Sunday, November 12, 2017


Some great thoughts from Coach Nick Saban when asked after Alabama's hard fought 31-24 victory on the road at Mississippi State about the game being harder than he wanted it to be:

"Sometimes you need hard.  If we're going to beat really good teams, if we're going to be able to compete, we've got to learn how to compete in close games.  Where every player counts...where you've got to play every play for 60 minutes in the game...every third down is important.  There's lots of opportunities in critical situations in the game for players to make plays.  And we don't always have that when we win 49-0."

Sunday, November 5, 2017


From time to time I will take the opportunity to review and recommend a book to coaches.  I don't do this lightly.  Having said that, there are few books I would recommend more strongly to those coaching and teaching today than "iY Generation: Secrets to Connecting with Today's Teens and Young People in a Digital Age."  The book, written by Tim Elmore, was brought to my attention by Georgia Head Coach, Joni Taylor.

How good was the book? I took 41 typed pages of notes!  I spent a couple of days on the road with Mike Neighbors talking about the book and the challenge of teaching millennials.  I went as far as to invite Mike to speak at our Coaching Academy this fall on the subject.

P.S. - If you haven't already subscribed to Elmore's email blog you are missing out on information that can be extremely beneficial to helping your team!

Listening to Buzz Williams this summer at Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, he made the comment, "Don't be that coach that complains about how difficult it is to coach this generation."  His challenge was for us to adjust...think outside the box in an attempt to be better teachers.

Elmore's book, in my opinion is an absolute must read for anyone coaching and teaching.  He goes into great detail as to how and why today's young people are wired the way they are today.  He then gives thoughts and concepts to help us to bridge the gap and maximize out ability to impact our players and teams.

A couple of quotes that Elmore opens with sums it up completely:

“If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the next generation.”
-Chinese Proverb

“Our children are messages we send to a generation we will never see.”

Again, I took 41 pages of notes -- here's brief section that speaks what we are seeing in the iY Generation:

Observation #1: They Want to Belong Before they Believe
Elmore states that this generation isn't one uses facts before making decisions.  In fact, he says, "hey would rather join and belong to a small affinity group before they embrace the beliefs of that group."

Observation #2: They Want an Experience Before an Explanation
The book uses an analogy from Leonard Sweet in describing today's generation.  Sweet says they are "EPIC" -- Experimental...Participatory...Image-Rich...Connected.  Elmore states that to effectively teach that we must understand that a lecture won't do it anymore.  We must connect to them by capturing their imaginations. Elmore says: "So instead of asking, 'What do I want to say?' We should ask ourselves, 'How can I say it creatively and expe-rientially?.”

Observation #3: They Want a Cause Before They want a Course
Quite simply Elmore says "If you want to seize the attention of students today, plan to give them a reason for why they need to listen to your words."

Observation #4: They Want a Guide on the Side Before They Want a Sage on the Stage
Elmore explains that today's youth aren't really looking for experts..."especially if they are plastic or untouchable."

A strong example he gave? "When students were recently asked about their heroes, for the first in over 20 years they did not list an athlete at the top of the list. Their number one response was Mom or Dad. They hunger for more relationship than for information—even relevant information."

Observation #5: They Want to Play before They Pay
Elmore also delves into the instant gratification syndrome that many millennials have -- the microwave philosophy of now.

From Elmore: "I find many characteristics of Generation iY healthy and fascinating. However one may cause trouble for them later in life. For students today, almost everything comes instantly. They don’t like waiting for anything. 'Pay now, play later' mentality tends to be foreign.  Results have to come quickly, or they may lose interest."

Observation #6: They Want to Use but Not Be Used by Others
Elmore also points out another characteristic of iY Generation: "Millennials love to use any means possible to get what they want—the internet, cell phones, IMs, or purchasing music for their iPods. At the same time, they tend to be very weary of anyone they suspect of trying to use them."

Observation #7: They want a Transformation, Not Merely a Touch
What the millennials see today: "The expectations of students get higher and higher with each decade."

One other statement from Elmore in this section that is critical for us as teachers to understand: "To connect and influence Generation iY, we’ll likely have to adjust to them."