I remind myself frequently that creative solutions abound if you look closely under the problem hood. There is almost always a way to accomplish something if you are passionate about your mission.
Spending most of our time and energy looking for positive solutions when confronted with problems is the best use of time.
I had a mentor once who said something like this: "Spend just enough time on the problem, about ten percent of your time, to understand the root causes of the problem, then spend 90 percent of your time solving the issue with what you have on hand".
This simple concept has served me and others well over their lifetime.
In this is a brief behind-the-scenes look at the girl's third consecutive state championship cross-country title and the boy's fourth consecutive state runner-up title; I illustrate my mentor's suggestion by talking about some simple positive solutions we implemented in response to challenges in our running program.
Small Private School, Few Resources
Coaching at a small school with about 100 students in four grades is unique.
Resources are limited. There are no public funds for activities or services.
Parents primarily transport kids to practices and meets, although our school purchased one small bus this year. We are grateful.
The creativity meter though needs to rise in daily practices when you have no gym, onsite track, locker room, traditional school transportation system, or weight room.
Many days I joke about my car being the school gym. I load it with bands, small weights, rollers, and a slant board daily.
In fact, my car is affectionately known as the JPII gym (the acronym for the school I coach at).
We unload the equipment from my car daily, using the equipment from my car for our strength workouts.
We also do some Pilates or core on the outside ground and have core competitions like planks outside, rain, or shine.
During the season, I measure trail routes; our trails become a track.
We sometimes use a safe, sturdy tree limb as a pull-up bar.
There is a lot of truth to the phrase, "necessity is the mother of invention."
When faced with a lack of resources problem, being creative and thinking outside the box to find solutions using what you have on hand is the goal.
When I get a bit frustrated with resource issues, I think of a place like Kenya or Ethiopia where facilities are almost non-existent, yet some of the best athletes in the world come from those locations.
Creativity, innovation, and hard work are sometimes enhanced when traditional resources that others have been unavailable.
Less is sometimes more if people rally and focus on what they have, not what they don't have in life.
When exploring solutions to resource issues, I've found that dreams can still come true by being grateful for what we have and then creatively adjusting for the lack of material resources through a team effort.
What we do have is much greater than any facility or state-of-the-art equipment.
There is a lot of love, care, creativity, encouraging parents, staff, and kids whose shared mission, goals, and connections in a small community are better than the best facilities in the world.
Where there is a will, there is almost always a way, especially when everyone shares the same mission.