Tuesday, September 5, 2017


During one of the stops along the way during the July recruiting period, Joni Taylor told me of Tim Elmore and his work in communicating and leading millennials also know as the Y Generation.  She told me of his book series titled "Habitudes."  She had so much passion in her voice I went back to the hotel that night and researched it.  Joni is someone I greatly admire and respect so when she says "you gotta check it out," I did.

I went to Elmore's website and purchased a series a books titled the "Coaching Millennial Athletes Bundle" which included the book "Generation iY."  Elmore refers the Y Generation as "iY Generation" because of their nature of their information gathering and communication through things such as their iPhones and iPads.

The book was amazing and is an absolute must read for those looking to maximize their ability to communicate and teach today's student athletes.  I took 30 pages of notes from the book. 

Elmore goes in great detail to explain how this generation has evolved and then explains the positive and negative ramifications.  Better yet, he gives some concrete guidelines to assist us as coaches. 

For example, how important are our words and messages that we deliver to our team?  As Elmore explains:

"We need to remember that every time we stand in front of our own kids or a group of students, they are silently asking: Why should I listen to you? What do you have to offer me that’s different than the other options in my life?"
Understanding this requires thought and preparation when communication.

The most profound statement from Elmore and one that so many of us have a difficult time swallowing is:
"To connect and influence Generation iY, we’ll likely have to adjust to them."
Another concept that Elmore delves into is the one of the helicopter parent:
"Too many parents invest too much energy in protecting their children, and forget that their number-one job is to prepare their children for life without them. Parenting is ultimate leadership. A parent is the ultimate mentor in the life of their child."
And while this is true, we also see instances of the same philosophy and culture within athletic teams.  Sometimes we as coaches are swift to judge parents without looking that we are guilty of the same sins.

What we must understand is regardless of the facts, that we have inherited a different and unique generation to coach, the responsibility still relies on us to help steer them in the right direction.  I often speak at clinics and one of the things that I talk about is "don't be that coach that talks about how difficult it is to coach this generation."  In all honesty, all coaches could make this statement -- including the ones that coached us.  Be the answer.  Or as Elmore states:
"If we’re serious about transforming the world, we have to be serious about investing in this next generation.  What we do today as adults will no doubt determine who they will become as adults."

As I said, I took 30 pages of notes from this book.  I fully believe I am going to be a better coach for having read it and that's a powerful thing to say about a book.  In closing, here are a few more thoughts from Elmore on teaching:

Teaching must supply not only information, but inspiration for students.
Teaching must do more than measure a kid’s memory; it must motivate a kid’s imagination.
Teaching must cover not just the facts of history but the feelings that history produced.
Teaching should not just be about increasing intelligence, but also about increasing innovation.
Teaching cannot only be about what to think, but how to think.