These two words are more than just our first quote shirt at Virginia Tech; they represent the approach we want to take in all aspects of the program. Each individual action, whether by staff, member, player, or manager, can have either a positive or negative impact on the program. Since giving the ‘Everything Matters’ quote shirt to our players, the designs and themes of our quote shirts have evolved. New quote shirts are given to all members of the program about once a month. Each shirt builds off this original theme of ‘Everything Matters.’ Quote shirts can represent our style of play, a ‘Tech Talk,’ something sentimental that happened during the season, and more.
Quote shirts are something for our players to take pride in. There is little chance someone outside our program will know what the quote means unless they ask a member of our program to explain the story behind it. This represents an opportunity for our players to understand the goals and values of our program’s brand, and convey that to others. These quotes are constant reminders of the bigger themes we want this program to be focused on.
‘I don’t know man, just keep running.’ This quote was from Devin Wilson during our last boot camp when a teammate asked him “Dev, how many sprints do we have left?” Devin’s response symbolizes that on the path to #getBETTER, there is no finish line; rather the goal is to keep pushing to see what your ceiling is individually and collectively as a team. I tell our guys all the time during the two weeks of boot camp: the hardest part of this process is to not think about all of the sprints remaining but rather to lock in on successfully completing the one in front of us (which reminds me of another quote from ‘Words We Use’: ‘What’s Next?’). Do we have the mental toughness to narrow our focus on what we are doing at this moment? ‘I don’t know man, just keep running,’ was Devin’s way of relaying to his teammate it doesn’t matter how many we have left, just give all you can on the next sprint.
‘A Fingertip Changes Everything.’ I want our players to understand what impact a single deflection, rebound, loose ball, and more can have on the outcome of a game. I tell our team all the time at this level, the line between winning and losing is very thin. The outcome of a single game can shift an entire season. A fingertip at any point during a contest can change everything. I want our players to be conscious of what the impact of doing the “little things” can have on the impact of a game and the season overall.
‘Respect is the ultimate currency.’ I tell my players all the time if I am not helping them grow up as men, I have failed them as a head coach. I want my players to be more than basketball players; I want them to be prepared to be solid husbands and fathers. In a ‘Tech Talk’ I gave during this past season, I wanted to convey to them there are aspects of life more important than your personal wealth. I focused on the importance of gaining people’s respect through their work ethic, kind gestures, and positive dispositions. I told them what is the point of being wealthy if you have not earned anyone’s respect? ‘Respect is the ultimate currency’ is a reflection of the many lessons I have tried to instill in them to help them grow not only as basketball players but also as men.
Two years after the first quote shirt was distributed to members of our program, the idea is only gaining momentum with our players. There are now times in practices, on road trips, or during ‘Tech Talks’ where I will say something and one of the players will say “that’s a quote shirt!” They feel a sense of pride when they wear their favorite quote shirt, and they discuss with their teammates which one they feel best represents them individually. The back of each quote shirt carries the hash tag we try embody each day: #getBETTER. I want our players to understand the specific message of the quote shirt. Yet, I also want them to remember the overarching theme of the program is always to #getBETTER in whatever capacity that may be for each player, staff member, or manager individually.