When Varsity practice started the day after Thanksgiving in 2003, it was a disaster. Official practice time was 9:00 AM on Saturday, but it was mandatory that all athletes show up by 8:45 AM to warmup and stretch. I showed up at 8:50 AM, believing that since I was one of the best players, I didn’t need to warm up.
When I got in at 8:50, Coach Adams walked right over to me.
As I was putting on my shoes, he stared me straight in the eyes and said, “Tyson, this is how the year’s going to start?! I can’t believe you right now! You have to be a leader for these guys and you come in late?! I’m tempted to kick you out of practice right now. This is not a good start to the year, Tyson!”
I nodded and knew I messed up, but I didn’t think of myself as a leader. I felt I was just another player who got to practice a little late. During practice it was evident who the starters would be, and I was included. A new addition was a freshman he brought in from a different town, but other than him there were no surprises.
For the rest of the year, Coach Adams kept telling me, “Tyson, be a leader! I need you to be a leader!”
When I heard that, the words went in but I had no idea what it meant. The fact is that I didn’t know how to be a leader. In a way I was still in my sophomore mindset, a newcomer trying to get as many minutes as possible, leaving the leadership to the other guys. Just one year earlier I was struggling to even play on the JV team, now Coach Adams wanted me to be a leader on Varsity? I was honored, but I didn’t know what he wanted me to do.
This was Not Being Motivated Going Into My Junior Year of High School.