The following content is provided by Glazier Drive
Coach Adam Mathieson is a football coach and athletic director. We believe that his message is applicable to all programs and all sports.
The following content is provided by Glazier Drive
Coach Adam Mathieson is a football coach and athletic director. We believe that his message is applicable to all programs and all sports.
A Pre-Season Note to the Student-Athlete
Dr. Cory Dobbs, The Academy for Sport Leadership
People want to matter. Every member of your team has a yearning to matter. Unfortunately it’s almost guaranteed that a teammate or two, on your team right now, feels like they don’t matter.
Mattering is a motive. When we feel that others depend on us, we know we matter and respond accordingly. When others are interested in us, we feel like we matter and enjoy the benefits of their attention. And when others are concerned with our future, we feel like we matter and appreciate their guidance.
Mattering matters. Mattering is a powerful influence on our actions.
Do you promote mattering or do you keep people on the periphery? Draw a series of three concentric circles, expanding from small to large (you know, like waves moving outward), on a piece of paper. Place your name in the middle circle. In the next circle outward place the names of those on your team that you spend more time with. Then on the outermost circle place the names of those you spend little time with. This outer circle is the margin. These are teammates that might matter less to you. Do the same for playing time: Starters in the inner circle, bench players in the outer circle—on the margins. Often the patterns (of status?) reveal an in-group and an out-group, with those in the out-group excluded from close interpersonal relationships with those in the in-group.
Marginality matters too. It’s just that living life on the margin sucks. When we marginalize others they’re likely to feel like they don’t matter. In fact, they’ll probably tell you they know they don’t matter. Those on the margins usually have ample evidence that informs them that they don’t matter. They come to see the world from a perspective that they have little to contribute. And this is very dangerous.
Like mattering, marginality too is a powerful influence on our actions.
When I speak to college teams I always ask the group of student-athletes if there was someone on their high school team (their senior season in high school) that did not play in games. Or if they did play, it was the “marginal” minutes when the outcome of the game was already determined thereby the playing time didn’t really “matter.” I’ve yet to find a group of collegiate student-athletes that isn’t curious as to why the last player on the bench was glad to be there. It’s common to hear, “Ya, I’m not sure why they stuck around.”
Chances are, college or high school, you’ve got players on your team that are of lesser talent, perhaps “marginal” talent at best to qualify to be on the squad. It’s easy for the star player to see that he or she matters. They know that others depend on them, are interested in helping them, and are concerned with their future. Their contributions to the success of the team are quite visible. They matter. And of course they should.
We get that.
However, why is it others don’t matter? Do you really want to marginalize people?
Sports participation involves many diverse interpersonal relationships. Whether you are a top player or a role player, you come into contact with many people. Developing quality interpersonal relationships with all of your teammates is a valuable team goal. When you relate to others in a positive way, they’ll feel like they matter. And mattering does matters.
So, here’s the big question you need to answer. Ask yourself “what in my world am I willing to notice?
So often, those that are marginalized go unnoticed—that’s why they’re on the margins.
If you want to accomplish something worthwhile this year, make sure no one on your team goes unnoticed. Set the standard. Let others know they matter.
About Cory Dobbs, Ed.D.
Cory Dobbs is the founder of The Academy for Sport Leadership and a nationally recognized thought leader in the areas of leadership and team building. Cory is an accomplished researcher of human experience. Cory engages in naturalistic inquiry seeking in-depth understanding of social phenomena within their natural setting.
Cory’s coaching background includes experience at the NCAA DII, NJCAA, and high school levels of competition. After a decade of research and development Cory unleashed the groundbreaking Teamwork Intelligence program for student-athletics. Teamwork Intelligence illuminates the process of designing an elite team by using the 20 principles and concepts along with the 8 roles of a team player he’s uncovered while performing research.
Cory has worked with professional athletes, collegiate athletic programs, and high schools teaching leadership and team building as a part of the sports experience and education process. As a consultant and trainer Dr. Dobbs has worked with Fortune 500 organizations such as American Express, Honeywell, and Avnet, as well as medium and small businesses. Dr. Dobbs taught leadership and organizational change at Northern Arizona University, Ohio University, and Grand Canyon University.
“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will care.” -Your Student-Athlete The world of coaching is changing. In Coaching for Leadership you’ll discover the foundations for designing, building, and sustaining a leadership focused culture for building a high-performance team. To find out more about and order Sport Leadership Books authored by Dr. Dobbs including Coaching for Leadership, click this link: The Academy for Sport Leadership Books
This post was provided by Coach Dawn Writes
By Dawn Redd-Kelly,
If you’re not happy with the culture of your team, how are you working daily to change it around? Here are five Tips
As was said over at Leadership Freak, “Toxic environments are the result of neglecting culture-building and tolerating toxicity.”
When we find ourselves with a negative team culture, it’s easy to blame the athletes, but we hold some accountability as well. We’ve both neglected the culture and tolerated the things that are counter to our beliefs.
So what now?
5 quick tips for building a culture of positivity:
Be a culture hawk for your team! Not only will your athletes enjoy coming to practice more each day, I’d bet your outcomes in the win/loss column will also turn from negative to positive.
Today’s athletes are still motivated by the same things. What has changed is the amount of competition there is for the athletes’ attention
This post provided by the Coaches Network
By Ron McKeefery
Ron McKeefery, MA, CSCS*D, MSCC, is Vice President of Performance and Education for PLAE. Previously, he served as a strength and conditioning coach at the professional and collegiate levels, most recently as the Director of Strength and Conditioning at Eastern Michigan University. Named the 2008 Under Armour Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year and 2016 NSCA Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year, he is the founder of the popular Iron Game Chalk Talk podcast and the author of CEO Strength Coach
We have all heard coaches who reminisce about the “good old days,” when sports were much harder and athletes cared more and were more disciplined. That mindset has never resonated with me. Having coached for multiple decades, I believe athletes are still motivated by the same things. They still want to win, still love their teammates, and still want to make themselves and their families proud.
What has changed is the amount of external information, people, and technology competing for players’ time and attention. As a result, strength coaches have had to work harder to get them to buy in.
It would be easy to blame athletes for this difficulty. However, it really comes down to the fact that, often, we are not often prepared for the challenge. This article provides a game plan for connecting with today’s athletes and capturing their time and attention.
The framework I use comes from the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. In it, the authors present the example of a man riding an elephant down a path to demonstrate the components of change. The man symbolizes the rational side, the elephant the motivational side, and the path the situational world. They state that to bring about change, you must first direct the rider, then motivate the elephant, and, finally, shape the path. In this week’s blog, I’ll focus on directing the rider.
In a perfect world, getting a certain result from athletes would be easy—we’d tell them to do something, and they’d do it. But we don’t live in a perfect world. If the rider (rational side) on top of the elephant (motivational side) tells it to go right, and the elephant wants to go left, it’s going left.
Translating this to working with athletes, we can tell them to be on time for training, go to bed early, and eat the right things. Yet, if we do not guide them on how to put those directives into action, they can end up confused and unproductive. As a result, they might opt for sleeping in, partying all night, and eating pizza instead.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you stop trying to get the results you want. Rather, you simply have to reinforce what athletes should do and how they should do it. Here are three ways to provide this direction:
Focus on the positive: When we want an athlete to change, we often tell them what not to do. This positive-negative asymmetry can cause them to lose focus and ignore the instructions completely.
A better option is to lead the athlete to the desired solution or outcome. Instead of telling them, “Don’t do this,” demonstrate the proper way of doing something or point out someone else doing it correctly.
Keep it simple: Strength coaches are notorious for killing ourselves to come up with complex solutions to our teams’ problems. But this only confuses the athletes. Simplifying the solution gives them a better understanding of what they should do and how.
For example, early in my career, I had an issue with football players being late for training or missing sessions. To combat this, I created 10 different lifting groups that met throughout the day. But despite me working 10 straight hours and eating my lunch on the weightroom floor so I could supervise them all, I still had athletes arriving late or skipping their groups.
I realized that my error was giving the players too many options. As a result, athletes were scattered all over the place at any given time—some would be in class, some would be eating cereal in their underwear, some would be asleep in bed, and some would be lifting. Compared to getting your butt kicked in the weightroom, the other three options sounded much more appealing.
It wasn’t until I created two lifting groups—offense/defense or power/skill—and had one group meet while the other lifted that our tardiness and absence issues vanished. Having all of the players in the building at the same time eliminated athletes’ excuses for missing training and made it cool to be where the team was.
Point to a destination: Goal setting is not a new tactic in strength and conditioning circles, but I’ve noticed the approach has shifted from dream building to dream killing. I have witnessed many goal-setting meetings where a strength and conditioning coach asked a player for their current numbers and then proceeded to set an arbitrary benchmark for that training period—often cautioning the athlete not to think too big as they set their goals. What is missed here is a great opportunity to “define good goals” and cater to the athlete’s rational side.
For example, a great chunk of my experience has been working with football players who aspired to the NFL. I have coached hundreds of draft picks, so it’s easy for me to tell whether an athlete has the potential to make it. But if I tell a prospect flat out that he doesn’t have a chance, he’ll tune out everything else I say. Instead, I use the previous year’s NFL combine results as the definition of a “good goal” for the athlete to aspire to. This gives him an idea of what needs to be done to reach his objective and how hard he will need to work to get there. It also shows that I can help him achieve his dream.
Editor’s Note from Brian: This article was written by a basketball coach, but I feel that the principles are applicable to coaching any sport.
This article was contributed by:
I have been asked on multiple occasions on what my rules for my classroom or team are. My response is always the same, we do not have rules, we have standards. From reasoning to prescription practices, you will be able to decide for yourself which one is actually more beneficial after digesting the information provided below.
There are major differences between the two terms, even in their simplest of forms, the definitions. Provided below are the results for the two words if you were to search for them on Google.
Rule – one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere.
Standard – a level of quality or attainment. An idea or thing used as a measure, norm or model in comparative evaluations.
By definition alone you can see that rules are very forceful and demeaning. In fact, if you were to reference a thesaurus for synonyms for words used in the definition, you would also find words such as “command”, “controlling” and “dominant”. Individuals are forced to bow DOWN and abide by a set of rules they may not even agree with. On the contrary, if you did a similar search for standards you would find words such as “character”, “individuality”, “genius”, and “virtue”. In this case, individuals rise UP in the situation to increase their likelihood of success. Thus, by definition alone, rules are negative, while standards are positive.
During an interview, Coach Mike Krzyzewski once described his reasoning for use of standards instead of rules by stating…
“When I was at West Point, we had a bunch of rules, all of which I didn’t agree with. Usually when you’re ruled, you never agree with all the rules, you just abide by them. But if you have standards and if everyone contributes to the way you’re going to do things, you end up owning how you do things.”
Take a moment to reflect upon this statement with the provided example. You are abiding by the rules just because it’s what you are supposed to do. So instead of running the floor with reasoning, maybe because the team you are playing against enjoys slowing the pace, you jog because it’s January and you are tired of running due to the rule. Or, my favorite, for the purpose of “because I said so”. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, the reasoning provided above is far from being bizarre or a foreign concept. Knowing the why is the first step to buying into anything! You rarely spend your money on products without any reasoning behind it, why would you spend your time, something that has no return policy, on buying into a rule that makes no sense to you?
I’ll answer this one for you…you wouldn’t! What makes you think that your athletes will? Here are the positives and the negatives of changing this ONE statement. Negatives, you are no longer able to be lazy and some of your views that you thought were good, may actually reveal themselves to be bad. Positives, you and everyone else involved will gain perspective and reasoning, you will work harder, you will increase your program’s comprehension and you will eliminate bad habits/mentalities that were potentially holding you back. All by simply providing reasoning and answering the why.
While knowing the why is the first step when it comes to buying into anything, that does not mean it stops after day one. You will have to continue to reinforce the why on a regular basis. Your standards should also be relevant, realistic, have background data to support them, be developing and have consequences.
Relevant. The easiest way to make standards relevant is to gain input from your athletes. It is very easy to look up standards from other great teams and attempt to implement them. However, as Coach K said before in his interview, “if everyone contributes to the way you’re going to do things, you end up owning how you do things.” Ownership cannot be understated. When people don’t live up to the standards that they put into place, you can hold them accountable for both the decision they made to set the standard and the decision they made to not live up to it. Coaches, support staff and athletes alike.
Realistic and Background Data. I put these two in the same section because they work harmoniously. Your standards must be realistic for your players to live up to. If your team is young and struggling with turnovers, don’t set your standard to zero turnovers. It’s unrealistic to expect someone to go from 10 turnovers in a game to none. You wouldn’t expect a beginner weightlifter to squat two and half times their body weight, so why should your basketball player be any different? With that, you must provide some background data not only to hold them accountable, but to provide them with a standard to live up to.
The best example I can provide is drill work. One drill we do consists of athletes getting two jump shots and a lay-up in during one trip down the floor. It is a continuous transition drill that lasts three minutes long. Each year our standard is set by the numbers they achieve while running through the drill. If they don’t live up to the standards there is a consequence. The JV players and Varsity players have different standards. However, they are given the standards that are used for local collegiate programs as well. This leads into developing.
Developing. Once your players reach the standard consistently, it is time to raise the bar. In doing so, you promote a growth environment as opposed to a simple living at status quo. But remember to keep it realistic. What does that look like? If your team’s standard for “shooting drill A” is 13 and they reach 15, then the new standard is 15. If your squat workout this week is 3×10 at 200lbs, next week it’s 4×10 at 200lbs or 3×10 at 205lbs.
Consequences. While it is the least favorite portion of most people’s programs, consequences are essential to growth. You can talk goals, rules or standards until you’re blue in the face, but if there’s nothing there to hold you accountable afterwards, the majority of the population will continue to come up short. However, like your standards, make sure that your consequences are realistic and appropriate. The days where coaches make their student athletes run 30 suicides because they missed one free throw should be long gone. ESPECIALLY, if you have a coaching philosophy of running and scoring in transition. By punishing athletes with running, they associate running with a negative consequence. Do not make punishments as you go, have them predetermined, this way your emotions from the situation don’t dictate what happens in the moment.
The quick summary… Standards are instinctively more positive than rules. Rules encompass negative connotations and empower the coach/supervisor while standards inspire everyone in the program to contribute/grow their level of excellency. In order to set standards, you should be able to answer the why, make them relevant, realistic, have background data to support your standards, make sure they are always developing and growing and you MUST inforce consequences. The question you have to ask of yourself, staff and athletes now is, what standards do you want to set in order to raise your level of excellency?