Musings from the Sports DesK: What is 'The Process?'
By BRANDON HURLEY
It’s impossible to consume sports today without catching a whiff of the suddenly iconic phrase.
You hear it in the highest ranks of the NBA, in college football and even at the high school level right here in Jefferson – “trust the process.”
But what does that fairly vague statement really mean? What is the process and what will it yield?
Is it just something to get kids and fans comfortable with lackluster seasons “promising” them future success?
Does it truly work and motivate teams, fans and coaches?
I went on the hunt to find out what “the process” really is and what it means. and, of course, if it’s effective or not.
I went to the source, first-year Greene County head coach Mitch Moore, who brought the “process” to Jefferson when he arrived this winter.
It’s easy for hime to define his philosophy.
“It just starts with being consistent every single day. We talk about two things you can control every day – your attitude and your effort,” Moore said. “If we can control our attitude and effort every single day and be consistent in our behaviors, we’re going to start building something special here.”
There it is. The process is dedication to hard work and improvement of a passion. It’s something that can be applied to any aspect of life. If you put in the time and work, success will come. And the Greene County players have certainly put in the work. Dozens of athletes attended grueling, 6 a.m. daily workouts during the summer.
“They’ve done just a tremendous job for six months and now I’m challenging them to be better than they were that six months,” Moore said. “If we have a great day, you can’t come back tomorrow and try to match that. You have got to come back tomorrow and try to get better at that day.”
Part of that process, Moore said, is enduring changes. The Rams have bought in and adjusted to the new regime, accepting change in full stride.
“[They understand] that they’re not all in the same positions they were last year. We’re moving them around and we’re trying to figure out what pieces fit in the puzzle the best,” the coach said. “Trusting in the process, trusting your coaches and trusting your teammates. Just being consistent throughout.”
Moore’s expectations certainly aren’t tempered either. He’s focused and not short on confidence – It’s championship or bust. The process, in his mind, should yield piles and piles of victories.
“The end goal for us is to win a championship and we’ve said that since day one,” Moore said midway through day two of fall camp outside the Greene County High School. “We’re not trying to win five games. We’re trying to become a championship program year in and year out. For us to do that, it’s one word – consistency.”
Moore isn’t all talk despite having yet to coach a single high school game. He’s in the trenches of practice, throwing passes to receivers, giving hands-on instructions while constantly barking out encouragement. He’s a lightening rod of excitement and his voice booms across the practice fields.
If this all sounds familiar, you’re not off base, because frankly, it’s right in line with what second-year Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell preaches. Moore spent a year and a half as director of high school relations under Campbell in Ames. The former Toledo head coach’s philosophies rubbed off on Moore in a big way. He’s also accumulated a few bits and pieces from other mentors as well.
“(Matt Campbell) is the best coach I’ve ever been around, on and off the field. He’s the most consistent coach,” Moore said. “Obviously, Paul Rhoads had an immense amount of passion and desire for the game of football.
Bo Atterberry, Southeastern Oklahoma State, I always describe it as he had that ‘it’ factor. He always knew the pulse of his team. He knew when to push them and knew when to back off.”
Moore takes his process a step further than Campbell and harps on an equation, E+R = O. It should, in his mind, help his players overcome the adversity they’ll face this fall. A 1-8 team that lost its starting running back and top wide receiver doesn’t become a title contender over night. That’s where Moore’s equation comes into play.
“Every single day there’s going to be some type of event (E) and every single day, there’s a response (R) to that event,” the coach said. “So what’s that reaction going to be? What’s your “R” factor going to be?”
The O stands for the outcome as a result of the response. To solve the equation, Moore keys in on his original theory of the process – attitude and effort.
“How are you going to respond to something that doesn’t always go your way? If you control your attitude and your effort, that’s going to help. That’s an above-the-line behavior,” Moore said. “That “R” factor, that’s what determines our success. How you react to that event. That’s something that we can’t talk about on Friday. So we have to talk about that Monday through Thursday to get [there].
There’s going to be adversity and we’ve dealt with a little adversity throughout this summer, but we’re going to deal with more adversity on Friday night.”
The process won’t reach completion if Moore isn’t all-in as well. He knows how important his role is to a new generation of Greene County athletes. As the activities director at the high school, he must set a good example across the department and kick-start the “process” throughout.
“I’ve got to do that as a leader here. I have to know when to push my coaches,” Moore said. “There are certain times I have to push them and there certain times I know the coaches are giving me everything. That “it” factor, that pulse of the team, I have to know where we are everyday. That’s my job. That’s why I was hired to be the head guy.”
Patience is important, but dedication and sky-high expectations define Moore’s “process.”