Next Play, Next Play

Male high school student asleep in class

After a turnover, a bad call, a missed shot, or a lapse in judgement, Coach Jay Wright is always telling his players, “next play, next play.”

The mantra is meant to help his players forget about what just happened, and to just focus on the present.

You hear golf announcers saying that the best players are able to forget about the bad drive they just hit or the putt they just missed, and just concentrate on the shot at hand.

Baseball players need to forget about the fact that they may have struck out the last three times they were up to bat, and give their undivided attention to their current plate appearance.

What I’m hoping is that if such a mindset works in the world of sports, it can also work in the world of teaching.

Today was just one of those days where I felt bad for my students. They were stuck in their seats having to listen to me drone on and on; I was getting bored myself! Not sure what it was, but I just didn’t feel like I brought my A game today.

Fortunately none of the students fell asleep (OK, there was the one guy). I guess the rest of them had managed to find something interesting to read about on the web, or a friend to text with while I was blabbing away. And I couldn’t blame them if they did look for such diversions. It’s my job to get them interested in what I am trying to teach, and if I see them engaged in such activities I view that as a sign that I need to up my game.

So while I might be inclined to mull over everything that was bad about today’s lecture, it seems as if I need to forget about it (it’s a sunk cost), and just think “next class, next class”.

I’m hoping it’s one more life lesson that sports can teach me.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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