I always like to pass on a good book when I run across one and "The Coach's Season" by Jason Fry is excellent. My first thought is that a young coach just starting out in the business or a coach who just grabbed their first head coaching gig would find this an amazing resource. But it's also invaluable for the veteran coach who is always looking to improve their program or take it to another level. I would add that while this is a must-have for high school coaches, there is great information to benefit coaches at other levels from junior high school to college.
The structure of the book is unique in that Jason interviewed over 100 of the best high school coaches in the country to get an amazing variety of answers to key questions.
This is the first section of the book with Q&A's with 34 high school coaches. Here are just some of the sample questions that are asked of the coaches:
How do you balance family with team life during the season?
What advice do you have for a first- or second-year coach?
What did your pre-season preparation look like with your staff?
What are three responsibilities you have given your assistants?
What is one thing you do differently from others?
Again, the reader is getting answers to these questions from the best of the best.
The second section has a list of Q&A's from 30 outstanding high school coaches. These questions have a lot to do with preparation and game organization:
How are you incorporating player development in the season?
What adjustments do you make at halftime?
What are roles do your assistants have in practice as well as games?
What is one thing a coach can do to...
...learn each day?
...grow their feeder systems?
An example of a great question in this section is "What do you do during the month of January to improve team morale and keep spirits high?" Legendary coach Don Showalter responded with these gems:
--Cut practice time to an hour and a half or even an hour as January progresses
--Take a practice or two and play whiffle ball or dodge ball for the last 30 minutes
--Allow your players to plan a practice session and have the coaches sit and watch practice
--Take the team bowling, to a college or NBA basketball game, or have a pizza party
--Work on skills only for a couple of practice.
There are responses from 29 outstanding coaches in the third section which deals largely with how you are growing and improving your program in the off-season. Some great Q&A's include:
What are your priorities during the off-season?
What are you seeking to learn in the off-season?
How do you prepare players for new roles?
What does your evaluation as a team/player at the end of the season look like?
There is also a brief section at the end of resources such as player evaluation forms for the off-season
One of the bonuses of the book I enjoyed is that all 117 coaches that were interviewed gave their favorite motivational quote -- that alone makes the book invaluable. Click here for more information.
Monday, July 15, 2019
Monday, July 1, 2019
The following is a great passage from "What Drives Winning" by Brett Ledbetter and makes a profound point about opportunities where we create value without being involved in the actual action. It's the "time between actions." What is your self-talk like at those opportunities? Are you focusing on what's next or what just happened?
College golf can teach us a great lesson. I was working with a high-level college team and I asked the team a few questions:
Me: How long does it take for you to complete a swing?
Team: One second.
Me: How many shots will you take in a normal round?
Me: How long does a normal round take to play?
Team: 5 hours.
Me: Let me get this straight, you’re only swinging a golf club for one minute and twelve seconds out of 300 minutes?
Think about that for a second. The great golfers are the ones who can manage the other two hundred, ninety-eight minutes, and forty-eight seconds the best.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Yesterday I shared some bullet points from Ed Molitor I grabbed at the "Unleashing Greatness" seiminar and today wanted to do the same with the many nuggets I grabbed from Don Yaeger. I've known Don for over 20 years including one season where he spent the year with our LSU team and he is sincerely one of the most genuine people I have met that cares deeply about helping people -- a great writer and a great speaker. Here's what I learned from him back in April:
BEING A GREAT TEAMMATE
Cubs culture - “fun” - disco ball in locker room for post game wins—relieve pressure
Theo Epstein: Must have the guts to have uncomfortable conversations — “truth”
Great teammates are…
David Ross asked his Braves teammates and they wrote on chalkboard
“Ultimate servant teachers”
Ross played only 35% of the time in 4 years with the Braves. 400 games he did not play
Would be on the top step high-fiving teammates between innings
50% of MLB wanted to sign him — a back up catcher
“Glue guy” — created value
Started 4 times in the World Series
DY: “Being a great teammate is a learned behavior.”
Glue guy: Shane Battier — 2-time NBA Teammate of the Year
DY: “Being a great teammate is hard work.”
Asked Becky Hammonds about some of great accomplishments and she replied that she had had 11 different players that were all-starts on her team. About taking teammates with you.
Upon her first meeting with Jayne Appeal, Hammonds said: “I’ve studied your game and I know how I’m going to make you better.”
When manager Joe Madden first took over the Cubs he had t-shirts made that said “Try Not To Suck.”
DY: “Be invaluable without being the most valuable.”
Epstein: “My great fear is that we are more driven by analytics and guys like David Ross get lost.”
DY: “Celebrate great teammates.”
WHAT MAKES A GREAT TEAM GREAT
Camaraderie - “I appreciate you.”
The key to USA Basketball — they understand their why
Success leaves clues
Successful people that Don has studied all had one common request — share with us what you see in us and what your learned form others.
Enron listed “integrity” as their major core value. There’s a different between declaring it and living it.
Culture = Behaviors
Behaviors = Habits
Habits = Success
DY: “Culture happens by design or default.”
...values, attitudes, standards
...acceptable to team environment
...common language of your team
Coach K: Adapt and embraced change...understand your “why”
Awe Factor: USA Basketball (Tennessee & UConn)
Jerry Colangelo: Wanted consistency in coaching USA
Coach K—assistant on Dream Team...great coach...began at West Point
Coach K in taking over USA Basketball: “walk in and do a listening tour.”
Coach K asked USA players to live, sleep, eat like soldiers for 3 days
Create “feel it” moments — Dog Tag Story
2012 London—Arlington National Cemetery with USA Team
“Know why” vs. ‘Feel why”
#1 motivation for millennials — work where it matters. Pay was ranked #6.
Generation Z — “feel it” moments
Make-A-Wish — mission movement.
3 Action Items
1. Ask your team the question
2. Create feel it moments
3. Think of impact
WHAT MAKES THE GREAT INDIVIDUAL GREAT
Michael Jordan Camp — $1.5 million for Make-A-Wish
Key to MJ — hated to lose.
Got up and shot at 4 AM the day after he got cut
When inducted to Hall of Fame, invited 7 kids from his high school team that beat him out
DY: “Loss is not a failure until you make it an excuse.”
4 Threats of Greatness
1. Greatness is available to us all...do common things uncommonly well. Do extra
2. It’s not physical aptitude but mental, emotional and spiritual discipline
3. They are all extremely coachable
4. Greatness required proper “nutrition” — what are you feeding yourself?
Warrick Dunn struggled with depression. Message from his mom: “Don’t be bitter — get better.”
Cut twice — never played HS ball
Goal - own an automotive shop
John Wooden: you will never outwork your inner circle.
DY: “Your responsibility is to grow your inner circle. Know the value of associations.”
DY: “Be prepared for change before change is needed.”
Coach K: Had to change within before One & Done
Rooms One & Dones with an Upperclassmen
DY: “My life changed when I started seeking out mentors.”
Understand the importance of a shared vocabulary.
All Blacks Rugby: “Stab me in the belly, not in the back.”
Lesson — Story — Application
DY: “If you learn and share it’s a good day.”
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
In April, I had the privilege of attending an "Unleashing Greatness" seminar that was co-hosted by Ed Molitor and Don Yaeger. It was a one-day conference on the campus of Texas A&M and a tablet full of notes later I wanted to share with you just a few of the great bullet points I got from Ed on topics such as leadership, culture, accountability and recruiting.
The 3 pillars to Authenticity
Start with yourself — tell yourself the truth
EM: “Get access to the truest version of yourself.”
What are your core values? Think of great accomplishments...what values show up in your best moments.
Challenge yourself to come up with 3 personal core values.
EM: “Leadership is not so much about solving a problem as it is finding a solution. It’s a team mindset.”
Give ‘em a reason to look up to you...something that’s not on the stat sheet.
When you ask for help it…
...shows respect for the person giving the advice
...shows respect for the experience, skill, insight
...shows respect and trust by making yourself vulnerable
EM: “A team is a direct reflection of it’s head coach.”
Three concepts for authenticity:
1. Courage to say what you stand for
2. Able to behave in a way that’s aligned to your values
3. Able to recognize you need help
CULTURE OF SACRIFICE
Culture: shared values, beliefs and behaviors
Bad/poor cultures are also contagious.
“cultus” to pay for positive
Worth fighting for
“Believe in” vs. “Buy in”
Safety — not soft
Vision—Compelling (singleness of purpose)
Self-discipline drives your self-control
Self-control drives your self-confidence
Self-confidence drives your self-motivation
Recruiting question: “Will they leave their jersey in a better position.”
How do people treat others than can not help them with their goals
EM: “Be your own accountability partner.”
What is my process?
What skills do I need to be working on by getting reps?
When is the last time I ran my feedback loop?
EM: “There’s a difference between intent and behavior.”