Your First Time Will Be Bad

By Geoff Schaefer

Geoff is a Wealth Advisor with Intergy Private Wealth. He writes for The Steadfast Fiduciary to help people live with an abundant heart, open mind, and boundless generosity.

December 6, 2023

I love basketball. I think it is the greatest sport on the planet. Since college, I’ve played progressively less, but an awesome benefit of fatherhood is that I now get to coach my kids. My oldest is in 2nd grade and we’ve pieced together a pretty decent crew at our local YMCA. Most of the team has been together for a few years now so as far as defense, dribbling, passing, and shooting go, we have a solid handle. This past week I was putting on my John Wooden hat and deciding which offensive concepts can I present to them that will help to progress them as basketball players. I decided on something anyone who played basketball from youth leagues through high school should be familiar with- the motion offense. It’s the simplest offense and actually is not a play you run. It is meant to be a movement the team practices to spread out the floor, keep moving, and confuse defenders. If a team can figure out the motion, they will be a force to be reckoned with all the way through the high school ranks.

The premise is very simple, there are five spots that must be filled on the court at all times. Two wings, two blocks and at the top of the key.  Once those are filled, you just pass the ball to your teammate and then set a pick for another teammate in the opposite direction.  If things get crazy, you slow down, fill the five spots and do it again. It’s so simple. When I play in rec leagues or at church with some other dads, anyone that played competitive ball will understand this idea and can loosely follow it. 

Example of a motion offense

So, I presented it to the team. Practiced setting picks, walked through how it would look, practiced with no defense. It was going well. Then we put all 10 players out there. The offense dribbled up the court and… chaos ensued. Everything fell apart. After the first pass and pick away, the entire team reverted to their old savagery of running around and yelling that they were open to their teammate. I’d call them out and we’d reset and…. It would happen again. If my high school coach saw this motion offense, he would retroactively bench me.

Now admittedly, these are seven- and eight-year-olds and I am no Coach K. I was growing frustrated after about 15 minutes of attempts, but then I remembered, this was their first time running a basketball offense, they should absolutely be bad at it! As a matter of fact, the fact they got the first pass and pick right was a win in and of itself.

In financial planning and life in general, there will be a lot of first times. The reason they usually happen is because we’ve identified that setting off on that path will be better in the long term.

  • Your first day of school
  • Your first time driving a car
  • Your first date
  • Your first day of a job after a career switch
  • Your first time saving money

None of those were necessarily easy or comfortable at the time.  As a matter of fact, you probably were socially awkward on your first day of school.  You probably stalled out your dad’s five speed 20 times in a Kroger parking lot. On your first date, you probably had a nervous looking smile and said some dumb stuff. But what did you get if you stuck with it?

We earned an education. We gained the ability to travel. We started a life with our best friend. We found a calling and purpose for our work. We gained the ability to control our time and be generous. None of the good stuff came the first time.

Maybe this season, maybe next, heck, maybe in a few seasons, my team will run a crisp and clean motion offense and we will absolutely dominate other teams.  The reality is, we won’t get there unless I present the idea to them today.  The good news is the first time is over.  Time to do it again.

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