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Who Was John Marshall?

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"To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well" - John Marshall

Recently at Glendale it seemed like the name John Marshall kept coming up. It was just happening too often and then one day an envelope crossed my desk from John Marshall High School. It was the last straw and I wrote across the envelope, "Who was John Marshall?" I am sure it would be upsetting to politicans and leaders today that 200 years from now, most people will not remember who you are. In many ways it is embarrassing that I did not know who John Marshall was. Do you?

John Marshall was born in 1755 and was the fourth Chief Justice of the United State. His opinions were instrumental in establishing American constitutional law and he made the Supreme Court of the United States an equal with the legislative and executive branches. As Washington is known as the father of our country, Marshall, who was one of Washington's closest friends, was clearly the father of the U.S. Supreme Court. His landmark case, William Marbury versus James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States confirmed the legal principle of judicial review - the ability of the Supreme Court to limit Congressional power by declaring legislation unconstitutional. This one ruling made this nation.

Another story, possibly legend, is that the famous Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was cracked during his funeral in 1835 but there is no firm proof that this is true.

So was I correct that John Marshall appears everywhere? Take a look at the list on Wikipedia to see.

Competitive Drill: How to Keep Your Team Engaged

Keeping your new team members interested is no easy feat. There's a lot of pressure riding on you, whether you're in leadership or not, to retain team members and to have a successful season. This can be difficult if you're dealing with people who tend to lose focus easily (sounds like your team, doesn't it?) Here are a few tips for keeping your team engaged:

  1. Read about flow, learn the information, and use it to your advantage. Flow is the state of being entirely involved in an activity that completely engages a person's skills. A person experiencing flow has extreme focus in their task, a diminished awareness of the passage of time, and a diminished awareness of the self (including pain, hunger, thirst, self-esteem, etc.). In short, learning to induce flow will engage the attention of every member of the team, and they will be free of all outside distractions. There's a great write-up about flow on Independent Drill's Article Library.
  2. Have short-cut commands. With the teams I coach, I use a checkpoint system. When we're working on a certain segment, I'll declare that they're standing at a checkpoint. This communicates to them that they need to pay attention to where they're standing. As we move through the next segment, if I see something wrong, I'll tell them to stop and to reset at the checkpoint. As they move to the checkpoint, I'll tell them what I saw that they need to fix. This eliminates "empty" time, or time where the team is standing still and not moving - the quickest way to lose their attention. There are many short-cut commands you can use. Experiment with your team until you've mastered efficiency.
  3. Rehearse how you're going to teach. Know exactly which words to say, and break each new move down into its most basic components. For instance, a single spin requires an explanation about four different things - what the left elbow does (stays tucked into your side), what the left forearm does (lifts slightly), what the left wrist does (torques around, then shoots back up to catch), and what the right arm does (catches a little before vertical to fix errors in force).
  4. Minimize your own mistakes. This goes back to the rehearsal thing. There's nothing that confuses a team more than when their commander makes a counting error, or misses a step. Make sure you're solid on the trick before leading them in their exercises.

In short, good preparation, high efficiency commanding, and fluent speaking is what's going to help you teach your team to focus. If they're acting out to the point where you feel you have to yell or give push-ups to regain control, the problem was probably your fault, and it probably goes back to having too much empty time in the block. A busy team is a focused one, and a focused team has no time for banter. Be safe, have fun, and happy drilling.

Adam Jeup has been an active driller for 9 years and has competed at IWDC. He owns and operates Independent Drill, a learning resource for drillers of all skill levels. Adam is a regular contributor to the Bugler. Stay tuned for his exclusive articles on competitive drill!

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