Leadership / Coaching / Sports

Leadership, coaching, and basketball.

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

I’ve decided to apply for a job as a middle school boys basketball coach. I’ve been thinking about it for several years but the timing never seemed right because of this or that. I’ve coached baseball and basketball at the U12 level several years and thoroughly enjoyed it but wanted to take it up a notch.

In order to apply, I had to become certified as a coach through a state agency. It’s a 15-hour course with three exams. I completed those last night (98%, 96% and 91% — 80% is required, so yeah, I’m bragging).

As part of the…


Leadership / Planning

Man plans; God laughs.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Fail to plan; plan to fail.

This has been the seriously most complex July for my family in my lifetime. Three teenagers and a fresh graduate with a master’s degree combined with sports, recreational travel, business travel, two broken arms (one on my son, one on my aunt who lives with us), other medical appointments, friendly get-togethers, business lunches, family functions — I just don’t remember ever having such a confluence of events!

I use my phone to track most things but my wife and I printed a paper calendar for July. By the time, we finished marking it up…


Leadership / Mindfulness / Practice

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

Perfect practice makes perfect. That’s what Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time, said. I’d always heard the “practice makes perfect” line and then one day someone blew my mind quoting Lombardi.

That makes so much more sense! I thought. It was like I had a couple of pieces of a puzzle that weren’t fitting together and someone handed me the piece that joined them together.

Leadership is best learned by practice, but I don’t think it’s possible to practice it perfectly. The reality is people don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you…


Leadership / Checkups / Problems / Presence

Regular Checkups.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

So this morning I had to have a medical exam that men of a certain age, ahem, find necessary. No need for explicit detail but there was extensive preparation required which resulted in clean pipes and involved a scope.

The preparation was mildly unpleasant and caused some loss of sleep and extended visits to the restroom. Honestly, the anticipation was worse than the preparation and procedure. It did leave me drained, however.

As a leader, sometimes you have to look at things and in places you’d rather not. Right there, that tells you it’s going to be painful, uncomfortable at…


Leadership / Priorities

Fighting the wrong battles.

Image by Scott E from Pixabay

One of my sons has become laser-focused on football. Changed his diet, lifting weights, choosing what he eats more carefully. He looks great, really getting ripped.

I’m impressed with the discipline he’s applying to himself. I’ve rarely reached the levels of self-discipline he’s exhibiting.

Schoolwork and reading are completely different. I’m pretty certain he’s sharp. He demonstrates some great awareness of people and their actions fairly often. He connects data points to reach conclusions which sometimes make sense (he’s a teenage boy remember!).

I’ve encouraged, cajoled, threatened, and pleaded for him to read. I’ve found books on football (fiction, biographical…


Leadership / Leading

Power vacuums wreak havoc!

CC BY 2.0

When I deployed to Baghdad in 2005, I was part of the Division Staff. Clearly there was violence happening but it wasn’t full-scale combat. The Army was still struggling with how to deal with this situation. We spent years building and training units for years to wage massive tank battles, deliberate attacks, defense in depth, and so on.

In the Army doctrine at the time, the artillery people owned the targeting process for the division. This process was called D3A for Decide, Detect, Deliver, and Assess. You had to decide what to target and how much damage you wanted to…


Little known alternative history fact: A West Virginian moved to Texas in the wake of the Civil War and started the conversational practice of "ya'll." His name was Owata Fu Lyam. He was mixed ancestry--25% Irish, 25% German; 25% Bangladeshi; 25% Guatemalan; 25% Tunisian; and 25% Chinese. He was truly a man-and-a-half.

That might be true.


Leadership / Outdoors / Motivation

Breathe it in.

Photo of the Upper Falls by J. Stephen Conn on Flickr

Had a terrific time today with family and extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, Nonna) at the Holly River State Park here in West Virginia. The state has been putting money into the tourism industry and it shows!

Cabin was terrific. Just what we needed for our group. The location of the cabin was incredibly well situated in terms of things to do. Hiking trails — right there. Playground — right there. Baseball field for a wiffleball game — right there. Basketball court, swimming pool, awesome creek with crawdads — right there.

Weather was magnificent. The Holly River Upper Water Falls…


Leadership / Patriotism / Thankfulness

Happy Birthday America!

Image by tammyatWTI from Pixabay

This is the greatest country in the history of the world. America isn’t perfect, then again, neither am I. Sometimes we get so close to something we stop seeing it. That’s what has happened in this country.

There’s a reason so many people from so many races, religions, ethnicities, and countries fight so hard to get here every day. They understand far better than many of us who have grown up under this wonderful red, white, and blue umbrella we call the United States of America. …


Leadership / Focus / Grit

Champions show up to play every day.

You have an off day. Maybe you’re tired, maybe you’re in the doldrums. Maybe you’re sick. What do you do? Do you take a sick day? Of course, that’s appropriate if you think you’re infectious.

Greatness comes from grinding it out. Every day. Maybe you don’t always get your best work but you always give your best effort. That’s the best effort you can muster given your current circumstances.

I first figured this out when I was working out regularly. Exercising is a habit. The more you do it, the easier it is to do. When you take that day…

Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, taught at West Point, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Amazon pubs.

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