Coach Will Wade's Guide To A.C.T.—ing

Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Coach Will Wade speak at a fundraising event. During this speech, Wade expressed his way of coaching. His expectations for his players. The way he runs his team. While all of these were exceptional to hear about, one part of his speech stuck with me.

Will Wade chooses to A.C.T. and I DEFINITELY do not mean the test but don't be alarmed (especially potential basketball players looking into Louisiana State University's program). Wade's guide to A.C.T.—ing isn't what you'd expect.

1. A — Aggressive

By "aggressive," Coach Wade does not mean a group of rude, troublesome, anger-filled athletes. Aggressive means doing everything 120%. Throughout the beginning of his speech, Will Wade told listeners that mistakes were OK. But these mistakes were ONLY OK if they were aggressive mistakes. This meaning if during a game, or practice, if one of his athletes messes up, they MUST be trying their absolute hardest at whatever they messed up. He also explained that you can always be better. When you think you have given something your all, there is always more to give.

This part, in particular, stuck out to me because it made something inside me click. I will ALWAYS have something more to give. Even on my hardest days, I can give more. As can everyone. When you think you are at your lowest and are dying to give up, push forward a little more. You have it in you.

2. C — Committed

Commitment is more than just giving your all to a person or a job. It is going above and beyond for what you love. Coach Wade told a story about a walk-on player of his. This walk-on specifically gets a lot of playing time. Why might you ask? Because he is wholeheartedly committed to himself, his team, and the program. This young man goes in every morning at 6 a.m. to lift weights, gets in extra workouts three times a week, attends team workouts, and goes to optional workouts on Saturdays.

Coach Wade sees this and sees the commitment, therefore, the walk-on is played. A LOT.

Everyone could learn from this. Something you are doing that may seem small to you, is likely being noticed by someone else. And this someone else may see it as hard work, potential, and commitment.

3. T — Thankful

Thankful. My absolute favorite part of Will Wade's ACT. He instills this into his players in the most amazing ways. Towards the end of his speech, Wade told a story about something he does with his players. At the beginning of the season, Coach Wade sets out a pencil, piece of paper, and an envelope. Once all of his players are present, they each sit in front of this set up primarily confused. Wade explains that they will all write a letter to someone who has helped them get where they are in life, but it has to be someone they have not talked to in five-plus years. These athletes must also add their new contact information to the letters. In shock, these athletes also questioned why they couldn't send an email or a text, and then mentioned they didn't even know how to address the envelope. Of course, the audience laughed, as did Will Wade. He explained that once they got through the letters, then they could worry about the envelope.

He also said that once a month the players come in for 15 minutes and talk..the catch: they cannot talk about basketball.

The moral to this? About a month later when the players come back in for their 15 minutes, many are appalled at the responses they got back from the letters. Whether it was a phone call or an email, the individuals who received the letters were just as thankful as the young men who sent them out.

This goes to show that no matter where you go in life, or how far you may go, the people who helped to get you there will be thankful for you reaching out.

Being thankful is not something that should just be one-time or in the moment.

Following the speech, there were a few questions asked, mainly concerning the recruitment, past wins, etc. While these were all interesting questions, I could not think of anything other than trying to turn my life into Will Wade's ACT. To be aggressive, committed, and thankful for everything I do.

A huge thank you to Will Wade for taking time out to speak at this event in St. Mary Parish, and also, thank you for sharing so much about your coaching style with the audience. I will definitely be implementing this ACT into my own life.

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