John Wooden, legendary former UCLA basketball coach, did a TED Talk before he passed away about how to find success. I have watched it many times, and even shown it to a few teams I have worked with.Read More
The research doesn't support the idea that kids need to specialize to be great, scientifically or antidotally. Plus, if most kids are specializing in a sport at an early age, and most kids don't get scholarships or get to play at the professional level, then maybe don't do what most kids do.Read More
When I messed up, and my pity party was over, I would look up in the stands and make eye contact with my dad. He would smile, give me a thumbs up, and that is all I needed from him.
That is all the kids need--your presence. The rest is just noise.Read More
Our voice as “Coach” stays with our athletes long after they hand in their jersey for the last time. Our words echo inside their brains, the good and the bad. For example, I remember when my high school volleyball coach spent over an hour with me after practice preparing me for a job interview and sharing tips on how to dress and what to say. I also remember when my eighth-grade baseball coach yelled at me from the dugout to “just throw fu$&%ing strikes” when I struggled to get the ball over the plate.Read More
As adults, we have a responsibility to allow our children to be children. Why do so many parents feel the need to fill every weekend with tournaments and training at the cost of letting a child be a child? What about family time? What about letting kids hang out with their friends? These are a problem that is only being exacerbated by many people in youth sports, specifically the club coaches who promise that taking a weekend off, much less a few weeks, would be severely detrimental to the development of that player. That is just wrong thinking.Read More
My dad passed away on Monday. He was a good man. He was a father to more than his sons and a friend to more than a few. This is one of my favorite moments as his oldest son.Read More
The whistle around your neck is not just to get the attention of the team; it is permission to be one of the most critical parts of a child's emotional, social, and physical development. Take pride in your position, and give your athletes more than just a playbook, give them an experience.
You know first impressions matter. You want them to respect you. You want them to trust you. You want them to want to come to practice and give everything they have.
Doubt creeps in, bringing along questions you know are ridiculous, but you entertain them anyway.Read More
Former South African Rugby National Coach Peter DeVilliers leans in, piercing me with his eyes while the echo of his words bounces around in my head.
A coach is merely the extension of a child’s dream.Read More
“LEATH! LEATH!” I hear my replacement yelling my name. I jog to the sidelines and report to my position coach. He is furious. At 5’9, my defensive back coach played college football at the same position I was just relieved of. I prepare myself for a wicked tongue lashing, but I get nothing.Read More
Every season, no matter the level of the sport, a different team shows up. Though the athlete could be coming from the same school as the year before, every season has its own culture and feeling. 6th graders are now 7th graders, juniors are now seniors, so on and so forth. A lot changes in a young athlete’s life between seasons, and as coaches we should not assume fundamentals are as sharp as they were the year before, or that the athletes are coming with prior knowledge.Read More
I think a great myth in America is that sports build character. This is false.Read More
“As for you, my fine friend, you are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You are confusing courage with wisdom. Back where I come from, we have men who are called heroes. Once a year, they take their fortitude out of mothballs and parade it down the main street of the city, and they have no more courage than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got: a medal. Therefore, for Meritorious Conduct, Extraordinary Valor, Conspicuous Bravery against the Wicked Witches, I award you the triple cross. You are now a member of the legion of Courage.”
-The Lion formerly known as "Cowardly"
As parents and coaches, we are in the business of creating adults, so the more we can work together, the better off our future adults will be.Read More
Teach your young athletes to know the difference between yelling to hurt and yelling to help and keep your own emotions in check. Use yelling as a tool and use it sparingly so when you need to get their attention on something important, it doesn’t sound like everything else you yelled to them.Read More
The focus of the coach should be on creating confident, fundamentally sound athletes during the week. Then, on gameday, let them play. Give the athletes the tools they need and let them build a victory. When the game starts, it is less about coaching anyway and more about managing. If your young athletes can master the basics and they truly understand their job on each play, then you are way ahead of most youth football coaches I come across who focus more on tricking the other coach than on developing sound football players.Read More
There are not many things more satisfying to me than a smiling baby, an excited child, or a youth victory dance. This whole situation took place in a matter of thirty seconds. It could have been easily prevented by mom reaching down and zipping up his jacket for him, but she paused and let him do it. Had she intervened, the little boy would not have had the joy of triumph after the struggle. But mom, in her great wisdom, allowed her son to do it on his own. Though I am sure it was difficult to see her son struggle, the payoff of victory outweighed the difficulty of failure.Read More
Today, I caught a Pokémon. On a walk with one of my summer staff, I pulled out my phone and fired up the PokemonGo app. "What are you doing?" asked Will. "Connecting to my students," I answered." An hour later, after I had a 10-year-old explain to me what I just did, I used it as an example of Followership. I now had 15 uninterested 11-year-olds on the edge of their seats because their teacher understood a little about their world.Read More
Working at a school with students from over 80 different countries brings forth interesting questions about language that often have nothing to do with leadership, the subject they are in my class to learn. A tennis player from Belgium was confused on the difference between the words price and cost. I pulled out a calculator. “You go to the store and buy a television for $399. Let's say you make $21 an hour and you watch 21 hours a week, which amounts to just 3 hours a day. Instead of working during the time you watch television, or creating something of value, you are missing out on $441 a week. That is $1,764 every single month. After 12 months, you have spent $21,168 watching television 3 hours a day."
The price of the television was $399. The cost of watching it instead of creating something of value cost you $21,168.
His response: “Televisions are expensive.”
Toward the end of every season, I schedule a "kids vs parents" game. A great time to do this is when the team is not doing so well and needs to have some fun, or at the end of the year party. There are many different ways to do this. Here are some tips to make it go smoothly:Read More