As always, I have compiled a list of the best coaching resources from the past month for your convenience. Thank you for following along and your continued support for what I do. Happy New Year!
Give Athletes a Reputation to Live Up To
6 Ways to Kill Creativity in Your Organization or Team
The Talent Code Blog by Daniel Coyle
8 Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do
What Does the Doctor Say About Youth Sports?
5 Characteristics of The Best Strategic Thinkers
5 Leadership Lessons from Nick Saban
“Leader possess a genuine love for people.” Steve Gutzler
“Being a winner is a day-to-day thing. Learning, working and growing daily.” Steve Finamore
“Winning coaches listen to their players and staff. Everyone’s voice is heard, they promote shared ownership.” Kevin Keathley
“Those who think they know everything will learn nothing” Roger McDonald
“The extra mile is never crowded” Jeff Boals
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” Leonardo da Vinci
“When you begin to change the way you look at things, the things you look at begin to change”
Throughout the holiday season I have spent a lot of time shopping. I’m sure you are reading this without thinking twice because everyone shops a lot this time of year. However, I hardly ever go shopping, except this time of year. Over the past 3 weeks I went shopping with family, friends, even a few trips on my own anyplace from the local grocery store to New York City’s famous 5th Avenue!
I accomplished a lot during these shopping trips, but my productivity is not what stuck out to me most during my trips. The most everlasting experience during my shopping trips was what I will call “The Greeter Effect”, which was a special feeling I got every time I walked into a store that had someone to greet me upon my entrance.
Now, as I said before, I am not a frequent shopper so I am by no means an expert, but I never seem to remember this many greeters in front of stores anytime during the year except around Christmas; it is a position concentrated during the holiday season- when number of shoppers, and likely customers, increase.
I won’t bog you down by inserting research articles on this topic, but it is a known fact in retail that when customers feel welcome and comfortable in a store they will be more willing to buy products. Tons of money is spent every year researching what will make a specific target market feel more comfortable and then implementing their findings with the addition of specific decors, constructing the perfect soundtrack to the play during store hours, and devising a layout to elicit certain feelings. If you think I am wrong I urge you to stop by a Starbucks on your next trip outside the house!
So as I was shopping, I began to feel “The Greeter Effect” in stores that greeted me promptly and politely. Not trying to sell me anything, simply welcoming me into their store and letting me know that if there was anything I needed they would be there to answer my questions and provide support in my retail decisions. This was very comforting and has a direct crossover to sport.
Imagine if “The Greeter Effect” could be replicated every day you see those you teach and coach! Athletes would feel more comfortable and relaxed, have more buy-in, demonstrate increased confidence, etc. I am here to tell you that I believe this can be done, and the best part is it may be the simplest thing you can do to improve your coaching, all you need to do is politely greet each individual upon their arrival every day. Say hello, be energetic and positive, follow-up on something they may have done since you saw them last, short and sweet.
Give it a try, I think the difference will be significant!
Thank you for reading.
I am very pleased to share that SportManagementDegree.org , an educational website for individuals interested in sport management and athletics, has named our site one of the top 25 General Coaching websites on the internet!
I am very excited to receive this recognition and would like to thank Beth, Nolan, and everyone else at SportManagementDegree.org for this nomination. This list is full of other great sites as well many of which I check regularly or have personal connections with, very humbling!
I encourage you to view the full list here: http://sportsmanagementdegree.org/winning-coaches/
Developing Decision Making by Playing Multiple Sports
In Praise of Praise
What Makes an Exceptional Team Leader?
“Life is a classroom, only those who are willing to be lifelong learners move to the head of the class” - Zig Ziglar
“Every great teacher is leading and every great leader is teaching” –Dan Hickey
“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph”
“Wise leaders know when to push their own mute button”
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”
“Find lessons every day, every instance, every practice is a teachable moment for team”
“Smooth seas do not make skilled sailors” – African Proverb
“Don’t be a wheelbarrow, push yourself!”
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently” Henry Ford
Today’s world is much different than the World we grew up in, meaning societal norms have changed, places have changed, and people have changed. Everyone knows this, but why haven’t some of us realized that athletes have changed as well?
The ever-changing society we are a part of makes life encouraging and the future exciting. However, it also forces us to continue to learn, grow, and adapt to our environments, nothing we are not capable of and haven’t been doing since the beginning of time!
Earlier this week I came across a great article by Paul Spiegelman about “new school” leadership practices to replace “old school methods” from INC.com, a business oriented website that has a lot of good content related to coaching. Obviously coaching and business have a lot in common.
I encourage all coaches to reflect on their practice and pinpoint any gaps that could be closed between your current methods and the recommended from Spiegelman.
The full article can be found here here and the 10 Recommended Leadership Practices are:
1. Out: Micro-management or the need to control every aspect of your company. In: Empowerment, the ability to give your people some rope--even rope to make mistakes without blame.
2. Out: Management by walking around the office; it is no longer enough to be visible. In: Leadership by watching and listening, engaging in conversation, implementing the ideas presented to you, and distributing the results.
3. Out: Pretending you know everything. You don't have all the answers, so why try to make people think you do? In: Knowing your leadership team members and trusting them. Choose great people who have the right skills and fit the culture. And get out of the way.
4. Out: No mistakes, or a "no tolerance policy" some still think works. In: Learning from mistakes, or being the first to admit an error.
5. Out: The balance sheet drives the business, and informs all other decisions. In: People drive the business, boosting customer loyalty, and profit.
6. Out: Job competency is sufficient. Do the job asked, and you'll survive. In: Recruit "A" players who will go the extra mile. They're out there.
7. Out: Invest in technology to increase productivity. In: Invest in people.
8. Out: Demand change; be very specific about what you want and when. In: Nurture change; your people can come up with the best ideas and you can give them credit for it.
9. Out: Fried food in the cafeteria. In: Wellness in the workplace.
10. Out: Incentives; pay employees more money and they'll do more. In: Rewards; being valued matters more than money.
I have not been as productive of a writer this last month as I’ve wanted to be, in fact I essentially took the month off, but to some extent that comes with the territory of moving across the country and starting a new job. I will be more active this month and I hope everyone’s seasons are going well.
Below are some of the best resources from October. Enjoy!
Highly Recommended: 7 Things Parents do to Make Kids Hate Sport
8 Character Traits That Define Great leaders
Using Storytelling to Motivate Teams
How to Nurture Talent, without Being a Psycho Parent
“Pessimists see the difficulty in every opportunity and optimists see the opportunity in every difficulty”
“Leaders fail when they stop learning”
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn” Benjamin Franklin
I came across this article, 3 Things That Separate Leaders from Managers, on The Business Insider’s Blog and thought I would share it with everyone because there is a lot of carry over to sport and coaching.
1.) Leaders Innovate and Managers Administer
The difference between these two words is immeasurable. Innovating means staying on top of your craft and consciously and constantly searching for what may create positive change. Understanding the purpose behind what you are doing at work and the purpose behind actions and implementing those strategies into your everyday work for the benefit of the whole is how leaders operate.
Managers on the other hand maintain the flow of an already established system or organization.
2.) Leaders Inspire Trust While Managers Maintain Control
Genuine leaders know how to inspire others to perform actions together and appropriately set the pace and tempo for a group. These innate skills are seen in crunch times when a leader stands up for something and what percentage of their group stands beside them. Inciting action in others has a lot to do with trust in your leader and establishing and maintaining good relationships with those on your team and in your organization.
3.) Leaders Ask “What” and “Why” when Managers ask “How” and “When”
The ability to question others about certain situations unveils a leader’s critical thinking skills and ability to challenge others, including superiors, which is an equation for success, change, growth, and success. Asking the right questions to overcome challenges on a team or in different parts of the season can be the difference between success and failure.
Managers ask questions to make sure things go according to plan without any thought toward what success or failure may mean.This information comes from the book On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis for the full Business Insider article visit this link: http://www.businessinsider.com/3-things-that-separate-leaders-from-managers-2012-9
Responsible Sports Podcast with Jerry York
Highly Recommended: Nick Saban Speech from Alabama Football Camp 2011
3 Types of Educators
Andy Reid’s 4 Principles of Coaching and Life
Essentials for a Kid’s Sports Bag
Video on Proper Hydration for Sport from SportsMD
Early Development does NOT Equate to Higher Peak Performance
“Good coaches motivate, great coaches resonate”
“Fear, uncertainty, and discomfort are your compass to success”
“Focus on future possibilities, not past mistakes”
“We are all something, but none of us is everything”
“When you make a mistake remember the 3 A’s: Admit, Apologize, and Advance”
“You must not only aim right, but draw your bow with all your might” Henry David Thoreau
“The strength of the team is each individual member, the strength of each individual member is the team”
In our final segment of Breaking Down Balyi, we will delve into the 7 Stages of Long-Term Athlete Development the Canadian Sport for Life program as identified and define specific qualities of each. I hope you have enjoyed this post and like the final segment.
Active Start (0-6 Years)
At this age, children should be introduced to unstructured play incorporating a wide variety of movements, especially what Balyi terms the ABC’s of movement which are agility, balance, and coordination. These skills serve as a strong foundation for essential movement skills later in their development.
Many of these skills can be introduced in creative, game and story-like situations that will also stimulate some aspects of cognitive development. These skills should also be introduced progressively to promote social skills, emotional control, confidence building, better sleep, and reduced stress.
Just like building a house, the active start period is important for a strong foundation.
FUNdamentals (Girls 6-8 Boys 6-9)
In the FUNdamental Stage the ABC’s of movement should be a focus of development. Multi-sport competition and formal competition can also be introduced at a minimal level as long as programs are still focused on enjoyment of the game.
When deciding which sports a child should participate in it is important to include a variety of activities and ask the child what they are interested in trying. If they lose interest do not force them to continue participation the following season.
Continuing development of the basics, while being introduced to some structure.
Learn to Train (Girls 8-11 Boys 9-12)
Children are now generally more ready to begin more formalized training toward athletics although this training should be centered around general, not specific sport skills. Another great rule of thumb is to include more practices than competition. Increased exposure to competition or specialization at this age can lead to burnout and be detrimental to later stages of development which are common issues of youth sport at this age as outlined in our first Breaking Down Balyi Post.
General skills will later produce exciting thrills.
Train to Train (Girls 11-15 Boys 12-16)
This age is defined by the relative growth spurts of children and the onset of puberty. At this point in development athletes can begin to consolidate their sport-specific skills and tactics. There is also a period of increased fitness that occurs in this stage and is important to incorporate into training as discussed in the second Breaking Down Balyi segment we posted.
This is the stage Balyi says makes or breaks athletes. A lot of times at this stage athletes are starting to show promising signs of earlier development stages, but cannot succumb to increased competitions, they need to stay the course and continue to focus on perfecting sport skills over tactics, which is the secondary focus. Additionally, if athletes are to compete as lifelong athletes this stage is also very important to keep their motivations high.
Stay the course, skill development first!
Train to Compete (Girls 15-21 Boys 16-23)
Athletes at this stage have now chosen to specialize in one particular sport or area with the mindset to excel at the highest level possible which means committing oneself to both high-volume and high-intensity training the majority of the year.
A huge focus on nutrition, injury prevention, performance training, and sport psychology also come into play as a means to perform at higher levels. Formal competition increases and a periodized training plan should be implemented for specific organization of the athlete’s training program.
Train to Win (Girls 18+ Boys 19+)
These are now full-time athletes determined to perform at their best and achieve prominence in their specific sport through national and international competition. Although skills can still be developed, they will eventually reach their full genetic potential and then work to maintain an optimal skillset for performance.
World class training facilities, coaches, training programs, and equipment are necessary to continue performing at the top of their sport.
Active for Life (Any Age)
The opportunity to reach this stage ideally exists for every sport participant at each previous level. In this stage, participants not only participate in sport, but have lifelong enjoyment for a variety of sport and recreational opportunities.
Technically you can enter this stage at any age and participants are not interested in achieving physical literacy or competing for the distinction of winning or achieving prominence in their sport.
This stage can also have significance in promoting and preserving sport for life to future generations.
If you have followed long enough you may remember me talking about coaching philosophies and personalities using the distinction of "anchors vs sails".
I came across a great poem today in a leadership book that was similar and I was inclined to share.
The poem's author is unknown, but the words contained really speak to the kind of person you can be in your life including all of your relationships, in your work, with your community, and even your teaching/coaching philosophy!
I watched them tear a building down;
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a mighty heave and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a side wall fell.
I said to the foreman, “Are these mean as skilled
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just a common laborer is all I need.
And I can wreck in a day or two
What it took the builder a year to do.”
And I thought to myself as I went my way,
Just which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care
Creating things by the rule and square,
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the town
Content with the reputation of tearing down?