Calculated Greatness

When Tara VanDerveer called last summer she said, “Bets, I want to bring you in this fall to work with us again. We’re headed to Italy for a foreign tour and then I want you to come in.”

When I asked what areas were most important for her team in preparation for the upcoming season she said, “We have a LOT of work to do. This season we are opening @ Ohio State, second game is UConn, later we’re @ Baylor and then in Las Vegas against Ohio State again. We play a host of other very good teams before playing at home against Tennessee and then we open Pac 12 with UCLA. Honestly it is going to be INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING and we will really need to stick together, have confidence, resilience, be determined, mature, unselfish and ALL the other things that make for a TOUGH team!”

Tara spoke of having a young but talented team, of putting in a new offense (Princeton) and navigating new staff dynamics with the retirement of long time Associate Head Coach, Amy Tucker.  
Here are the results of the games Tara mentioned that day in September…
11/10/17 vs. Ohio State – lost 64-85
11/12/17 vs. UCONN – lost 53-78
11/25/17 vs. Ohio State – lost 82-94 (OT)
12/3/17 at Baylor – lost 57-81
12/21/17 vs. Tennessee – lost 71-83
12/29/17 vs. UCLA - won 76-65

Fast forward to today and Stanford has won their last 4 games, including road victories this past weekend against #16 Oregon State and #6 Oregon.
Stanford has reached the Final Four in 7 of the past 10 years.  And now, in the month before the Madness, Stanford is once again poised to peak at just the right time.
This is not a coincidence. This is calculated greatness.
Wisdom is seeing challenges before they appear. Leadership is preparing people for the adversity ahead. Coaching is giving them the credit when they succeed.

May we all give our best to those around us and equip them for the road ahead.

Thanks for reading, and cheers to your success! 

:) Betsy

P.S. "Championship Communication", an article I co-wrote with Professor Beth VanDerveer (one of Tara's sisters), was published in the academic journal Strategies. The abstract is below and if you'd like a PDF copy please email me

This article discusses team development and focuses specifically on championship communication and team-building activities. Regardless of the sport or what the competitive field may look like, communication is an often overlooked, yet vital element in cultivating a championship culture. By identifying the common barriers to effective communication, teams are not only better able to recognize them when they arise, but can skillfully navigate them before they lead to miscommunication or misunderstandings. Communication workshops, inviting other professionals to talk about their communication methods, team community projects, and fun competitive and non-competitive team-building activities can help lead the way to a championship year. Effective communication is a key driver in producing high-performing teams.