If someone is telling you they experienced incredible results, and then tells you that it was easy, they are about to sell you something.

That’s because results take consistent work over time, including days you don’t want too. Including the days you don’t feel well, or are super busy, or are stressed out, sore, tired, or don’t feel motivated.

Are you trying to sell your team on culture? Have you become more of a salesman desperate for that buy-in then a coach or a leader? This is a trap that rarely ends well. Are you promising results, promising a family like atmosphere, promising unity, promising this will be a fantastic season – all things you could never guarantee. Are you just telling your team and your parents that this is how it is and expecting it to be so, perhaps blaming them for falling short if they don’t simply comply with your description of team utopia? These are all things that you can’t hand them, that they have to help build.

Leaders don’t stand on the sideline directing traffic, they are inside the car with their team – alongside them, asking the players to drive while they instruct, correct, and encourage. That’s how you build consistency. That’s how you build buy-in. That’s how you shape culture. Day by day, interaction by interaction.

It’s day in and day out belief in your athletes. Belief in their potential. Belief in a future that can survive whatever is coming your way. Believing it when you can’t see it, when you are certain it’s not within your reach but you carry on, move forward, and you build it imperfect brick by imperfect brick.

When that preseason talk comes around, don’t sell them on how the culture is going to be and beg for a buy-in without any work being put in.  Instead, tell your players that it’s going to be hard, dirty, uncomfortable, tedious, and stressful work. It’s going to be fun, exciting, rewarding, memory and lifetime friendship building and character growing too. But sometimes it will be frustrating, empty, confusing, and you’re going to experience a game or a practice when you just might think it’s not worth it. That’s when we build our culture, that’s where our relationships get stronger, that’s where we find out the true meaning of seeing something through until you find success, that’s where you get your return on the time and money you put into sports. Im looking forward to battling the elements of the season with you, alongside you, out in front of you, bringing in the anchor, and helping you navigate through it all. This will be our culture, no promises, no sales, just us, committed to see this thing through, and whatever lies ahead. Our adventure awaits.

Kate Leavell is a high school varsity and youth girls' lacrosse coach now living in Minneapolis, Minn. A US Lacrosse Coaches Education Program trainer, she is the author of the Coaches Emergency Practice Guide. Read more of her thoughts at kateleavell.com and follow her on Twitter: @kateleavell