RELATIVE to the person who is receiving it.

I was taught that when making a pass in basketball you need to do a few things, firstly make eye contact and make sure the person is expecting the pass, and then more importantly look at what sort of pass suits that person are they a good catcher, can they deal with a ziiinger? When you are part of a team or especially a leader, it is up to you to bring out the best of your team mates, in this case I should have realised that player x, who I knew was slightly clumsy, could not deal with the pass thrown.

A more recent example of this was seen at the SICC conference in Canada I attended a while back. On the first day of the competition we made a presentation about Ireland and business in Ireland, we used 200+ slides in the presentation, sometimes with one word per slide, sometimes just a picture, and the audience (a group of Canadian teens) loved it, they watched the screen and enjoyed the show, we had made a pass that they could, and wanted to catch, and it was understood and fully received.

Three days later in the finals of that competition, having seen the initial success of our first outing we made a presentation in a similar style, however about a more serious subject, to a group of financial officers at Scotiabank… they weren’t feeling the vibe as much, and decided that watching the slide show wasn’t for them, so by not keeping the receiver in mind, our pass was bad because they couldn’t/wouldn’t receive it.

I think this simple lesson can be applied to most things in life, and it comes down to just thinking a bit ahead and looking at who the receiver is, and will they be able to catch your pass.

No comments: