How Basketball Helped Me Create a Dental Dream Team

Basketball tournament bracket superimposed on a wood gym floor

22 Mar How Basketball Helped Me Create a Dental Dream Team

 

Rarely do I just sit on the couch and mindlessly watch an NCAA basketball game. My strategic, tactical mind takes over. After reffing for ten years, I am too knowledgeable to let bad calls go unnoticed. After playing throughout high school, I am too competitive to not question a play or a coach’s decision. I do not throw things, dwell on calls or plays, or yell at the T.V. I am not THAT bad. I do analyze the game, and I think by playing sports, I developed a knack for analyzing the intricacies of a team. This proved to be invaluable when working to create my own dental dream teams.

After years of playing ball, I offer you my top ten tips for creating and sustaining your own dental dream team.

1. You must know and play by the rules. The refs will call you out just as an OSHA officer or dental board authority could call you out. By knowing the rules and abiding by them, you will enjoy the game and not get frustrated when someone makes you tow the line. You can also question the rulings when you know the rules.

2. You must get the right players in the right positions. Finding the right chemistry can produce great results. One all-star player is not enough to win in a team sport. It must be a reliance on the entire team to get the win.

3. Good coaching is essential. By creating a dental team that gets along and is not back-biting each other is crucial to a team’s success. It is up to the coach to nip all of that gossipy, undermining communication in the bud. The dentist coach and players must establish the rules the team will live by.

4. Communication is paramount so others know what you are trying to do. No-look passes are great if your teammates are ready for them, but if you do not tell your teammate what you are apt to do, someone will end up with a ball in their face. You have to let others know you, your style, and your talents, and conversely, your teammates must know you and learn your strengths and weaknesses.

5. You must pass the ball. No one likes a ball hog. If it’s always about you, or any one team member, the team will disintegrate and lose interest in achieving a common goal; the common goal becomes uncommon if one person tries to do it all him or herself. In an office, this person is often the people pleaser and ends up running him or herself ragged.

6. You must practice how you are going to play. Some of my teammates would say, “It’s not a real game,” during practice. They would struggle under pressure during the game because they failed to practice hard and practice as if it mattered. By creating real-life like situations for team member to learn, the patient experience tends to turn out better. I often had the assistants take impressions on me before having them attempt any impression on a patient.

7. You need some pre-established plays. Any good team operates with a playbook. This ensures continuity among players. It also helps create a pre-planned strategy for difficult situations. A great new patient experience is one much needed play in dentistry.

8. You have to tell someone if you want the ball. Passive players are almost as detrimental to a team as a ball hog. Telling someone you are open and available to help gives others options to gain points for the team. Each team member must have a voice and use it. Speaking up about a need will allow each player to contribute to the overall success of the team.

9. You have to keep a talented team challenged. Good players like a challenge and need constant feeding. This can be in the way of continuing education, personal development, or new assignments/responsibilities.

10. Celebrate your wins and then get back to work. It’s important to honor and recognize the good deeds of the team. It makes all of the work worthwhile, and it rejuvenates the spirit of the team. Then, establish a new goal and continue to work towards more successes.

As I write this, my two Michigan teams are still alive in the NCAA tournament. Go Blue and Go Green! May the team with the greatest spirit, most heart, most dedication, and best sportsmanship come out on top.

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