Tag: coaching your own kid

Picking up the Trash

Heard a really cool story this week. One of my son’s best friends’ cousin is lacrosse player in another state. He is a rising senior, and while quite talented, wasn’t on a lot of D1 radars for lacrosse. Then, after a few fabulous outings at some national lacrosse tournaments, the interest level started quickly rising.

Not that unique of a story at this point, athlete does well and gets some opportunities.

But what happened next is where this story gets really interesting.

This young man got a call from the head coach of one of the top college powerhouse lacrosse programs, some would argue THE top program.

The coach requested the young man and his parents come that weekend for a visit and meeting. They did.

And this story is what still gives me goosebumps: The coach began the meeting with this:

“We saw you play last weekend and were impressed. So we came down to the field after your last game and looked for you. We found your teammates. They were hanging out, taking off their pads, having a good time. But we couldn’t find you. We looked and looked, but to no avail. Then finally we saw you. You were over in the team tent. Picking up trash, cups, and cleaning up. In that moment you went from an average recruiting target of ours, to THE top target. You see, lacrosse is a sport generally consumed with young men who are entitled, selfish, and uncoachable. But what we have found is that recruiting players who will pick up the trash helps us build a culture that wins championships.”

Gives you goosebumps, right?

And as a sidenote – can you guess what 2 books this coach recommended as summer reading for this young man?

Not surprising at all – Legacy by James Kerr, and The Hard Hat by Jon Gordon.

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WYC 152 – Your Coaching Purpose vs Your Coaching Goals – Scott Hearon

Scott Hearon is a native Nashvillian and a 2006  graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy where he played football and basketball for the Big Red. A remarkably average athlete, Scott did not make a big impact in the high school stat columns, but he found his niche as a gifted leader and communicator among his teammates and coaches. Scott continued on to Baylor University and earned a degree in Communications and a minor in Business. While at Baylor, he met new football coach, Art Briles, during football tryouts when Coach Briles informed him that his 5.0 second 40 yard dash time was not quite good enough to be a slot receiver for the Bears.

After returning from Texas, Scott took a ministry job working with high school students and their families and coaching in his spare time. He found a lot of success in his day job, but found his coaching to be a disaster. Reminded of the incredible potential athletics has to prepare players for life, Scott set out on a mission to be be a more full hearted leader himself and to develop opportunities to help other coaches do the same. This journey led Scott to co-found the Nashville Coaching Coalition in 2015 and begin as the Executive Director full-time in 2016 with the goal of fully leveraging the human growth potential of sport in Nashville.

Previous episode with Scott:

WYC Episode 106

 

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link

The good and bad of sports coaches

  • Many kids validate themselves based on what coaches say to them and how they treat them

The lost dream of being an all-state player

  • When Scott realized he wasn’t going to be an all-state player, he could feel the disappointment from his father. He and his father realized this wasn’t healthy, so they ended up reaching out to Joe Erhmann to learn what being a man is really all about.

The 8 Feelings

  • Dr. Chip Dodd has researched emotional intelligence – and come up with 8 core emotions that every human has. We have the ability to choose a positive or a negative response to each emotion. The 8 core emotions are:
  • 1 – Hurt
  • 2 – Lonely
  • 3 – Sad
  • 4 – Anger
  • 5 – Fear
  • 6 – Shame
  • 7 – Guilt
  • 8 – Glad

Why do you coach?

  • To win a championship?

or

  • To build strong children?
  • Difference in goal vs purpose:
    • Purpose is about the big picture (to love kids)
    • Goal is the short-term focus of the team (to win a championship)

Meetings with parents

  • Always have the players present
  • Always start every conversation with your purpose statement
  • Over-communicate your vision

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WYC 151 – The Circle of Intentional Influence – James Leath

James is the Founder of Unleash the Athlete and former Head of Leadership and Character Development at IMG Academy. He helps college, professional athletes, and business professionals develop the mental and relational side of their craft through interactive lectures and teambuilding activities. James is also the director of performance for Complexity, the esports organization owned by the Dallas Cowboys.
Instagram: jamesleath
twitter: @jamesleath

Previous episodes with James:

WYC Episode 31

WYC Episode 50

WYC Episode 61

WYC Episode 100

 

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link

Don’t sell yourself short

  • James was going to apply for an internship at IMG, his mentor told him to go for the full-time job
  • Do you ever sell yourself short, thinking you’re unqualified?

I’ve arrived – the destination of a championship

  • ‘I wished I would’ve enjoyed the journey more’
  • ‘Who am I now? I’ve always been the person going after this’

The Circle of Intentional Influence

  • Influence -> Relationship
  • Relationship -> Trust
  • Trust -> Authenticity
  • Authenticity -> Ownership
  • Ownership -> Credibility
  • Credibility -> Influence

How to Communicate Effectively

  • Take your sunglasses off
  • Take a knee
  • Take note of what’s behind you (the sun, the cheerleaders)
  • Take 2 minutes or less

Unleash the Athlete

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WYC 150 – Youth Baseball – Donny Murray talks Overspeed Training

Donny Murray is currently a professional pitcher in the independent Frontier League. Donny is from Boston, was a 4 year starter at D1 Holy Cross, and also pitched 2 summers in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Falmouth Commodores. In 2016, Donny pitched the first no-hitter in USPBL (professional independent league) history. He also works with SuperSpeed Slugger, which is a bat speed training product being used by MLB teams and youth players of all ages. The WYC listeners can get 10% off SuperSpeed Slugger by using promo code “WYC”.

 

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link

Making Cuts

  • Always try to look at potential, and a huge factor is attitude and if they are coachable

Adjusting when losing talent

  • Be pre-emptive with your culture to get your players/coaches focused on the right things if the winning is going to drop off
  • It’s even more important to develop your leaders when winning is going to be tough. A leadership council of 2 kids per grade can help prepare your younger leaders for when they are future captains.
  • 2 types of captain:
  • 1 – Vocal leader
  • 2 – The hard-worker who just gets it done

Using video

  • Using video analysis is a great tool for a player and/or a coach

Teaching Skills

  • Take the time to evaluate a player before you start giving advice. Don’t watch them for 1 rep and start changing things.
  • Then start with the fundamentals and get their foundation right.
  • Individualize your feedback!

The One that Got Away

  • Donny’s last collegiate game – he just wasn’t ‘on.’ It made him work that much harder to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Best Stolen/Borrowed Idea

  • Make every practice drill a competition

SuperSpeed Slugger

  • Overspeed training – a set of 3 bats. 1 is 20% lighter, 1 is 10% lighter, and 1 is 5% heavier
  • Swing with both sides of the body (not just dominant hand). Great for injury prevention
  • Teaches the body to swing faster.
  • Within 6 weeks it’s engrained in the body.
  • Only takes 7-8 minutes per day, 3 days per week
  • SuperSpeedSlugger.com
  • The WYC listeners can get 10% off SuperSpeed Slugger by using promo code “WYC”.

Parting Advice

  • Players and parents notice how much effort you put it to your coaching, and they will play harder for you if they think you are putting in the effort

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‘You should be angry’

As a follow-up to my previous note on our Season-Ending Awards Banquet

I left the players with a final challenge, specifically talking to everyone who didn’t win an award or hear their name called.

I asked them: “If you didn’t win an award or hear your name called tonight – are you upset? Hurt? Angry?”

And then I challenged them with this:

“You should be upset. Angry. Did you know anger is one of 8 core emotions that make you human?

But do you know you have 2 choices with what to do with each of those core emotions? 1 is a positive choice that will improve your life, and 1 is a negative choice that will make your life worse.

Specifically with anger, here are your 2 choices:

1 – Negative choice: Self-pity and depression. You can sit around and feel sorry for yourself and fall into depression.

2 – Positive choice: Passion. You can choose to let your anger today to fuel a passion. A fire to have better results next time you are in this position.

I hope you choose the positive choice. Picture yourself sitting here next year. What’s it going to take to hear your name read? If you need help with understanding that, I’d love to give you feedback on how you can make that happen. Then go make it happen, live the next year with passion to be great and win.”

I hope you are living your life with passion. To be great. To win. It’s easy to fall into self-pity, so take action every day to stay focused on the bigger prize. Make winning your habit starting today!

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Coolest Awards Banquet. Ever.

Just got done with our post-season banquet.

Best one.

Ever.

A huge shout-out to Scott Rosberg from Great Resources for Coaches. I interviewed him back on WYC Podcast Episode 75, and he shared this awesome idea:

Don’t have a bunch of awards based on talent-level. (Offensive MVP, Defensive MVP, Most Goals, etc.)

Instead, base your awards on things 100% controllable by the players.

I know, doesn’t seem like rocket-science, but why did I never do this before?

We did it, and it was awesome. Here are the categories we came up with:

  • Positive Energy
  • Hardest Worker
  • Best Teammate
  • Field general (best communicator on the field)
  • Do the dirty work
  • Hardest working rookie
  • Leave the jersey in a better place

These were all voted on by the players.

Then we had 1 Coach’s Award, chosen by the coaches, utilizing the criteria above.

And we had 2 MVP awards, which were voted on by the players.

So we ended up with 10 awards for 33 players.

The one other thing we did was read all of the names who received votes for each category. That way kids(and their parents) could hear their name, even if they weren’t walking away with an award.

I left the players with a final challenge, specifically talking to everyone who didn’t win an award or hear their name called… Insert cliffhanger here… I’ll share the details of that in next week’s post.

 

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WYC 149 – Athletes with special needs – Amanda Selogie & Vickie Brett talk leveling the playing field

Amanda and Vickie practice Special Education law in Southern California. They also run a non-profit called Inclusive Education Project where they aim to level the playing field in academic settings for students living with disabilities. They co-host their own weekly podcast by the same name – the Inclusive Education Project Podcast and they feature conversations on how parents and teachers can best ensure an inclusive school environment.

Website: http:www.iepcalifornia.org
Podcast: Inclusive Education Project Podcast:  www.iepcalifornia.org/blog

Facebook: /IEPcalifornia

Twitter: @IEPcalifornia

 

Listen Now:

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A different approach

  • Kids learn differently – kids with special needs might need things slowed down, show visually, or some other approach
  • Utilize the parents – they have lots of techniques that work well with their child
  • Peer role models and buddy systems work great, and benefit not only the kid with special needs but equally (if not more) it benefits the peer role model
  • Positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative reinforcement. Catch them doing something right

Breaking down skills into small pieces

  • The steps: Hearing what you’re being asked to do, then seeing what you need to do, then physically doing it. Sometimes actually taking their arm or leg and doing the motion for them.

Handling emotions with kids with special needs

  • Address it, don’t hide from it. Handle it the same as you would with any kid who gets upset – address it, teach them what is acceptable. Then re-focus them.
  • The parents are a great resource to get ideas

Reach out to the school to get more inclusive

  • P.E. teachers, school administrators could recommend a few kids that could be good candidates to join your team

Favorite Quotes

  • Quote: ‘Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose’ – Friday Night Lights
  • Quote: ‘All of us do not have equal talents. But all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.’ – JFK

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WYC 148 – Youth Soccer – John Adair talks Constraints-based Coaching

2018 will mark John Adair’s fourth year at Coerver Coaching. Adair is the Regional Director for all of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, overseeing player development and coaching education. Prior to joining the Coerver Coaching staff, he has enjoyed success at both the club and high school levels in the South Jersey area.

Instagram: coachjohnadair
Twitter: @coachjohnadair

 

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

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Cringe moment

  • Early on John did a lot of cone drills and isolated movements without decision-making and learning the game through their own mistakes

Creativity and problem-solving

  • Instead of cones, set up small area games in confined spaces. 2 v 1’s. 3 v 2’s.

Training better individuals vs just winning as a team

  • Instead of 11 v 11, break the game into corridors and small area games
  • Use this mentality to create mini-goals so each unit has accountability and measurements to look at after games, not just wins/losses as a team

Constraints based coaching

  • Create games where players have a variety of choices, they learn skills while making decisions

Self-confidence for players

  • Focus on the process – so it’s different for each player. Don’t compare them with other kids. Use guided discovery through side conversations with players for them to uncover solutions to what they need to improve.

Team Culture

  • Involve the kids to get buy-in. Have the kids write down what they thing a good player on this team will do.

Great teambuilder

  • Have play days. The kids run the day, play mini-tournaments. Kids make all the decisions.

5 for 5

  • Spend at least 5 minutes talking to 5 different kids about something other than sports

Connecting with and Impacting Kids

  • John coached a kid who had the physical tools but not the technical and mental tools needed. The kid approached John and worked his butt off over the summer and went on to play college soccer.

The one that got away

  • Coaching a state playoff game, they played the underdog role too much, changed their tactics too much, and went away from what got them there. This led to a lack of confidence.

Best learned/stolen idea

  • Constraints based coaching. Make everything in practice relate back to the game and involve decision-making. Don’t be reactive in practice-planning – set objectives and have a plan that you stick to.
  • Great resource: Youtube channel: Opposite Direction Coaching – Task constraints; Environmental constraints

Favorite Quote/Book

  • Quote: ‘If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room’
  • Book: Leading by Sir Alex Ferguson

Parting Advice

  • Value the experience over winning, and the results will follow

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5 Simple Questions (to ask your coaches)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”​
– George Bernard Shaw
Coaching staffs all have disagreements. They should. You have smart people with different solutions to common problems.

But how often do we discuss these ‘elephants in the room’?

We are 3/4 of the way through our lacrosse season, and we had some unresolved elephants in the room.

So we had a a coaching meeting last week, and I asked these 5 questions to start the dialogue:

  1. List 2 things going well with our team
  2. List 2 things we could do better as a team
  3. List 2 things I am doing well to support you as an assistant coach
  4. List 2 things I could do better to support you as an assistant coach
  5. List 2 elephants in the room – some dynamic that is going on with our team or coaching staff, that everyone knows about, but no one is talking about

A powerful, honest conversation ensued. No one’s feelings were hurt, and as the head coach I got great feedback and we implemented a few tweaks that will powerfully change the direction of the remainder of our season.

Build trust, be open and honest, and value everyone and your team’s dynamics will be infinitely improved.

Make winning your habit starting today!
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WYC 147 – Thriving On & Off the Field – Tywanna Smith talks Preparing for Transitions

Tywanna Smith, President & Founder of The Athlete’s NeXus, has several years of experience working with professional athletes in a financial and business capacity. Smith earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Marketing and her Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). She was also a four-year starter for the SEC program’s women’s basketball team, eventually taking her talents to Europe for a 2-year professional career.

As a Registered Financial Representative, Entrepreneur, and Best-Selling Author of Surviving the Lights: A Professional Athlete’s Playbook to Avoiding the Curse, Tywanna takes pride in her business professionalism and integrity. She is committed to helping each professional athlete become a better citizen, a better role model, and a better businessman.

Website: theathletesnexus.com

Book: Surviving the Lights

Facebook: /TheAthletesNeXus

 

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

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Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link

Transition

  • Athletes are always preparing for the next transition, on and off the field
  • Tywanna tore her ACL her junior year of high school – she used this as fuel when people starting to write her off.

The importance of education

  • Even if a student athlete’s priority is to play college athletics, their grades will be extremely important in determining what opportunities they will be afforded

Off the field keys

  • Grades
  • Social media – future coaches, employers – will look over your entire history of social media posts

Mental toughness

  • It comes from the top down. The coach’s energy and confidence in the players is very contagious.
  • Tough practices teach athletes how to deal with adversity, and they want competition
  • Visualization – Have the athletes close their eyes and visualize favorable results

Surviving the Lights

Connecting with and Impacting Kids

  • An athlete trying to play professionally was struggling to make in into the pros.
  • Tywanna worked with him to re-center – and reaffirm him what his gifts were and that he had great talents off the sports field

The one that got away

  • The day Tywanna tore her ACL her junior year, and her team was poised to win the state championship
  • But she says it was the best day in her life because it gave her the perspective on life that there’s more to life than sports

Best learned/stolen idea

  • The balance between sports and life. Tywanna’s college coach, when she walked out of practice was done with sports and focused on life off the court

Favorite quote

  • ‘If you stay ready, you never have to get ready’

Parting Advice

  • Take the edge off a little bit, it’s just a game.

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WYC 146 – Youth Sports – Ben Kissam talks having a Four Quarter Mentality

Ben Kissam is a youth sports coach and writer in Denver, CO. Ben’s areas of expertise are in relationship-based coaching and teaching, effective communication, and fusing lessons in sport and entrepreneurship.

Website & podcast: thecoachkshow.com

Facebook: /thecoachkshow/

Twitter: @thecoachkshow

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link

Coaching role models

  • Ben had 2 examples from his athletic career – 1 very positive and 1 very negative. He learned from both

Cringe moment

  • His attitude towards the kids – he thought they should just always do what he says. The lesson learned was to focus on getting buy-in instead of just mandating what should be done.

Practice format

  • Routines help. Teach them to run their own warm-ups.
  • Lots of reps, but get creative in making it competitive. It’s also very important to start with the basics when explaining a skill and continue to reinforce what good looks like.

Good practice games

  • The gauntlet – Set up a 10 yard tunnel, and kids go 1 on 1 in it
  • Odd man situations – 3 on 2

Self-confidence

  • Teaching a growth mindset is key. Every failure is a step on the journey to success and it is a necessary part of learning.
  • Be a relationships-based coach. Focus on having as many 1 on 1 conversations with your kids as possible.

Captains

  • It’s important to have a right-hand man. They can also help with communication – group texts, etc.

Four Quarter mentality culture

  • Setting up a practice plan that builds up the intensity throughout and emphasize finishing strong

Best team builder

  • Eating together. Pasta nights.

Connecting with kids

  • A goalie who Ben coached lacked confidence, and after working with him for 3 years he sees a totally different kid who now is confident

Favorite quote

  • ‘Athletes don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’

The one that got away

  • Ben coached a team of super talented, super knowledgeable kids.
  • They rolled through the regular season, and played a way lower ranked team in the first round of the playoffs, and lost.

Best Stolen Idea

  • Have a sense of urgency in practice. Create a long-term vision but create a sense of immediate urgency of the importance of every drill and everything you do in practice.

Favorite book

Parting Advice

  • Know one thing about each of your kids that has nothing to do with the sport, and check in with them about it.

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WYC 145 – College Recruitment – Carter Armendarez talks college recruitment do’s and don’ts

Carter Armendarez is a senior at Wesleyan University, where he’s also captain of the wrestling team. Getting recruited to play sports in college is confusing to lots of athletes, but it really shouldn’t be. Carter has seen too many athletes fail to get recruited. So he made Acute Recruit’s College Recruitment Guide for Athletes so that doesn’t happen anymore.

Website: acuterecruit.com

Facebook: /Acute-Recruit-369368080173002/

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link

The best coaches…

  • Believed in me
  • Had me focus on becoming an expert in one skill vs trying to be OK at everything

Getting Recruited to college

  • The most overlooked area is grades
  • Start early
  • Coaches want to hear from the athlete, not their parents
  • Start a website to have as a landing page to share with coaches. Include:
    • A page with highlight films
    • An ‘about me’ with your accomplishments and bio
    • A contact page with your contact details and your coach’s contact details

A big opportunity

  • A lot of D3 schools have trouble recruiting quality athletes because their academic standards are too high. This is a great opportunity for athletes who may not have been the highest level elite athlete in high school.

Contacting Coaches

  • Meet them in person at tournaments
  • Research schools you want to pursue and look up the coaches online

The one that got away

  • Carter lost by one point his senior year on the match to qualify for state
  • What he learned: He learned to play to his strengths

Best Stolen Idea

  • Quote from Tim Ferris when he asked an professional skier what the most important turns are on the run: ‘The most important turns are the 3 years I spent preparing before the run.’

Parting Advice

  • Focus on the basics
  • Keep it fun!

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WYC 144 – The “Owner’s Manual” for parents – Michael Richards talks Your Student Athlete: Must Do, Should Do, and Don’t

Michael Richards is the Owner and Operator of Elite Athletic Performance in Benton, Arkansas. After missing out on an opportunity to play collegiate baseball due to what he describes as  “Youthful ignorance and a slightly bad attitude”, Michael began playing semi-pro baseball and attending his sophomore year of college. Shortly thereafter he began training fitness clients and young athletes as a sole proprietor. What started as a fun way to “Not get a real job” and make extra money in college, has turned into 16 years and approximately 30,000 hours of “in the trenches” training experience.

Today he strives every day to help kids be the best athlete and person they can be. A particular love for Velocity and Accuracy training for baseball and softball pitchers has led to a number of 90+ MPH clients, professional and collegiate coaching contacts, and a burning desire to learn new information whenever possible.

Website: eaperformancellc.com

Book : Your Student Athlete: Should Do, Must Do, and Don’t: The “Owner’s Manual” for parents to maximize their kid’s time, help them perform better, and avoid injury

Facebook: /eliteathleticperformancellc/

Twitter: @EAPerform

Listen Now:

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Grades and attitude as a high schooler

  • Michael had the athletic ability to play baseball beyond high school, but his attitude and his grades prevented him from that opportunity

Myths around youth sports

  • 1 – Pitchers running day after pitching to flush the lactic acid buildup. J-bands (Jaeger bands) or massaging the muscles makes way more sense.
  • 2 – Everyone needs to be hyper-flexible. Some people just aren’t very flexible, and while some stretching can add a bit of flexibility, there are other things such as massage rollers and dynamic stretches that are much more beneficial.

Multi-sport athletes

  •  If kids love multiple sports, they should play them. But the belief that you must be a multi-sport athlete to be recruited to college is not always true. Especially in your junior and senior years –  Don’t play a 2nd sport just to do it if you don’t love it.

Travel ball and showcases

  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the most efficient use of time is travel teams and showcases. Private lessons are often a much more time and cost efficient. And the lessons don’t need to be year-round.

Favorite books/quotes

  • Book – Start with why by Simon Sinek
  • Quote – ‘If I had asked my customers what they needed they would have told me a faster horse.’ – Henry Ford

Parting Advice

  • Keep it simple and make sure they’re having fun

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WYC 143 – Performance Anxiety – Kathy Feinstein talks Developing a Growth Mindset

Kathy Feinstein is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Sport Performance Consultant (CMPC). Since 1998 her unique practice has empowered adolescents, adults, couples, families and teams to achieve greater satisfaction in sport, health and life. Kathy’s practice focuses on the 3 key areas: counseling, sport performance psychology and education through seminars and workshops. Kathy works with youth, high school, collegiate, adult amateur and professional athletes in such sports as golf, tennis, hockey, volleyball, basketball, figure skating, cheerleading, track and field, swimming and cycling. In addition to sport and exercise psychology consulting, she also offers team and coach consulting.

Website: kafcounselingandsportperformance.com

Podcast: Parenting Peak Performers Podcast

Facebook: /kafcounselingandconsulting/

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Being a crazy sports parent

  • Kathy got really excited about her daughter riding horses, but she lost sight of doing what’s best for her daughter

Performance Anxiety

  • The first step is to normalize the need – kids need to know that performance anxiety is very normal

The importance of breathing

  • Anxiety is all about the future. What if…
  • Breathing is all about the present.
  • If you can do this 20 minutes per day, it changes your mindset
  • When you inhale, there will be a cool sensation at the tip of your nostrils. When you exhale, there is a warm sensation at the tip of your nostrils.
  • When you do this, you will start having some thoughts. Without any judgement, bring your focus back to the breath. Do this over and over again.
  • Do this for 5 minutes with your team, your coaches, your players, etc.

Recovery routines

  • Having a discharge routine – if you are upset about something, have a quick discharge routine to flush away the past. Then have a different re-focus routine that gets you back in the moment and focused on the future.

Growth Mindset

  • Encourage kids to take risks, risk making mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity to get better.

Confidence inventory

  • Have kids make a list of all of their accomplishments. Then have them read it before a performance.

Post-competition routine

  • After routines, write down what you did well, then add 1 or 2 things you want to do better next time

Visualization

  • You have to train how to visualize: Have the athlete do a simple activity (touch your toes and and jump in the air.) Then have them close their eyes and visualize doing that same activity.
  • The more vivid the visualization is, the more effective it is. Try to involve as many senses as possible
  • Visualization exercise:  Imagery Exercise – KAF

The one that got away

  • Kathy had a presentation that went bad and she got stuck. She learned a new way to prepare for presentations, where she focuses on the audience and their needs.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • The post-performance routine
  • Well-better-next

Favorite Quotes/books

  • Quote: ‘What is before us and what is behind us are small matters compared to what’s within us’ – Emerson
  • Book: The Champions Mind by Jim Afremow
  • Book: Getting Grit by Caroline Adams Miller

Parting Advice

  • Ask kids about what mistakes they made today – and be excited about them and celebrate them

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The Ultimate Guide to Sharing Tryout Results – Guest post from TeamGenius

The Ultimate Guide to Sharing Tryout Results

For youth sports coaches and league directors, the hardest part of tryouts may not be the evaluation sessions themselves – instead, it can often be communicating the results to the athletes and their parents.

Having kids involved in youth athletics can bring many positives to their lives. It keeps children active, builds teamwork and social skills, teaches determination and perseverance, and allows kids to see the benefits of hard work.

These are positives coaches and directors want to be involved with and want to watch young athletes partake in.

Unfortunately, youth sports can also teach other lessons, like how to cope with the disappointment of not making a team, and dealing with the reality that they weren’t skilled enough to be on the squad they wanted to join. These are hard life lessons that can come at young age for youth athletes.

For these reasons, it’s important for coaches and league directors to communicate tryout results properly to kids and their parents and should be included on any tryout prep checklist.

What to do

It’s important for youth sports coaches and directors to start communication early with parents and players so there are no surprises at the end of tryouts. Entering evaluation sessions, parents and players should be informed as to the number of teams that will be formed, how many athletes will make the squads, and what the options will be for the players who are cut.

To accomplish this, leagues should send out communications to parents far in advance of tryouts (even as early as 1-3 months before the evaluation sessions). This email or letter can include information about registration, the tryouts format, and any potential cuts.

On the day of evaluations, coaches or the league director should address the parents in person to ensure everyone knows the format and expectations for the day. Information as to how many players will make the team can be shared at this time.

After the tryout sessions the directors will need to determine how and when to communicate results to all athletes. Those who did not make the team will need to be notified and given options as to what other teams or leagues they can join, or how they can improve for next year. For those who made the squad, they will need key information like schedules and equipment requirements, and any pre-season meetings they will be expected to attend.

How to do it

While it can be pre-planned for when coaches and directors should address parents and athletes about tryouts, it can be much more difficult to determine how to relay the results. While each league may choose to convey the evaluation outcomes differently, here are some suggestions to consider:

Keep it private: For some leagues, the most convenient way to reveal tryouts results is by posting a roster to their league website. This is a quick and easy option, so it can be appealing. However, leagues need to make sure to protect players’ privacy when using this method. Posting players’ tryouts numbers instead of their names is one way to avoid sharing who made which team.

Make it personal: The Springfield (Ill.) Area Soccer Association (SASA) used to post tryout results on their website, but they’ve recently opted for other methods.

“I feel the best way to communicate results is an individual email to parents,” Andrew Lenhardt, the Director of Coaching at SASA, said.

Lenhardt feels that sending individual emails to parents allows the league to send a personal note to the player and discuss their individual scores and placement.

Another way to communicate results is to have a one-on-one conversation with each player, or make a phone call to each competitor. According to Dr. Justin Anderson, a sports psychologist at Premier Sport Psychology, this is the best way to share the news with youth players.

According to Anderson, this allows coaches and directors to be honest with the athletes and give individual feedback.

“Be authentic. Share reasons why (they didn’t make the team). Allow it to be a growth opportunity. Give them things to work on,” Anderson said.

Be available: No matter how the results are communicated to players, it’s important for the coaches and directors to be available to answer questions from athletes and their parents after the teams are announced.

Players will likely have questions as to why they were placed on a specific team, or why they didn’t make a squad, and want to hear directly from those who determined the rosters.

Who to tell

While the method of revealing tryouts results is difficult to determine, leagues also need to decide who they will communicate the results to – the parents or the athletes, or both.

This can depend largely on the age of the players. For young athletes, the news will likely come better from a parent, initially. Then coaches and directors should be available to answer any questions from the player later.

For middle school and high school athletes, results should be conveyed to the players themselves. They are old enough to be able to hear what they need to work on and what it will take to make the team the following year.

There is no perfect way to tell a young athlete he or she did not make a team. However, by keeping the child’s feelings and development in mind, and planning out how to communicate the outcomes, tryouts results can be better received.

Author: Chris Knutson

Bio: Chris Knutson is co-founder of TeamGenius, a leading player evaluation software that helps youth sports organizations by streamlining tryouts and player evaluations. 

 

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WYC 142 – Physical Literacy – Steve Boyle talks living life as a Walk-on

Steve and his wife Kerry started their first camp in 2008, and only 4 summers later, the camp was declared “Best Summer Camp” in Hartford Magazine’s Readers Poll and their programs have received tremendous positive coverage from area media outlets. Now over 1000 kids have come to recognize that “Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport” and kids from throughout the U.S. and beyond are attending their programs.

Website: 241Sports.com

Facebook: /241SportsLLC

Twitter: @241Sports

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Walking-on to his college basketball team

  • Steve was probably the 4th best player on his high school basketball team. He approached his coach and said he thought he could play D1 basketball. His coach did everything but laugh at him.
  • That fueled him to go on and start for his D1 team in college
  • He now takes pride in living life as a ‘walk-on.’ Trying things he has no experience with and taking risks.
  • Lesson for coaches: Be careful about ever telling a kid ‘this just isn’t your sport’- you never know when someone will be a late-bloomer or just outwork the others.

Physical Literacy and Project Play

2-4-1 Sports

  • Camps that promote sport sampling
  • Now in Connecticut, Denver, and 2 more locations coming soon

Recent great books read

Parting Advice

  • Be as genuine and honest as you can with your athletes. Value being trusted over being liked.

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Dang. I saved our lacrosse team $7600

I was just doing some math – and realized I saved our lacrosse team $7600 in uniform costs by doing a little homework.
Our county has a ‘deal’ with one of the big sports apparel companies. As a club sport, we have the benefit of getting the same 40% discount, but we don’t have to use that company.
So I priced out getting our uniforms with that discount. For 44 sets of uniforms, which included 2 pairs of shorts and 2 jerseys, the price was $10,400.
That was a tough hit for our parents, so I did some research. What I ended up with was awesome uniforms from a brand name – total cost: $2,800.
​​​​​​​That savings of nearly $175 per player was huge for our program, considering parents were already paying close to $700 to play a club sport.
I know most of us coaches don’t have time to do this kind of research and just end up ordering whatever is suggested. 
But what I did is pretty easily repeatable, and if you or a team manager have a few minutes, you could save your program a boatload of cash.
I’m would love to share these ideas – if you want more info – just click below, which will send me an email and I’ll share the goods.

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WYC 141 – Youth Sports – Jenn Casey talks Fun in Movement & Crossfit Kids

Jenn Casey is the Program Director for CrossFit Kids and Swing Fit (a Kettlebell Sport class) at CrossFit Kennesaw in Marietta, Georgia. She is the President and Co-Founder of Georgia Kettlebell Sport, which has the mission to develop and promote Kettlebell Sport in the state of Georgia and the greater Southeast Region of the US. She is developing a youth-focused Kettlebell Sport program and is taking her youth team on their first road trip in December 2017. Jenn is an active Kettlebell Sport athlete and in 2017 was chosen to participate in the IUKL World Championship in Seoul, South Korea as part of Team USA where she placed 4th in 16kg One Arm Long Cycle.

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Quitting at age 13, because it wasn’t fun anymore

  • Jenn was on the team track in gymnastics, but by age 12 or 13 she quit because it wasn’t fun anymore. Then she didn’t do much of any athletic activity for 2 decades.
  • At age 39 she jumped into Crossfit

Kettlebell

  • Look like a cannonball with a handle
  • You can use them for hip-hinge movements, but they also can be great for cardio
  • The competitive side of the sport involves Kettlebell overhead lifts
  • The competitive side involves how many overhead lifts you can do in 10 minutes

Keeping the fun in movement

  • Give kids lots of opportunities for success and catch them doing things right
  • Ask lots of question – ‘where do I put my feet in a squat?’, etc.
  • Definitely praise when they self-correct
  • Rep / No-rep – Coach does a rep, some correctly and some incorrectly, then the kids call out whether that was a good rep or a no-rep.

Good analogies

  • ‘Glue your feet to the ground. Pretend you have concrete blocks on your feet’
  • ‘Your knees don’t like each other’
  • ‘Pretend you are lifting an elephant over your head’

Mental toughness

  • Jenn was a kid who was good in practice, then would freeze up in competition/tryouts
  • Breathing is key to keep your heart rate steady
  • Do practice reps using the same routine you will use in games
  • The Talent Code – by Daniel Coyle
  • Mindset – by Carol Dweck
  • Mastery – by Robert Greene
  • Coaching Better every season – by Wade Gilbert
  • Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Best borrowed/stolen ideas

  • Gamifying deliberate practice

Parting Advice

  • Find the fun in whatever you’re doing.
  • Get the kids involved. Have them help design a practice.

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WYC 140 – Player feedback – Ian Goldberg talks goal setting and the feedback loop

Ian Goldberg is the Founder and CEO of iSport360, Inc. a SportsTech venture that helps youth sport coaches and parents share objective player feedback. As a sport parent and coach, Ian has witnessed the chaos on the sidelines and in the bleachers when coaches’ and parents’ expectations are not aligned….and the kids suffer.  His company has developed a solution to the pain in the form of an app and an informative (and frequently humorous) newsletter “The Chaotic World of Youth Sports”.

Website: isport360.com
Facebook: /isport360/
Twitter: @isport360

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The feedback loop

  • Ongoing feedback is way more effective than end-of-the-year feedback
  • Regular feedback is important, but can be time-consuming. Ideally coaches should be able to spend a few minutes and quickly evaluate and provide feedback to all players

Objective goals

  • It’s easy to just look at how many points/goals players score, but most coaches are trying to evaluate many things beyond just scoring. The key is to define measurable objectives of what you are trying to improve in players.

Empowering kids

  • Ideally kids should be able to:
    • Talk to the coaches themselves
    • Set their own goals

What happens in a parents’ brain when watching their kids play sports

  • Fight or flight mode – Parents’ stress levels and cortisol levels are skyrocketing when being on the sideline watching their kids

Parents are either part of your process or part of your problem

  • Involve them – they want to know what’s going on, regardless of age
  • A good way to base how much parents are involved – how much money they are spending. So for cheap low-level rec sports, not as much. For high-level travel teams costing thousands of dollars – the parents should be communicated with more.

iSport360 – The feedback loop

  • Mobile app – Coaches can work with players to set goals at beginning of season and allows the coach to provide feedback
  • Parents can also send other players on the team positive emojis
  • Weekly newsletter with funny stories

Best Stolen Idea

  • Barbara Corcoran from the Shark Tank: ‘To be successful, you have to have a certain level of stupidity, so that when you keep getting knocked down, you continuously get back up, expecting better results.’

Parting Advice

  • Don’t let sports take over your life. Enjoy it and keep it in perspective.

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WYC 139 – Practice design – Coach Kav talks competition and how kids learn

Coach Kav owns a sports performance facility called The Sport and Speed Institute. On top of that he runs NFL Combine Programs and All-American Football Camps every year, and just published a #1 bestselling book on Amazon.

Website: coachkav.com
Instagram: @CoachKav

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How kids learn

  • Remember what you want them to work on is what they are most insecure about, so be strategic about how you approach it

Trust

  • The key is building trust, the kids will know when you don’t truly have their best interest in mind

Practice design

  • Teach and deconstruct a skill
  • Compete. There needs to be a winner and a loser. Positive conditioning- the winners get to do additional workouts. But at the youth level, this takes the right situation
  • Make sure you’re not just teaching a skill and doing a drill for 10 minutes – you have to keep reinforcing what you teach continuously throughout that practice and throughout the season
  • Try not to use the term ‘suicides’ for running. Powerful word that should not be used in this context.

Auditory reactionary drill

  • Two lines in a relay race – have multiple cones – you stand behind them and call which cone they have to go around (#1,2,or 3). This also helps you balance the teams so you don’t have to worry about evening up the teams.
  • Also can reward the team that has better team spirit

Good practice games

  • Tic tac toe – 2 teams – throw cones/pinnies in a square
  • Tag – great competition/conditioning game with lots of cutting. You can add a cognitive element – give everyone a number – then use math to call out the numbers of who is ‘it’

4 things every parent can do with their kid to prepare them for life:

  1. Read
  2. Learn a 2nd language
  3. Play an instrument
  4. Play a team sport

Favorite books/quotes

Man up – The book

  • The 5 areas of focus to guarantee your athletic success
  • BALLS – Balance, Accountability, Lust (your drive), Sacrifice
  • Link: Man up

Parting Advice

  • Remember all kids you coach are telling others about you – so treat them all with respect

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WYC 138 – Leadership – John Moyer talks Overfunctioning Leadership

John Moyer is a current teacher at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, where he has taught since 1990.  John is certified coach in Resilient Leadership, based in the Washington DC area.  John currently is employed by the Stow City School District as their District Leadership Coach, where he helps teachers, coaches and administrators become more effective leaders.

Podcast: iTunes link
Facebook: /theofpodcast/
Youtube: youtube link

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Every system(or team) desires 5 things: SCARF

  • Status
  • Certainty – This takes time for a newer coach.
  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness
  • Fairness

Good places to start

  • Read books
  • Attend conferences, talk to other coaches

Critical thinking in the stress of a game

  • If you have established your guiding principles, it greatly increases your ability to calmly think through and stay focused on what’s important

Overfunctioning=Underfunctioning

  • When one overfunctions, there is a reciprocal reaction of underfunctioning
  • The best balance for a coach is to be there to be a calm presence in a storm, but not overreact to negative situations that will occur in every game

A child-focused society

  • If a parent over-focuses on their children, the child is worse off
  • As a coach- do your coaching well, but think less about it.
  • Game theory – There is a fear our kid/team will get behind if someone else practices more or plays on more travel teams.
  • A 2 person relationship is inherently unstable. For parents – it is far easier for them to talk about their kids than it it is to talk about their own relationship.

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • John works with kids to help them start establishing who they are and identifying their self

The One that Got Away

  • In John’s senior year, he played against a tackle that went on to be an all-pro center. John got worked over pretty bad by this guy, but he learned resilience and knew to focus on process over outcome.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Relentlessly eradicate hurry from your life

Favorite books/quotes

Parting Advice

  • Smile a lot.
  • Be organized.

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WYC 137 – Youth Baseball – Jack Perconte talks Creating a Season to Remember

Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth and their parents through the complicated world of youth sports. Combining his playing, coaching and parenting experiences he continues to help create better sporting experiences for both athletes and their parents. He has authored multiple books, including his most recent, Creating a Season to Remember.

Website/Book: baseballcoaching.tips
Twitter: @Jackperconte

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Cringe Moments

  • Early on Jack was bothered by the ‘know-it-all’ kids, but over the years he has learned to stick with them and they can become some of your best supporters

Teaching skills

  • Start with talking with the kids about their individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Set up short-term and long-term plans with them
  • Utilize multiple stations with small groups to keep everyone

Achieving peak performance mentally

  • Confidence comes and goes, it’s the coaches job to keep stay optimistic. Good things happen in the players’ heads when you have confidence in them and let them know you believe in them.
  • Confidence comes from perfecting the fundamentals

Attitude

  • When Jack was playing in the Dodgers organization, the Dodgers came down to watch a couple players  in the minor leagues. One player was on fire, and the other was struggling. A few weeks later they called up the player who was struggling. They said it was because they were so impressed with the attitude of the player while he was struggling.

Parents

  • It’s critical to have a meeting with the parents before the season and explain your philosophies on playing time, strategies, etc.
  • Continue that communication with updates to the parents throughout the season

Coaching your own kids

  • Each kid is different. Some embrace learning from their parent, some resist it.

The One that Got Away

  • Jack made the last out of the season in a one game playoff when with the Dodgers
  • Failure is a great motivator to work harder

Favorite books/quotes

  • All books by John Wooden

Baseball coaching 

  • Website/Book: baseballcoaching.tips
  • Creating a Season to Remember – A great A to Z resource for coaching a team
  • Podcast: Something Worth Catching

Parting Advice

  • Stay ahead of the curve. There are so many resources, keep learning.

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The Big 3 (ways to win at sports)

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing.
You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.
Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”​
– Vince Lombardi
I am not a ‘winning’ apologist. It’s in the name of my podcast.
I spend a lot of energy talking about building strong children and developing awesome team cultures.

​​​​​​​That is why winning is important. One of the fundamental cornerstones in building strong children is teaching them to not be satisfied with ‘good enough.’ 
That’s what’s so powerful about competition. It is a measuring stick that provides tangible results on how we are progressing.

The key is defining the end goal. John Wooden defines it like this:
Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
A win, in and of itself, should not define whether you were successful. If you let it, you will become complacent after a win. You shouldn’t. You should continue the striving ‘to become the best you are capable of becoming.’
We discussed this at length in this week’s podcast. Strategies on how to lead your team to perform it’s best.
Lynden Gwartney has studied winning coaches in sports and compared the results with military leaders who have been successful on the battlefield.
Looking at 45 components of successful teams, he narrowed it down to his ‘Big 3.’
  1. Find your opponents weakness and attack it
  2. Stick with what’s working
  3. Find your opponents strength and neutralize it
These are great in-game tactics for a coach to use to give their teams the best chance to perform at a high level and have success in the game. (And dare I say, give their teams the best chance to win?)
Check out the podcast with Lynden here.
Make winning your habit starting today!
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WYC 136 – How to Win at Sports – Lynden Gwartney talks the Science of Winning

Lynden Gwartney is the founder of Mind Of A Champion Sports, and trains athletes and coaches in the principles of winning in sports. He is the author of How to Win at Sports, where through examples from Marine Corps history and analysis of the world’s top athletes and coaches – as well as thirty years of exprience as an athlete and coach – Lynden reveals the concepts that all champions use to gain an advantage over their opponents.

Facebook/podcast: /scienceofwinningpodcast

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Coaching 6 year olds

  • Break every motion into 3 simple steps. Step bend pass, step bend pass.
  • Maximize touches!

Winning – The big 3

  1. Find your opponents weakness and attack it
  2. Stick with what’s working
  3. Find your opponents strength and neutralize it

Find your opponents weakness and attack it

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • What are their tendencies

Stick with what’s working

  • This changes game to game. What’s working TODAY.
  • You have to use statistics to make these decisions. Don’t just go on ‘feel.’

Find your opponents strength and neutralize it

The Science of Winning Podcast & How to Win at Sports book

Parting Advice

  • Focus on the big 3.

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WYC 135 – Coaching Education – Dr. Clayton Kuklick talks Random practice design & the power of analogies

Dr. Clayton Kuklick is a University of Denver Clinical Assistant Professor of Master of Arts in Sports Coaching and a PhD in Athletic Coaching Education. Clayton played college and pro baseball and has coached at all levels from youth through college.

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Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

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Coaching your own kids

  • Make sure to communicate the different roles you will be having with your child – coach vs. parent

Cringe moments

  • Initially Clayton was very structured and controlling. He learned to incorporate different ways to facilitate and teach vs. structure and commands.

Teaching Skills 

  • The difference between learning and performance – Create variation in activities vs. blocked practice design.
  • Dynamic systems theory – Provide a few guidelines, then allow athletes to try different strategies and learn. Small-sided tactical games are a great way to do this.

Mental toughness

  • Routines can reduce stress – Having a pre-bat routine in baseball reduces stress. Practice it. In practices, before they perform a task, have them: Take a deep breath, one positive thought, then we go. A positive thought is best when process related: fast and loose vs. get a hit.

Culture

  • It starts with core values. Keep it tight – have only a couple core values. Then you have to define what behaviors demonstrate those core values.
  • Great analogies to reward behviors –
    • The Sugar Shaker – who made practice sweeter today?
    • The Live Sponge – who learned and applied something new today?

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • Clayton coached a kid who was struggling in school, he had a big presentation coming up – so they used some of the same mental skill approaches they use in athletics to apply to his presentation

The one that got away

  • Clayton played on a team in college that went to the playoffs, and they got pampered and ate a bunch of unhealthy food. They had not educated their players throughout the season about the importance of their diet.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Clayton played with Justin Gordon – and Justin did a great job using analogies

Favorite Quote/Book

Parting Advice

  • Challenge: How can you embed life skills into your practice drills? Decision making, resiliency, social skills.

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WYC 134 – Youth Football – Anthony Stone talks Every Kid Learning 2 things

Anthony Stone is a Physical Education teacher at Gregory Elementary School and Quarterbacks Coach at Boylan High School in Rockford, Ill. He is also the Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach for the 2017 Women’s Australian National Outback Team & writes blogs for “Hudl” & “Firstdown Playbook.”

In July 2016, he was named to the Hudl 100 list. He has presented at IAPHERD, the top physical education convention in Illinois, on how to get students moving with his Games Galore presentations. He has also presented at the Chicago Glazier Clinics on quarterbacks & special teams. He was the Defensive Coordinator for the 2010 U.S. Women’s National Tackle Football Team, winners of the IFAF Women’s World Championship in which Team USA did not allow a point in three games with an overall score of 201-0.

The rest of his coaching experience involves coaching in the CIFL and the IWFL Leagues as well as Beloit College (Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator) and Rockford University (Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers).  As well as coaching football at the youth, middle school and high school level.

He will be putting on fundamental youth football camps around the world in 2017, with his “Back to the Basics Football Camp” coming to a city near you.

Website/books: coachstonefootball.com

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Quote

‘If you’re still teaching your quarterback the day before the game, you’re in trouble’

Coaching your own kids

  • Why not? You can learn what you don’t know, go do it if it interests you

Cringe moments

  • ‘I was a yeller’. Anthony has learned the value in being positive

Teaching Skills – Great games

Practice Planning 

  • Use notecards/notebook – keep it with you in practices and games and note things you need to work on
  • When teaching skills – visual analogies comparing the motions to real-world activities work great.

Mental toughness

  • Practice reading situations – so your players know what to look for and don’t panic when they see something new
  • ‘If you’re still teaching your quarterback the day before the game, you’re in trouble’
  • Mondays through Wednesdays are work/teaching days
  • Monday – introduction
  • Tuesday/Wednesday – work day
  • Thursday – the players should be teaching it back to the coach
  • Friday (gameday)- just be there to chit-chat with the players, not teach them anything new. Ask them if they have any questions – if they do, have them try to answer their own question.

Coaching up the parents

  • Moms of football – go from a fan, to a team mom, to a coach on the field
  • Have a teaching day – start with your coaching philosophy. Then make a one-page cheat sheet that explains the basic rules. Then take them on the field and have them try it out a bit.

US Lacrosse soft stick program

Culture

  • Start with a team motto i.e. #CloseTheGap
  • Have the kids create the team standards and the motto

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • Anthony mentioned several stories of guys he has connected with who have become lifelong friends

Favorite Quote/Book

  • Quote: ‘Work smarter not harder’
  • Quote: ‘Don’t make a bad play into a worse play’
  • Quote from Lou Holtz: ‘You need 4 things in life: Something to do. Someone to love. Someone to believe in. Something to hope for.’

Coach Stone Football resources

Parting Advice

  • Have fun. Make sure every kid learns 2 things, and has fun and wants to come back next year

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Overfunctioning = Underfunctioning

Newton’s third law of motion:
 For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 
Had a great conversation this week with a friend who was one of my mentors and church youth group leaders when I was a rambunctious teenager.
He is now a certified leadership coach through the Resilient Leadership program in Washington, D.C.
We discussed the empowerment experiment I am going through with my current team, and he provided a powerful A-Ha moment.
I was drawn to start the conversation with him when I saw he was part of a new podcast titled ‘The Overfunctioning Leadership Podcast.’
Overfunctioning. That word drew me in.
As we discussed the empowerment experiment, he shared the simple, yet profound concept:
When there is an overfunctioning leader in any group, whether it is a sports team, a work team, or any group environment – the team members will always underfunction.
There are no exceptions to this rule. It is a law of nature, specifically Newton’s third law of motion. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
He validated that our empowerment experiment is dead on. If the coaches and parents are doing all of the work, the children have no opportunity to ‘carry the water’ or ‘sweep the sheds.’ How can leaders be developed if we are taking away their opportunities to lead?
So we will continue to look under every rock for opportunities to allow our athletes to own this team and experience. To be empowered. To lead.
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WYC 133 – Youth baseball – Dave Holt talks drills and practice design

Dave Holt is a high school administrator/ teacher, operates a private baseball teaching school, helps with an American Legion baseball team and constantly is researching, writing articles and guidebooks, and adding to his coach and play baseball website.

Website/books: coachandplaybaseball.com
Facebook: /Holtbaseball

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Quote

‘A good coach can give correction without causing resentment’ – John Wooden

Coaching your own kids

  • Dave’s dad did a great job of just going out and playing with and throwing with his boys, and not instructing them. Just let them learn to enjoy the sport and don’t antagonize them by nitpicking their mechanics.

Cringe moments

  • Dave wishes he had spent more time on the one-on-one relationship side of coaching

Teaching Skills

  • Maximize # of touches!
  • Get lots of touches in some type of competition
  • Fast catch – Line up with a partner and when you’ve caught 10 in a row, take a knee (competition)

Mental toughness

  • You want kids to be ultra-aggressive and play without fear
  • Be thinking long-term development, not short term wins.
  • Don’t focus on winning. Focus on playing well.

Travel sports options

  • Travel sports lite – you can do travel teams and compete within your own area, not all over the country

Culture – Rewarding success

  • Dirtiest uniform, biggest sweat ring on their hat, best encouraging teammate

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • Dave coached a kid who was going to quit, Dave got together with the principal and they encouraged him not to quit. He stuck with it and went on to start on the baseball team his senior year.

The one that got away

  • Dave had a player who was the best player on the team and skipped a team event. Dave played him instead of disciplining him, and regrets that decision.

Best Stolen Idea

  • 3-team it: Break the team into 3 teams and rotate them together. Great way to practice with lots of touches and you can scrimmage with these 3 teams.

Favorite Quote/Book

Coach and play baseball resources

Parting Advice

  • Baseball has a very high level of failure. Embrace and expect mistakes. Help kids manage the failures.

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Silent Saturday – An experiment

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists,
when his work is done,
his aim fulfilled,
they will say ‘we did it ourselves.’ “
– Lao Tzu
Our fall practices culminated this past weekend with a scrimmage against another local team. As a continuation of our empowerment experiment, here is a quick summary of the conversation I had with my main assistant coach (who is 24 years old) after our last practice:
 –
Me: ‘Hey man. We’re going to implement a silent Saturday approach to our coaching during our upcoming scrimmage. The only 2 things we are going to yell from the sidelines are substitutions and praises.’
 –
Assistant: ‘But 2/3 of these kids have never played in a lacrosse game before. I think we’ll be setting them up to be confused and frustrated if we aren’t giving them some guidance.’
 –
Me: ‘Your concerns are valid. What if we do this: 1- Utilize our experienced players to coach up the newer players and explain to them where to be/what to do on the field. 2 – Use timeouts and play stoppages to answer questions to minimize their frustration’
 –
Assistant: ‘I will try it out. I don’t agree this is the best way to do it, but I’ll give it a try.’
 –
Me: ‘OK I respect that. Let’s debrief after the game, and we’ll write down what we were most tempted to yell out as instructions, and that way we’ll know those are areas we need to focus on in future practices to better prepare them for gameday.’
 –
I read a post by my friend James Leath this week that was discussing the same thing, teaching in practice and letting players play in games. He said it like this:
‘make sure every athlete understands the expectations you have for them and the knowledge to live up those expectations.’
You can read his full post here: James’ blog
 –
I told James about my experiment and here is how he said he does it:
I keep a 5×8 card in my pocket and fill it up after the game with areas I need to teach better in practice. The game is not the time, it’s too late!
So full disclosure – it was very hard to bite my tongue during the game! 🙂 But we did it for the most part, and the whole experience was much more enjoyable – for the coaches, players, referees, and parents!

We are meeting as a coaching staff next week – and we are going to take the notes from after the game and use that as a starting point as we prepare for practices in the spring.
John O’Sullivan writes about this process and summarizes the issue very well:
“It’s the introduction of adult values into kids’ games,
When I grew up, it was children competing against children.
Now, more often than not, it’s adults competing against other adults through their children.” 
– John O’Sullivan Changing The Game Project
Teach in practice, let kids play in games!
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WYC 132 – Mental Toughness – Christian Buck talks Goalies having a ‘Bring it’ Mentality

Chris Buck, President of Get It Done Consulting (www.getitdoneconsulting.net), has his Masters in Exercise and Sport Psychology and is a Certified Consultant and member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). He has consulted with professional and amateur athletes alike, implementing mental conditioning programs in a wide variety of sports, including lacrosse, golf, tennis, soccer, basketball, track/field, crew, fencing, hockey, and baseball.

Coach Buck works with multiple NCAA lacrosse programs as a Sport Psychology Consultant to the team as well as a Goalie Psychology Specialist. He is also the Goalie Psychology Specialist for G3 Lacrosse.

Chris is the author of “Thinking Inside the Crease,” a book describing how to become a mentally tough dominant goalie. He also wrote the Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 goalie coaching certification materials for US Lacrosse.

Chris grew up and played lacrosse in Wilton, CT, winning two state championships during his time there and finished his four-year high school career with a 46-1 record as the starting goalie. After high school, he played lacrosse at Ithaca College.

Professional Website: getitdoneconsulting.net
Twitter: @GetItDoneCT

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Quote

‘What you believe is more important that what is objectively the case’ – Albert Bendora

Cringe moment

  • Chris coached a girls team, and didn’t know the difference in the rules between boys and girls rules, so he was telling the girls the wrong things

A-ha moments

  • Grades are just as important as on-the-field skills to earn a scholarship!
  • Remove self-limitations, believe you can accomplish huge things. ‘What you believe is more important that what is objectively the case’ – Albert Bendora

Mental toughness

  • The physiological affects of fear cause you get into Fight or Flight mode. Chris teaches his goalies to develop a fight mode, ‘bring it!’ “Let’s see how many bruises you can get”
  • Focus on doing your job, not on impressing others or getting the win
  • Don’t provide physical solutions to mental problems
  • When making goalie changes – communicate! Even if you are just wanting to get someone else some playing time, they may view a switch as them getting benched. Talk to them about exactly what is going on. Something as simple as ‘Wasn’t your best game, but you’re still my guy.’

Practicing in a game-like environment

  • Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent
  • Ask who wants to take a pressure shot in practice – good way to see who might be clutch player at the end of a game

Flushing routines

  • Take your hat off, brush some water in your hair, when you put your hat back on you are starting anew
  • Release, replan, refocus – Turn your back to the field of play, replan, then when you turn back around you are refocused
  • Serena Williams – has notecards at her bench with 2 or 3 points of emphasis, she looks at them every time she changes sides
  • Evaluative environment vs Expressive environment: Players don’t perform well when they feel they are being evaluated every single play, they perform much better in a expressive environment
  • Dump card – write down everything that is stressing you out – then leave it in their locker – you’re not bringing that to the field with you – you can stress out about it again when you get back to your locker

The Sport of School – the book

5 different types of student athletes:

  1. The workhorse
  2. The rookie
  3. The natural talent
  4. The spectator
  5. The intellectual

3 ways to be successful:

  1. Work hard
  2. Solve problems
  3. Have intellectual curiosity

Book: Coming soon!

Best Stolen Idea

  • Brendon Burchard – Influence
  • CUP: Connect, Uplift, Praise

Favorite Quote

  • Quote: ‘The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there’ – Vince Lombardi

Parting Advice

  • Have the players control the controllables. Focus on effort.

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WYC 131 – 14 Great Coaches – Chris Trieste talks John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, and more

Chris Trieste has over 20 years experience in K-12 education as a teacher, school administrator, athletic director, and coordinator of physical education.  For more than 10 years he has coached numerous youth sports, primarily baseball and basketball, from the elementary through high school grade levels.

He has extensive experience in tennis, serving as the head men’s tennis coach at Mount Saint Mary College where he was twice named Coach of the Year and playing for four years at Marist College where he was a team captain.

Chris also recently authored 14 Great Coaches. Based on a study of the best practices of 14 of the most respected and successful coaches in the history of sports, and combined with the author’s experiences and observations as a coach and instructional leader, this book provides a road map for all coaches who want to have an enduring positive influence and provide a transformative experience for their athletes.

Book: /book link
Twitter: @CTrieste2

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Coaching your own kid

  • Coaching should end on the field. The ride home should be you as their parent, not their coach.

Cringe moment

  • Chris had some coaches he coached with that humiliated some of the kids, he quickly disassociated from those coaches

Teaching Skills

  • Teach in a games approach: Deliver some instruction – then create some type of game setting (competitive) activity to start the learning.
  • Innovative scoring – Reward activities that you are trying to encourage. If playing tennis and trying to get players to the net – if you win a point at the net you get double points.

Mental toughness

  • Encourage athletes to picture times they have been successful – Play a movie in their head
  • Other athletes don’t want to think about much – encourage them to think of something simple like ‘just see it and hit it’

Culture

  • Coaching staff should answer the question – in twenty years how do you want your players to remember their experience
  • Have kids help own the experience by incorporating them in the standards you set for your team
  • Captains – one good method might be to have rotating gameday captains based on merit (demonstrating leadership skills)

14 Great Coaches – the book

  • 60 timeless concepts that coaches
  • Vince Lombardi – Had zero tolerance for any type of racial discrimination. Also believed in simplicity over complexity.
  • Nick Bolleteri – You don’t have to be a great player to be a great coach.
  • Pat Summit – Her players changed a play she called. She self-reflected – and realized she had not analyzed who the best player for that moment was.
  • Tom Couglin – Tom changed his coaching style – he went from trying to force his compliance to a new style of trying to listen and incorporate their feedback. He established a player council who met regularly and communicated with Tom.
  • Joe Torre – Had a great skill for working with huge egos, and making sure they all felt their role was important no matter what it was on the team
  • Book: /book link

Parting Advice

  • Enjoy the experience. Don’t take wins/losses too seriously.

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WYC 130 – Youth Coaching – Mike Kasales talks how the military builds teams & achieves peak performance

Colonel (Retired) Michael Kasales recently retired from the U.S. Army after 28 years of active-duty service, and now volunteers as an assistant women’s lacrosse coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Coach Kasales is an adjunct professor for the University of Denver’s Master of Arts in Sport Coaching program (online), and is pursuing his Ph.D. with a focus on student-athlete leadership development. He recently completed his second graduate degree, a Master of Arts in Sport Coaching from the University of Denver. He received a Master’s degree from Webster University in 2001, and received his undergraduate degree from DePauw University in 1987.

LinkedIn: /michaelkasales

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Quote

‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit’ – Aristotle

What can coaches learn from the military?

  • The military isn’t about yelling and screaming. It’s about building teams and achieving peak performance.

Team warm-ups

  • A little bit of static stretching is OK, but focus is warming up the muscles through dynamic stretches.
  • Foam rollers are inexpensive and a great tool

Teaching Skills

  • Constant blocked practices vs. random variable drills
    • The memory and skill sticks better when allowing the athlete freedom to think during a drill vs. predetermining for them exactly what they should do

Fun Games to teach skills

  • HORSE – They play horse-like game, but use letters LAX. First player makes shot, then everyone follows.

Mental toughness

  • Mental toughness cannot be turned on/off. Weave it into your practice plan. Every task/drill need to incorporate it. How do you relax? How do use imagery? Have deliberate discussions throughout practice.
  • If 50 to 80% of the game is mental – are you practicing it?

Culture

  • Have a written coaching philosophy
  • Core values will keep you from bouncing from hot topic to hot topic and a flavor of the day
  • Establish team standards and team goals
  • From me you can expect… From you here is what I expect…
  • Be careful to not give false praise – if they don’t deserve it, don’t falsely praise them, it will make your words mean less
  • Copy of Mike’s philosophies

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • Mike worked with an athlete who gained a great deal of self-confidence, mostly through Mike just taking an interest in him

The one that got away

  • Mike saw a young athlete not giving her all and he didn’t say anything about it – she ended up getting hurt, he regrets not mentioning it

Favorite book/quote

Parting Advice

  • Don’t say ‘my team’ or ‘my athletes’ – it’s ‘our team’

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A Novel Experiment to Empower Athletes

I’m a sports dad and coach who has spent the last 3 years researching the dynamics of youth sport families.  And I have been noticing a disturbing trend.  Does this routine sound familiar to you?:


Three days before gameday you leave work early to fulfill your volunteer commitment to your child’s sports club. You spend a couple of hours lining the fields, securing goalposts and emptying trash cans.

The night before the game, you run all over the house trying to piece together the uniform and equipment needed for the game. And you are the last to bed.

On gameday, you are the first to rise and you wake your child up to say “we leave in 30 minutes”.

Your child calls out: “Where are my game shorts?!” (everything else was set out for him, but you forgot to take his shorts out of the dryer.)

You prepare a healthy breakfast for your child.

You pack the oranges in the cooler for the team snack and load up the car.

You get in the car and confirm that your child has cleats, jersey, warm weather gear, cold weather gear, bottles of water, mouthguard and ball as you drive to the game.

You are running late so you offer to drop your child off, and he asks if you could carry some of his gear in after you park the car.

As game time approaches he realizes his water bottle is empty, so you offer to fill it while he warms up with the team.

At halftime, you shuttle the snacks out to the team.

After the game you and other team parents remind the kids not to leave behind water bottles, orange peels or any other trash.

Your son asks if he can go to another player’s house after the game so you offer to take his gear home (of course you put the uniform directly into the laundry machine to prepare it for tomorrow’s game).


Have any of you ever had days that felt like that? Isn’t it time we empower our kids to handle these responsibilities themselves?

Teachers make it a priority to empower students.  It’s a prevalent theme with child psychologists.  And we need to embrace it.  Empowerment:  The act of teaching our kids to fulfill personal, social and civic responsibility.  We need to teach our kids….but we also need to train ourselves.

Many have referred to our generation of parents as “Helicopter Parents” and “Controlling”.  And I’ll be the first Gen X parent to admit:  We handle way too many of our kids’ responsibilities in an effort to control and engineer situations.  But most of these responsibilities are things that any 10, 12 or 14 year old can handle so let’s have the kids own the experience.


I recently joined the board of a new local Lacrosse program and noticed this type of behavior starting to creep in.  As the responsibilities of the founding board members started piling up it occurred to me that starting a new club or sport program is a great opportunity to empower the kids.

So we took a step back as a parent board, and asked ourselves;

‘What activities needed to get this team off the ground could be done by the kids?’

The answer was – A bunch of it!

So we are setting off on an endeavor to truly let the boys own this team. We are having our player/parent kickoff meeting next week, and we have broken down all of the assignments into 6 categories. We have a parent liaison assigned for each, but they each have specific assignments that will be done by the boys. Things like:

  • Organize and create folders for player paperwork
  • Create website to share pictures
  • Research and plan community service project(s) for the team
  • Backstop net building/goal building
  • Organizing snacks and carpools
  • And more

I am preparing the same type of ownership of much of our practices. 3-man groups that each will have specific assignments during practice.

It always comes back to the saying:

‘Anything you see in your children: you either taught it or allowed it’ 

No one wants to be responsible for raising entitled kids, so let’s not allow it. Let’s raise hardworking, gritty kids, who take ownership in everything they do. They sweep the sheds, they carry the water.

So begins the Anti-Entitlement Experiment, or better said, the Empowerment Experiment.

This post was co-written with Ian Goldberg from iSport360, check them out: iSport360 link.

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WYC 129 – Winning the Relationship – Casey Jacox talks Leadership & The 3 P’s of teaching skills

Casey Jacox is a former collegiate QB at Central Washington University and has been coaching his kids for many years. Casey is passionate about ensuring they continue down a positive path, and sports is a big part of that journey.

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Quote

‘There are three types of people in life: Those who watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what happened.’ – Tommy Lasorda

Coaching your own kids

  • Works best if you have an assistant coach, and you coach each other’s kids

Cringe moment

  • Early on, Casey was too focused on winning

Teaching Skills

  • Drills need a clear:
    • Purpose
    • Process
    • Payoff
  • Be ridiculously organized.
  • Make everything competitive. Time everything.
  • Small groups and lots of stations

Games

  • Girls get to take 2 free throws at end of practice – If they make 1, they get to run 1 lap. If they make 2 they get to pick someone to run with them (including parents on the sideline.) If they miss both, they have to dribble around with their off hand until drill is over. Then take the girls who make both free throws and put the pressure on them, say ‘there is 2 seconds left, you need to make 2 free throws to win the game.’
  • They only get to do this if the girls gave great effort during practice

Mental toughness

  • It comes down to believing in the kids you coach, and making sure they understand you believe in them

Culture

  • Everyone needs to do their role. Coaches coach. Players play. Parents cheer. Umpires make the calls. When everyone stays in their role, everything works well. Step out of your role, and trouble starts.

Captains and leadership

  • Captains lead stretching and conversation
  • Teach them to be organized and communicate well

Rewards and recognition

  • Words of the week – keep the focus on the importance of everyone’s role – Then give an award at the end of the week on who best embodied that characteristic

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • Kevin worked with a young man who was struggling to throw, and 2 years later watching his progress is really exciting.

The one that got away

  • Casey played on a team, and they came out flat, and lost. You must be prepared for every game.

Favorite book/quote

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • EDD’s – Everyday drills
  • The power of goal setting. You write it down. Then you tell someone. Now it is goal not a wish.
  • Positive environments and never taking a play off.

Parting Advice

  • Know the purpose in everything you do. Be organized, make it fun.

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Finish This Sentence: ‘I Am Unstoppable At ___’ ??

‘Crave the result so intensely that the work becomes irrelevant’ – Tim Grover in Relentless
My latest read has been Tim Grover’s book Relentless, From Good to Great to Unstoppable.
My biggest takeaways have been very similar as Jim Collins’ Good to Great.
From a coaching standpoint, many of you have shared with me the question:
‘What do I do with athletes who don’t seem to care near as much as I do?’
That question kept going through my mind as I read this book.
What if we asked our athletes which one applies:
  • I want to be a good lacrosse player
  • I want to be a great lacrosse player
  • I want to be an unstoppable lacrosse player
If they answer either of the first two, that’s OK, as long as you ask a follow-up question:
  • So what are 1 or 2 things in your life where you want to be unstoppable?
Maybe their family is struggling to pay bills, so they have to work a part-time job. They are choosing to be an unstoppable family supporter.
Maybe they want to get into a tough school, so academics are their first priority. They are choosing to be an unstoppable student.
The key as a coach is push the young people we coach to be better than they think they can. Being ‘good enough’ at everything is not OK. Push your athletes to find 1 or 2 things where they are choosing to be unstoppable.
So to answer the question from the title of this email, in my coaching profession, I am unstoppable at:
Teaching kids, through the avenue of sports, to be unstoppable
What are you unstoppable at?
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WYC 128 – The Captain Class – Sam Walker talks the 16 sports dynasties and what they all had in common

In The Captain Class, Walker profiles the greatest teams in history and identifies the counterintuitive leadership qualities of the unconventional men and women who drove them to succeed.

He began by setting out to answer one of the most hotly debated questions in sports: What are the greatest teams of all time? He devised a formula, then applied it to thousands of teams from leagues all over the world, from the NBA to the English Premier League to Olympic field hockey. When he was done, he had a list of the sixteen most dominant teams in history.

With the list in hand, Walker became obsessed with another, more complicated question: What did these freak teams have in common? As Walker dug into their stories, a distinct pattern emerged: Each team had the same type of captain—a singular leader with an unconventional skill set who drove it to achieve sustained, historic greatness.

Website/book: bysamwalker.com

Twitter: @SamWalkers

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Quote

The secret to winning is not what you think it is.
It’s not the coach. It’s not the star.
It’s not money. It’s not a strategy.
It’s something else entirely. – Sam Walker – The Captain Class

Inspiration for the book

  • Sam’s little league team went undefeated, and he didn’t realize it but that was the last team he would be the last time he would experience a sports championship, and it led him to being curious about sports championships.
  • The 2004 Boston Red Sox was a group of crazy players, they were struggling mid-season, then they turned it on and went on to break the 100+ year curse and win a championship. This got Sam to wondering what the make-up of great teams really is.

Coaches – Develop your leaders

  • The commonality found in the world’s most dominant dynasties was the characteristics of their captains
  • The captain needs autonomy, to act as a middle-manager between the players and the coach
  • On gameday – stop over-functioning, back off and let the captains run the show

Youth coaches – Key characteristics to Develop

  • Carrying the water – They shouldn’t want to be the superstar, they should want to serve the team first.
  • Relentlessness – Players who have one gear, no matter what the score is
  • Communication amongst teammates – A rah-rah speech is not what works, you want a leader that has one-on-one interactions with their teammates, is intense, uses body-language, uses humor. Charismatic connectors. Introverts are often the best leaders!

Choosing captains

  • It often makes sense to not make the star player the captain. Being the star is burden enough. The person needs to be the coach’s right-hand and, therefore it usually makes the most sense for a coach to pick the captain vs. the team voting.
  • Remember when nominating them – you want someone who will stand up to you and not be afraid to express a dissenting opinion.

Do you need captains on a team?

  • Sam says absolutely yes. Just remember – it doesn’t need to be the star. It needs to be the water carrier.

Sportsmanship – The Cuban National Volleyball team

  • Two types of Aggression:
  • Hostile Aggression – Driven by hatred or a desire to hurt somebody – This is negative.
  • Instrumental Aggression – Looks similar, but the motive is to win. It turns off as soon as the game is over. This can be positive.

Parting Advice

  • Find a partner – a captain – on your team

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WYC 127 – Injury Prevention – Dr. David Geier talks Practice Design & TedX

Dr. David Geier is an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist who provides education and commentary on sports and exercise injuries for athletes and active people to help you stay healthy and perform your best.
He started writing articles on his website – DrDavidGeier.com – in August 2010 as a hobby. His goal at the time was simple – to share sports medicine and wellness information in easy-to-understand language for athletes, parents, coaches and other healthcare providers.
What he never expected to find back in 2010 was a passion for communicating this information. Despite long hours in clinic and surgery, he is still excited to open his laptop and write. He now writes a regular column for the daily Charleston newspaper, The Post and Courier. He records videos every week answering questions from his audience, and he produces a weekly sports medicine podcast. He also created a networking and educational site for healthcare professionals who work with athletes and active people – Sports Medicine University. As of this writing, over 200,000 unique visitors come to his website every month.

Website/Podcast: drdavidgeier.com

Book: tghbook.com

Twitter: @drdavidgeier
Facebook: /DrDavidGeier/

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Quote

‘Everything is impossible until someone does it’ – from Relentless by Tim Grover

Practice Design

  • 3 to 5 minutes – Slow warm-up – jogging, get the heart going
  • 3 to 5 minutes – Gentle stretching
  • End of practice – 3 to 5 minutes – Stretch again, can be static stretching

‘That’s gotta hurt’ book

  • 13 of the most impactful injuries that have occurred in sports – How it impacted the sports and new methods to prevent these injuries

Youth injury prevention

  • Sport specialization – 1/2 of sports injuries are overuse injuries – they need time off
  • The US women’s national soccer team that won the world cup – not a single player only specialized in soccer, they all played multiple sports
  • ACL injury prevention – Teach proper landing mechanics while doing warm-ups. The PEP program – best if you bring in a physical therapist to teach the correct form. smsmf.org/smsf-programs/pep-program

Concussions

  • Repetitive blows to the head are a big concern, not just single concussive events.
  • Young kids with brains still developing – tackle football could be a concern if the coach has them doing repetitive hits that involve the head. – Good youth football link: winningyouthfootball.com

Favorite Book/Quote

  • Book – Relentless by Tim Grover – About Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade’s trainer, and how to become the best ever. Quote from book: ‘Everything is impossible until someone does it’

TedX Talk

  • HEALTHY Game plan – Youth sports – Tips you can do as a parent and coach on how to keep youth sports fun and keep kids involved – TEDx talk link

Parting Advice

  • Sports are important to kids – make it fun and keep them healthy

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WYC 126 – Choosing to Grow – Meagan Frank talks #CloseTheGap

Meagan Frank is the author of the Choosing to Grow series, a national speaker, writer, teacher, coach, and mother of three. She is a regular contributor to the online magazine Books Make a Difference and she is working on four separate books, including Choosing to Grow for the Sport of It: Because All Kids Matter –Five years of research to justify the choices her family has made with regard to youth sports.

Website: meaganfrank.com

Twitter: @choosingtogrow

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Quote

‘Individual commitment to a group effort, that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.’ – Vince Lombardi

Coaching your own kids

  • Each kid and age level has different needs, you have to adapt to the situation
  • Meagan wore a hat when coaching, so it was clear when she had her hat on, she was coach; when she took the hat off, she was mom

Cringe moments

  • Don’t necessarily emulate who coached you – ‘Yelling never works’

Coaching girls

  • Different drills are needed for each type of girl. Some will respond to game-like competition, others will respond to more cooperative drills.

Teaching skills

  • Start and end each practice with something fun/positive

Good energy-builders

  • Blob tag – If you touch them they become part of the blob. You can bring in the parents too

Player Choice practices

  • Occasionally let the players choose their favorite games, then pick them out of the hat, and that’s all you do for practice

Peak performance

  • Teach kids to flush mistakes
  • ‘Tell me one good thing you achieved today’
  • Have players share shout-outs for each other at the end of practice
  • The coaches’ body language, especially after a mistake, is critical – kids will watch you and emulate your body language

Building Culture

  • They create a hashtag to reinforce their core value. i.e. #CloseTheGap

Best team building activity

  • Scavenger hunts – can include conditioning (2 mile run with stops with clues)

Travel sports choices

  • You have to prioritize your time – don’t just blindly sign up for sport after sport.

The one that got away

  • Meagan’s team was struggling, and they were on the verge of winning a game, and she subbed all her players in, and they lost the game.

Best stolen/borrowed idea

  • Communication – everyone is in the loop. Players, Coaches, parents. They all know philosophy and goals of the program

Favorite Book/Quote

Parting Advice

  • Smile. Have fun. It is contagious.

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Why wait until their senior year to develop your captains? ?? Captains Part 4 of 4

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership‘ – Harvey S. Firestone
Image
Do you train your captains on how to lead?
Then when those captains move on, do you feel like you are starting all over again?

Here is a way to take your leadership development to the next level:
Don’t wait until they are a junior or senior, when they become captain, to start training them. Instead – develop an emerging leader group.
Identify some leaders at each age level, and establish a big bother/big sister mentoring relationship. Work closely with your captains and more elder players to challenge them to teach leadership skills to their younger mentees.
One tip in doing this – eliminate the words ‘freshmen,’ ‘sophomore,’ etc. from your team’s vocabulary. These are divisive words. These players are your teammates. Nothing more, nothing less.
The most important way your captains and elder leaders will teach them, just like you as a coach, is through their actions, not their words. Carry the water. Pick up the trash. Encourage someone struggling.
Not only will setting up these mentor relationships help the young leaders grow, the elder mentors will typically develop a sense of pride and take on more responsibility as they sense the importance of their role.
As we wrap up our series on captains, do this:
1 – Train your captains on how to lead
2 – Train your future captains on how to lead from Day 1 entering your program
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WYC 125 – The Leadership Playbook – Jamy Bechler talks Basketball & Leadership

Jamy Bechler is a professional speaker, leadership trainer and executive business coach who is based out of Atlanta, Georgia.  Before going into full-time leadership work, Jamy served for 20 years as a college basketball coach, professor and administrator. When he hung up the whistle, he didn’t stop coaching. Jamy just moved from the locker-room into the boardroom. He now travels the country motivating people and “coaching” organizations on how they can build championship teams and cultures.

Website: jamybechler.com

Book: theleadershipplaybook.com

Twitter: @CoachBechler

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Quote

‘Fish like worms. I don’t like worms, but if I want to catch fish, I need to use worms’ – Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People (paraphrased)

Cringe Moment

  • ‘You’ll be dead right’ – Wisdom is choosing your battles, don’t always need to be right

Teaching skills

  • Everything in practice needs to have a point. Scrimmages are often not effective.
  • Practice special situations for 5 to 10 minutes in every practice.
  • Fun activity: On your birthday – coach would put 2 $5 bills at midcourt – everyone would shoot half-court shots, if you made it – you got $5 and bday person got $5. If bday person made it, got all $10

Peak performance

  • ‘Every missed shot is a pass’ – Teammates encouraging each other to shoot takes away the pressure of worrying about whether to shoot or note
  • Practice being a terrible referee – Players need to practice tough situations. Bad calls are going to happen – practice them.

Building Culture

  • Core value – developing the mind – on and off the court; Integrity; Responsibility
  • 2 core values for his basketball teams: Toughness and rebounding
  • Kids pick up on the coach’s consistency – you can talk all you want about what kind of culture you want, but the kids are watching and if you aren’t consistent then your words will not hold up

Captains

  • Positional leadership – If you have 2 or 3 captains on your team, the rest of the players can use it as a crutch. Jamy did not have captains towards the end of his coaching career. They rotated game captains, but they taught that everyone was a leader. Then they engaged the upperclassmen to demonstrate leadership skills – carrying the water, etc.
  • More is expected out of your experienced and older players – but they don’t have to technically have the title of captain. They are the role models and set the tone for your culture.

Training your leaders

  • theleadershipplaybook.com – Stories about different ways leaders lead
  • Leaders – don’t need to get the whole team to do something, they need to get their closest friends to do it – The First follower theory.

The one that got away

  • Jamy’s last game he coached – they blew a 14 point lead and it cost them getting into the national tournament. They had easily beat that team earlier in the year, and they came in a little cocky and weren’t prepared.

Best stolen/borrowed idea

  • John Wooden’s unflinching standards while connecting with his players

Favorite Book/Quote

Parting Advice

  • Understand your why. And get to know your players.

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Anatomy of a Teammate ?? Captains Part 3 of 4

Team – A number of people organized to function cooperatively as a group
Teammate – A partner
Selflessness – Putting other people’s needs, interests, or wishes before your own​​​​​​​
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I’m going to keep this post short and sweet because I want you to spend 7 minutes watching this video instead of reading a post. 
I met Patrick Murphy, the coach of Alabama softball, at a recent conference. He told a story about calling timeout in a key situation, walking up to the girl he was coaching, putting his arm around her, and saying ‘I am going to love you no matter what the result of this at-bat is.’

The core value you will see plastered all over their facility is: 
PERSON
———-
ATHLETE
​​​​​​​Person over athlete. That is the type of people Coach Murphy is developing, and it is contagious.
​​​​​​​Watch the video and see how this attitude has permeated into Brittany.

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Quit Worrying About You As A Coach & Start Focusing On Your Captains ?? Captains Part 2 of 4

The secret to winning is not what you think it is.
It’s not the coach. It’s not the star.
It’s not money. It’s not a strategy.
It’s something else entirely. – Sam Walker – The Captain Class
I just finished reading Sam Walker’s The Captain Class. He studied the most successful professional sports dynasties over the past 150 years and looked for common traits those teams had.
​​​​​​​If you’re like me, you assumed it would be one of these:
  • A legendary coach
  • A superior organization structure
  • A G.O.A.T. player
Spoiler alert – the common trait he found on the 16 teams he deemed as the ‘tier 1’ dynasties was none of these. Instead, it was a captain that possessed the following 7 characteristics:
  • Doggedness and its ancillary benefits
  • Playing to the edge of the rules
  • The hidden art of leading from the back
  • Practical communication
  • The power of nonverbal displays
  • The courage to stand apart
  • Regulating emotion
What is fascinating about his list is the contrast in what we currently think of as the best leaders/captains. Michael Jordan’s and Derek Jeter’s teams did not make the cut.

The leaders of his 16 tier 1 teams were not interested in talking to the media or being great public communicators, in fact they were the opposite. They did not want the recognition of being the face of the franchise. 
As a Cavs fan I have constantly wondered about Lebron James’ self-declarations as being ‘the greatest player on the planet,’ and how that affects his relationships with his teammates. We’ve seen one answer to that recently with one of the other best players on the planet, his teammate Kyrie Irving, asking to be traded, citing not wanting to play with Lebron.
Lebron’s characteristics, similar to Michael Jordan’s, do not fall in line with this list the best dynasties possess. It doesn’t mean they won’t win, Jordan and James have multiple championships. Walker argues that it just means their non-team-first attitudes make it hard to have sustained success.
The biggest takeaway I had from this fascinating book was:
As a coach, I need to spend less time trying to become ‘the perfect coach,’ and much more time trying to develop my leaders and captains with the 7 characteristics on this list.
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WYC 124 – College track athletes – Dr. Charles Infurna talks the Mundanity of Excellence

Dr. Charles Infurna has 10 years of coaching experience at the Division III level, he has had the great pleasure and privilege to have coached and mentored two Division III National Champion Weight Throwers, 10 All-Americans, multiple ECAC champions, and numerous SUNYAC and Empire 8 Conference Champions in the Hammer, Weight Throw, Discus, and Shot-Put. He writes a blog at forzathletics.com  Before completing his dissertation he wrote a lot about programming, workouts, overviews of meets, and even included some vlogs.  Since finishing his doctorate, he has focused more on how environment and support systems play roles in athlete successes.

Website and blog: forzathletics.com

Podcast: soundcloud.com/charles-infurna

Facebook: /forzathletics/

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Quote

‘You never know who is going to walk through the door’

First role model

  • Charles’ first coaching opportunity was when he was 22 years old. He didn’t really know what to do – so he reached out to a head coach at a local university (who happened to be a 4x Olympian) and asked if he could come watch a practice and hang out with his coaching staff for a day, which the coach willingly did

Cringe Moment

  • The players Charles was coaching talked to him and addressed concerns that he didn’t seem like he was as engaged – a very healthy sign that the players were comfortable enough to be honest with him

Teaching skills

  • Start with the basics like body awareness.
  • Don’t try to fix everything at once. Focus on one thing at a time. It’s like a puzzle – put together one piece at a time.

Long Term Athlete Development

  • Some of Charles’ best college athletes did not play that sport in high school

Peak performance

  • Kids often respond best to a coach that is calm and confident.
  • It’s usually best to not give coaching advice right before a competition – just pick up on the kid’s body language whether they need you to just be quiet, or tell a joke to lighten the mood.

Building Culture

  • You are always representing the program
  • Team building and trust activities are always great
  • Magnet awards – they recognize each other’s accomplishments on the bus ride home

Connecting with kids

  • Luis Rivera – Was given some bad information and was ineligible for the upcoming season. He could have easily quit and given up, but instead he worked hard and came back and went on to be one of the best track and field athletes in their college’s history. He had grit.

The one that got away

  • It wasn’t a tough loss – it was a team where Kate had let the culture get away from her

Best stolen/borrowed idea

  • ‘You never know who is going to walk through the door’ – One of Charles’ mentors would take in any athlete that was willing, and if they would put in the work, you never know which one could turn out to be a national champion.

Favorite Resources

Parting Advice

  • Be in the moment. Put your cell phone away. Enjoy it.

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I found it. The best icebreaker & team builder ?? Captains Part 1 of 4

“Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed. But being negative will guarantee you won’t” – Jon Gordon 
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I am huge on starting practices with energy builders that build team comradery.
​​​​​​​And recently I’ve been fascinated by diving into studying the concept of leadership and captains on teams.
So what could be better than developing your leaders while playing games?
When I first met Adam Bradley a few years ago, he was in the process of developing a curriculum that did just that. The cool thing is that he partnered with an expert company on games, Game On to ‘gamify’ the experience, because we know lecturing kids on leadership isn’t a sticky way for them to learn, getting them involved and participating in activities/games is.
I don’t endorse many products, but the biggest no-brainer of a product I believe in is the curriculum Adam and his team have developed at Lead ‘Em Up. In talking with Adam, I wanted to help spread the word, so he offered a discount for Winning Youth Coaching followers – just enter discount code ‘wyccoaches’ and save 10% off at checkout at leademup.com.
This post starts a 4 part series on captains & leadership, inspired by my friend James Leath’s post about the book The Captain Class. (read that post here).

Here’s the plan for this series:
1 – Captain training – Lead Em UP
2 – The Captain Class
3 – Anatomy of a Teammate – leadership video by Coach Patrick Murphy
4 – Emerging leader groups
​​​​​​​I hope you don’t find this post ‘salesy’, I just wanted to share one of the best coaching tools I have found. I look forward to diving into the a-ha moments I have been having reading through The Captain Class.
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WYC 123 – The Positivity Experiment – Kate Leavell talks culture, Jon Gordon, & Lacrosse

Kate Leavell: I have been an NCAA lacrosse coach, a high school varsity lacrosse and strength coach, a youth and travel coach of many different sports, swimming instructor, NASM certified personal trainer and senior fitness specialist, board member, a national coaches education trainer for US Lacrosse, an eternal college student, a parent of youth and high school athletes, speaker, teacher, and apparently now after four years of blogging and nationally featured articles and a book…a writer. I’m drawn to all things motivational and figuring out what makes people reach and discover what seems impossible. After a recent shoulder surgery led to staring a pulmonary embolism in the face (or staring at it in the lungs?!) i had time to reevaluate what is important. I came to the realization that it’s not an interest after all that I spread motivation around, it’s in fact, a necessity. So my mission begins, one kid, one coach at a time if need be.

Website (and book coming soon): kateleavell.com

Twitter: @kateleavell

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Quote

‘Invite your team to get on the bus. Get the energy vampires off the bus. You are better off without them.’ – Jon Gordon

Coaching your own kids

  • Have assistant coaches coach teach your kid and vice versa
  • Stop coaching on the car ride home, leave it at the field

Cringe Moment

  • Putting your own self-worth based on a team’s performance
  • ‘I know a lot about lacrosse, I don’t know anything about building a culture’
  • Big moment: meeting Jon Gordon in the airport, reading The Energy Bus – changed Kate’s perspective on building culture

Accelerate Deep Training

  • Make everything fun, make everything competitive, then quit talking and just let them do it. ‘Kids hear the first sentence and last sentence you say’, the middle usually just goes in one ear and out the other.

Good Icebreakers/games

  • The Hug game – Call out a number, then the kids have to form a group with that number of people and put arms around each other to form a circle. Whoever doesn’t end up in a circle is out.
  • Zombie Tag – First time tagged, you lose an arm. Then you have to go out of circle, run a lap, then you’re back in. Then you lose 2nd arm, then legs. So last time you have to roll out of circle b/c you have no legs.
  • Stop playing chess with your players, put away the ‘joystick’, and

Peak performance

  • ‘I’m a believer in belief’ – The more the kids believe that you believe in them, the better their performance will be

Building Culture

  • It starts with expectations up front
  • 3 different groups that feed into your culture:

1 – Coaches – Support one another. Do a mid-season survey to ask kids how they are doing

2 – Players – Positive self-talk

3 – Parents – Kate has an open door policy, the only restriction is that they will only talk about their kid, not other kids on the team

Communication – “Drama is heavier than bricks, it always breaks through”

Lessons from Jon Gordon

  • ‘Invite your team to get on the bus. Get the energy vampires off the bus. You are better off without them.’
  • Urban Meyer 10-80-10 Principle – Quit spending energy on the energy vampires, put your energy towards your high energy people

The one that got away

  • It wasn’t a tough loss – it was a team where Kate had let the culture get away from her

The Positivity Experiment

  • Kate did an experiment where she committed to only talking about what it going well, never pointing out negatives. The things they needed to work on, she would just add them to the practice plan instead of pointing them out.
  • ‘I let go of being focused on winning, which freed me up to enjoy coaching and took the pressure off the outcome of the game’

Parting Advice

  • Think about the end game. Picture the kid you are coaching at graduation, and ask him/her to describe their sports experience.

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WYC 122 – The Science of Sports Mastery – DeShawn Fontleroy talks Youth Football & Performance Training

DeShawn Fontleroy is a sports performance coach working with athletes in the Portland, OR metro area. Currently, he works with the football team at Jefferson HS. Deshawn also hosts a podcast Sports Mastery- ‘A place where we observe, examine, experiment, and explain the physical, mental, and social dynamics of the world’s best athletes and coaches. My goal is to provide athletes, coaches, and parents with high level systems & strategies to achieve success.’

Website/Podcast: sportsmastery.com

Free Gifts for WYC listeners: Sportsmastery.com/winningyouth
Twitter: @sports_mastery

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Quote

“Fears are a kind of prison that confines you within a limited range of action. The less you fear, the more power you will have and the more fully you will live.” – 50 Cent in The 50th Law

Cringe Moment

  • Kids are different than adults – have progressions
  • Keep it simple, don’t have too many plays

Progressions

  • Using your own body weight is a better starting place than jumping straight into weightlifting
  • Focus on the process vs. the outcome

Overcoming Fear

  • Start by having the athlete list their fear on paper. Often when they put them down on paper, they realize many of them are not real.
  • Then list your hopes and dreams. Create a desire map where they list their challenges and limitations. Have the parents do the same thing.

Growth Mindset

  • Bouncing back from hardship is a key to teach athletes. It’s the only way to grow.
  • After a setback, go back and watch your performance, then use positive visualization to picture what doing it right looks like

Accelerate Deep Training

  • It’s a process – the key is the quality of your reps
  • Know where your athlete is at – if they are working on a strength – put them against higher level competition. If they are working on a weakness – put them against some weaker competition.

Building Culture

  • Communication between coaches and athletes is key. Assistant coaches need to be listened to and empowered
  • Immediate feedback, both good and bad – often works best

Rewards and Recognition

  • When athletes do something off the field – in the classroom, in the community – you can use social media to highlight their accomplishments

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • DeShawn is coaching a kid with ADHD, it has challenged him and made him a better coach by working with a kid who has different needs and challenges

The one that got away

  • DeShawn’s team lost to their rival last year because of some poor coaching, they have evaluated what went wrong and analyzed how to make sure that it won’t happen again

Best books

Free gifts:

– PDF of The Desire Map

– PDF of How to Succeed

– Free 1/2 hour consulting

Parting Advice

  • Train and practice more – don’t overdo it with travel sports
  • Play multiple sports

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The 10-80-10 Principle: Growing your Superpower ??

“THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE IS TO MOVE AS MANY OF THE 80 PERCENTERS INTO THE NUCLEUS (10% core) AS YOU CAN”
I recently (finally!) read Urban Meyer’s Above the Line. Loaded with great coaching lessons, the one that jumped out to me was the concept of the 108010 Principle.
In a nutshell, any organization or team will be made up of:
  • 10% – The nucleus – Your leaders who will do whatever it takes to make the team better
  • 80% – The average – Good team members who do what it takes but don’t typically go above and beyond
  • 10% – The naysayers and negative. Jon Gordon would call these the energy vampires.
The interesting concept here is that Meyer says he used to spend a lot of his energy trying to get the bottom 10%ers up to the middle. His realization is that this was not the best use of his time, as it rarely worked.
The best use of your time as the leader is to recruit your top 10%ers to target high-end 80%ers to bring them up to the top 10%.
He and Tim Tebow used to start their conversations with ‘What 80%er can we focus on today to move to the top 10%?’
I was having a conversation with a high-school track athlete this week, and he was relating how he and one other sprinter on his team had committed themselves this summer to outworking all of their competition and preparing to compete for the state championship in the 4×400.
His frustration was that the other members of the team were not committing themselves the same way.
I relayed this 108010 concept to him. We discussed a change in approach – instead of trying to get the whole team on board, instead could he and his other teammate that was equally committed target 1 athlete that was in the 80% to try to bring up to the top 10% with them?
It is an interesting shift in paradigm. It reminds me of the Clifton Strengthfinders concept – instead of spending countless amounts of energy trying to bring your weaknesses up to a mediocre level, spend your energy taking your strengths to an even higher level. Your superpower.
Do you know who your high 80%ers are? Who is the low-hanging fruit that you and your top 10%ers can target to join the nucleus? Spend your energy growing your nucleus – grow your Superpower.
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WYC 121 – Developmental Stages – Jennifer Duval talks Youth Golf; Performance Routines

Jennifer Duval has been a Class A member with the LPGA T&CP Division for over 10 years. During that time, she has continued to evolve as an instructor. She was among the first to acquire her Master certification as a Level 3 Golf Fitness Professional; and most recently, became a Level 2 Junior Certified Coach with Titleist Performance Institute. She has a passion for learning and is a regular attendee at the World Golf Fitness Summit. She believes firmly in coaching not only the technical skills of the game; but, also the physical requirements demanded by the sport, the mental skillsets needed and the emotional resilience necessary to play ‘consistent’ golf.

Website: mytpi.com

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link

Quote

‘The first thing I learned was to hit it hard nevermind where it went’ – Jack Nicklaus

Coaching your own kid

  • Instead of advising them, do an ‘experiment’ to coach them without being too direct
  • Remember modeling is a key point at the younger age

 Cringe Moment

  • Spewing too much technical info early on
  • Different is OK – there isn’t a cookie-cutter swing
  • Be patient – learning is frustrating, don’t rush it

Long Term Athlete Development

  • Develop the athlete as a whole vs. just specific to your sport
  • MYTPI.com – Titleist program
  • Kids under 18 have significant changes and development going on – Teach them correct body movements
  • One-sided sports (golf, baseball) – bodies need a break and to develop different muscles

Mental toughness 

  • Develop a performance routine: (taken from Vision 54 at vision54.com/html/mygame-thinkbox.html)
    • A think box – when you are thinking through what you are going to do
    • A play box – Stop thinking and start acting. If visual – stare at a dimple on the ball. If you’re auditory – listen to a plane overhead. If you’re kinesthetic – focus on your grip pressure, make it a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5.
    • 2 outcomes to every shot: 1 – Where did the ball go (often can’t control); 2 – Did I stay focused on what I was focused on (I can control)
  • Body language and self-talk: Do a funny skit with some of the other coaches, exemplifying different mental approaches. Have the kids then practice: Hit 10 shots where think negative thoughts after each. Then hit 10 where you are neutral. Then hit 10 where you think of a positive thought after each.
  • Each kid keep a notebook/recipe book. Write something after each practice and round about what they learn.

Windows of Opportunity

  • Sensitive periods (learn more at canadaiansportsforlife.ca):
    • Boys 6-9 then 13-16; Girls 4-7 then 11-13: When you are growing fast, train fast
      • When in growth spurt, there body is awkward. Speed training and mobility is key.
    • Boys 9-12 then 14-18; Girls 7-10 then 12-16: Growth rest periods: better time to develop skills.
  • ‘The first thing I learned was to hit it hard never mind where it went’ – Jack Nicklaus

Great drills for re-developing movement patterns

  • Milo Bryan – No Bull Fit – Awesome drills

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • Jennifer taught a class of kindergartners and started out asking: ‘Who here is an athlete?’ – a lot of the kids didn’t raise their hand. She told them ‘Today you are going to be an athlete’ and when she asked the same question in the next class, a bunch of the kids who hadn’t raised their hands initially were now raising their hands.

The one that got away

  • Her freshmen year of college, Jennifer had the opportunity to qualify to travel with the team and play with her sister, and she was so serious and uptight in her qualifying match that she played bad. She forgot to be herself, have fun, and enjoy the moment.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Jennifer’s college coach went above and beyond when Jennifer’s dad had a heart attack. Jennifer learned for a coach it should always be about person first, player second.

Best books

Parting Advice

  • Know your why
  • Just do it, even if you don’t think you’re qualified

Reviews are the lifeblood of the podcast!- If you like the podcast- please take 2 minutes to write a review! Click here

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