There’s a saying that success breeds success. A good example is the teams heading to the Super Bowl on Sunday. The Patriots and the Rams franchises have been to the big game multiple times, which each having at least one win. Both teams’ coaches have a proven history of success and setting records, and both teams have at least one coach with at least one Super Bowl ring. They know what it takes to win.
When you watch these teams play on TV, the coaches look as cool as can be. They’re undoubtedly experiencing every emotion imaginable—just like the emotions we feel as fans—yet they maintain their composure and exhibit superior coaching skills. They don’t scream at each other or at players. If something isn’t working, they don’t tell the players to work harder, as if effort is the problem. Instead, they identify the problem and make adjustments, putting players in positions to be successful.
We see this idea of success lea ding to more success trending in some of our high school teams.
Traditionally successful teams continue to dominate. For example, our wrestling program has a history of being competitive. Over the last five years, it’s gotten even stronger, churning out multiple state champions. Shakopee wrestling is now a powerhouse that’s ranked No. 1 in the state with several ranked wrestlers on the team.
Head coach Jim Jackson has a history of success. When he came to Shakopee a few years ago, he brought with him a remarkable 618-27-3 record, which is a 95 percent success rate. That’s impressive across any sport at any level. Assistant coaches also have amazing resumes of success. It’s no wonder wrestlers want to be on this team and have these coaches.
Girls volleyball also boasts a strong record of continual achievement. Just last year, the team once again made our district proud by finishing as state consolation champions after another great season. The team regularly posts winning records playing against the state’s top teams and sees players earning all conference and even all state honors.
Likewise, we’ve seen the boys swim and dive team, which never gets the recognition it deserves, move up the charts in its 11 seasons of existence. It ended with a first place finish in the ultra-competitive South Suburban Conference last season, has strong finishes in big meets, and is primed to win the conference again this year.
Boys and girls varsity basketball, which usually have strong teams and dedicated followings, once again have winning records and are on the cusp of being state contenders. Former players are seeing success on their Division I college teams.
Success also carries across other activities. Thom Amundsen assembles a great cast and delivers entertaining plays every fall and spring. Same goes with our band and choir directors.
Meanwhile, our trap club has seen a waiting list of kids who want to participate. That’s not surprising. It’s impossible to hear Bob Pulk, the trap club coach and advisor, talk about the program and not feel the excitement and expertise he brings to the students. There are other examples across many other programs.
The flip side of success breeding success—failure leads to continued failure unless there’s change—also holds true, at least in Shakopee. Teams and coaches who are perpetually unsuccessful continue to struggle year after year. Even when a new head coach takes over a beleaguered program, many of the same assistants who have been around seemingly forever without ever turning in a winning record in 6A or the South Suburban Conference continue to hang on, continue to drive student athletes away from the sport, and continue to lose.
There’s a word for the same people doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, and it’s not success. Isn’t that right, boys’ hockey and football?