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Zach Phillips

How Virtual Coaching Platforms (‘VCP’) Help Youth Sports Adapt to COVID-19

By | Baseball, Basketball, Coaches Resources, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Other, Soccer, Track, Volleyball, Wrestling

MaxOne on June 30, 2020

LeaugeApps, a leading provider of youth sports management software solutions, recently published a survey of over 300 youth sports organizers. This comprehensive study reveals how organizers are adapting to the effects of COVID-19 by using digital tools for training, practices, coaching and community building. However, lingering concerns about player health and program effectiveness persist for many organizers and parents. This article will examine the top issues facing youth sports organizers and show how, with the right technology, these issues can be overcome to build a thriving organization.

How is COVID-19 Affecting Youth Sports Programs?

To understand how COVID-19 has changed the marketing, operation and administration of youth sports programs, it’s critical to first assess the current environment. The LeagueApps study includes nation-wide data from a wide variety of sports programs. Also included in the report is polling data from parents with children that are actively involved in sports programs. Altogether, this data provides clear indicators for how sports programs should change their operations, and the primary concerns among parents and players about program continuation.  

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • COVID-19 has accelerated trends in youth sports that were growing in popularity before the pandemic.
    • These trends include the adoption of digital applications frequently used by businesses (e.g. Zoom, Google Hangout), social media and virtual coaching platforms. 
  • Responding quickly and appropriately will determine whether organizations successfully navigate the “new normal.” 
    • Effective responses must include plans for remaining financially viable, ensuring players stay engaged and assuring parents about player safety. 54% of parents are unsure that their children’s sports programs will survive the pandemic effects.

Youth Sports Organizers are Using Virtual Meeting Tools to Adapt

60% of organizers surveyed said that they plan to use downtime during COVID-19 to focus on rebuilding their systems, processes and technology infrastructure. For most respondents, “technology infrastructure” means deploying some kind of virtual training and coaching capabilities.

In fact, the usage of virtual meeting technology was prevalent among almost all survey respondents, regardless of the program sport. Despite rapid adoption, the effectiveness of these new tools and their attractiveness to players varies significantly depending on the application(s) chosen.

A substantial majority of organizers are using virtual meeting tools or social media as interim virtual coaching solutions:

  • 50% of respondents are using Zoom or a similar business-focused webinar and meeting tools.
  • 25% of respondents are using common social media applications like Instagram.

How Effective are Virtual Meeting Tools for Youth Sports Programs?

While these tools have served sports programs as a temporary workaround, they will ultimately not provide the comprehensive solutions required for effective virtual coaching.

1 | They are insufficient as standalone communication platforms:

  • Many users have reported experiencing significant emotional and physical drain after using programs like Zoom; this is commonly called “Zoom fatigue”. While it can offer simple real-time 2-way communication, Zoom’s potentially negative side-effects can be mitigated by combining it with a virtual coaching platform (discussed below).
  • Popular social media applications like Instagram and Facebook have many features that make them distracting while in use. These applications are specifically designed to keep users preoccupied with notifications, news feeds and advertisements.  

2 | They are not built for virtual sports coaching:

  • Business-focused meeting tools like Zoom don’t facilitate team building opportunities like leaderboards, progress tracking and much more.
  • Many online meeting tools also lack any communication capabilities outside of when the meeting is currently in session. Effective, multi-channel (i.e. text and email) messaging is a key component of any successful virtual coaching program. 
  • Social media applications and webinar programs are not designed for distance athletic training (e.g. building virtual workout programs, drills and exercise routines). 

3 | They don’t support sustainable program growth:

  • Social media programs and tools like Zoom do not facilitate additional revenue generation for sports programs.
  • Additionally, online meeting tools do not provide an opportunity for sports programs to truly build their brand through whitelabeling capabilities, etc.

Top COVID-19 Concerns for Youth Sports Organizers and Parents

According to the LeaugueApps survey respondents, the primary impacts of COVID-19 specifically on youth sports are: 

  • Cancellation or delay of Fall sports programs
  • Generating interest in reformatted programs
  • Social distancing requirements that restrict safely conducting in-person practices
  • Parental concerns about player health and program continuation

So, how can youth sports organizers effectively and meaningfully respond to the challenges posed by technology constraints, COVID-19 restrictions and genuine concerns about player safety and program continuation?

The Benefits of Virtual Coaching Platforms

The alternatives to online meeting tools and social media applications are modern virtual coaching platforms (VCPs) designed specifically to facilitate remote communication, athlete training and team building.

Comprehensive and customizable VCPs like MaxOne provide organisers the ability to assure players and parents that their program can offer safe, compliant, highly effective and engaging experiences. 

MaxOne’s VCP was built for the challenges facing youth sports programs by offering advantages like the following:

  • Fight fatigue by combining Zoom with customizable training programs that allow players to proceed at their own pace – taking breaks as necessary to retain their focus and concentration.
  • Create additional revenue streams to support long-term financial health of the organization.
  • Mitigate the risk of future organization impacts due to COVID recurrence.
  • Differentiate program offerings with the most powerful virtual training experience available: 
    • On-demand training
    • Progress tracking over time
    • Compete on live leaderboards
    • Customizable training programs for individual athletes
    • AI-powered performance assessments

With an industry-leading VCP, organizers and coaches can offer players and parents innovative technology solutions that supplement in-person training and coaching. Benefits of this technology extend beyond a temporary fix for sports programs, including: 

  1. Increased player engagement
  2. Helping students develop self-discipline with practice schedules
  3. Greater coaching effectiveness on specific workout programs/techniques

Get started with a Virtual Coaching Platform Today

Regardless of how COVID-19 continues to impact youth sports, new research clearly shows that forward thinking organizers are focused on becoming more flexible, ensuring operational continuity and providing the most value possible to players and parents.

Experience the power of MaxOne’s Virtual Coaching Platform, and book a call today.

If you have questions please email info@gomaxone.com so a member from our team can assist you!

June 2020 Release Notes

By | Baseball, Basketball, Coaches Resources, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Other, Soccer, Track, Volleyball, Wrestling

MaxOne on June 8, 2020

Over the past month, we have pushed several new and exciting product enhancements out the door. Today, we want to highlight a few significant updates that will drastically improve the customer experience. Plan on seeing many more updates and new features in the coming weeks.

What’s New?

Workout Builder Complete Redesign

The MaxOne workout builder has been significantly enhanced to improve user-friendliness and decrease the time it takes coaches to create workouts. 

This includes a seamless drag-and-drop editor that allows users to place the exercises they want directly into the workout. Use filters to organize exercises and drills by their prospective training library (skill, strength, education) and customize sets and reps just as you could in the previous version, but this time with a fresh new design leading to increased efficiency for our coaches to get their workouts created faster than ever.

Add Descriptions when Building a Workout

Users now have the ability to add descriptions that will only affect the specific exercise in a workout without changing the description of the drill in the general training library.

For example, if a coach wants their athletes to complete their first rep of bench press at half speed to serve as a warm-up they can now address this by adding a description. When editing the sets and reps of a drill, simply click ‘Edit Description’ to add information with your specific coaching points. This will allow you to provide special notes on drills that are specific to the current workout you’re building.

 

Workout “Program Builder” Complete Redesign

In addition to enhancing the individual MaxOne workout builder, we’ve also improved the program builder feature. We have kept the same drag-and-drop style to maintain user friendliness but have improved the workflow in creating a multi-week workout program. 

Now, when building a workout program, you will be dragging your workouts into specific days in a calendar format making it easier to visualize how you plan to assign this program to your athletes. You can then duplicate weeks to create large programs quicker than before.

Assign a Multi-Week Workout Program 

Inside the new program builder, coaches can now assign entire multi-week workout programs to their team in just a few clicks. 

In our previous design, coaches had to click each workout in a program in order to assign it to their team. Now, simply select the program, the start date and group of athletes to assign it to and the workout will auto populate the remaining days and weeks of the program. 

This will greatly decrease the time it takes to build and deliver full workout programs to your team as well as help you deliver specific programs to specific groups. 

Ready to try out some of these new features? Login now.

Otherwise, wait to hear from us next month with more improvements to the MaxOne platform! In the meantime, if you have questions please email info@gomaxone.com so a member from our support team can assist you!

15 Coaching Tips to Make Next Season More Successful

By | Basketball, Coaches Resources

This article was originally posted by Don Kelbick on Breakthrough Basketball. As basketball season wraps up and the offseason begins, it is important to start preparing early for next season. This article lists 15 surefire coaching tips to make next season more successful than ever. 

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15 Coaching Tips

The season is winding down. Routines change, friendships have grown, priorities change. As a coach, what should you do now? When practice time comes and there is no practice, what do you do? When there are no games to prepare for, what do you do with your time?

Coaching is an all encompassing job. It takes time, devotion, and is very crisis oriented. To do it well, you have to plan your year, just as you have to plan your practices. Those outside the profession don’t understand it. Don’t try to explain it to them or expect them to understand. Coaches are a special breed.

Here are a just a few thoughts as to how to recover and prepare for the next season.

1 – 2 weeks post season

  1. Relax – After every season, there are decisions to be made. Whether they are career, personnel, or personal, immediately after the season is not the time to do it. Take some time for yourself, catch up with family and friends and try to settle back to a traditional lifestyle. Let your mind and body rest.
  2. Organize – collect all of your practice plans, put all your game films in order, and collate your statistics.
  3. Make the most of extraordinary clarity that you have after the season — If you’re like most coaches, you’ll have some amazing clarity a few days or weeks after the season is over. It’s very important to document what you’ve learned while it’s still fresh in your mind. You’ll find that this tip alone can have an enormous impact on your team’s improvements next year. You never think it will happen, but it’s amazing how much you forget during the off season. And you’ll be just as amazed how much documenting these thoughts will help you. Document what you’ve learned. Document what you should do different next year. Get those thoughts and ideas down so you can reference them next year.
  4. Be sure your players have their priorities straight. Players often let their schoolwork slip after the season. Be sure they are caught up and on time with their classes.

 

3 – 4 weeks post season

  1. Begin your evaluation process. Interpret your stats and decide what you feel is important and what you can affect by coaching. Start watching your game films and evaluate what you did well and what you did poorly. Evaluate your practice plans and determine what type of practice flow was most effective. Be sure to include your assistants in this process. Different points of view can be very helpful.
  2. Meet with your players. Discuss their thoughts of the season. What do they feel the team did well, what was done poorly? What do they feel they did well personally and what they need to work on? Discuss your feelings in regard to their performance. Talk about expectations for the next season.
  3. Develop an off-season development program. Rules differ from state to state in regard to what coaches can do in the off season. Many coaches also have other responsibilities (teaching, other sports, etc.) so the program should be simple and self moderating, the players should be able to get through it themselves. At least the first half of the off season should be spent on development as opposed to playing. In addition, if you wish to have your team strength train, maximum gains should be achieved during the first 75% of the off season.

 

A month after the season you are essentially in the off season. Use this period to recharge.

  1. If you can work with your players on skills, do so.
  2. Start to improve your team’s shooting percentage. In order for you to have a great team of shooters, you must get started right about now. The off season is the time to fix mechanics, start implementing player development programs, and give your players instructions on how to develop their shot. Great shooters become great in the off season.
  3. Sharpen the stone. In other words, continue to develop your knowledge and personal development. Never stop learning. Read books, attend clinics, talk to other coaches, and gather ideas for the next season.
  4. Shore up your coaching weaknesses by exploring other philosophies and teaching techniques. Expand your strengths by exploring additional areas that you can apply what you do well.

 

The summer months are a great time of the year for coaches. This is the time you begin thinking about next season.

  1. Experiment in summer league with new ideas. Decide what you can live with and what you can’t. Try new offenses and defenses.
  2. Evaluate how your team has improved and how the players have worked on their game. Let them play different positions, allow them to experiment and expand their game.
  3. The summer workout program should be about 50% skills – 50% play. Don’t overload your team with summer league games. Don’t worry, they will get enough play. On the whole, players don’t do enough skill work.

 

Once school starts again, you have entered the pre-season.

  1. Put together your playbook. Decide what offenses and defense you think you can succeed with.
  2. Build a master practice schedule when are you going to install each aspect of your program. Establish your teaching progressions.
  3. Start your preseason program. Work should be about 25% skills, 75% play. Change your strength training program to one of endurance and maintenance.
  4. Be sure that your players are doing their best in school. They should use this period to try to get ahead.

 

2 weeks before the season — Start to taper off of your workouts.

1 week before the season — Everybody takes off. Do some things with your family and friends. It might be months before you get to do it again.

Link to Original Article

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about MaxOne? Schedule a free demo HERE! 

Interested in Writing for MaxOne? Email Luke@gomaxone.com to see how you can get started!

Coach, You Make the Difference: Coaching Yourself First

By | Baseball, Basketball, Coaches Resources, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Track, Uncategorized, Volleyball, Wrestling

This article was written by Mark Maguire who is the President of Castle Hill Knights Baseball Club. The article was posted on CoachUp, a great resource for finding a coach for personalized training. This article gives insight on how coaches can improve their mentality to better themselves and their program.

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Coaching Yourself First

Everyone loves to win. Though some can deal with losses better than others, I think it’s fair to say the obvious—nobody loves to lose. I have never seen a team of athletes, whether young or old (coaches and parents included), NOT jump for joy and celebrate with gusto from winning a game after a long stretch of losing. Winning tastes better after losing.

Coaches have a default system built nicely into their DNA—and that is to win.

No, coach, you’re not a bad person for wanting to win; you’re not a bad person for wanting all the right ingredients given to you to help you win; you’re not a bad person to even expect the support from your club so you can lead your team to win. And you know what would make winning even better—if all the players and parents who are involved in your team like you and said awesome things about you. Everyone would sleep well and there wouldn’t be any issues to deal with. Yes, winning… and when everyone’s a winner… that can’t help but taste good.

But let’s get back to the default system built into you that wants to win and to tackle a season that you already perceive will be full of downsides, frustration and losses. (If you’re an awesome coach with an awesome team with an awesome plan, you maybe wasting your time reading any further).

There is something you probably already know and probably don’t need reminding but I’m going to say it anyway: don’t focus on winning.

Winning is a result, an outcome. It’s similar to the fact that when you focus on wanting to be loved and you try everything in your power for others to love you, the outcome is the person or group you want to love you, is turned off by you.

In every aspect of life we all must let go of the outcomes; they are too far away and hinder us from working on the one thing we have control over—ourselves.

Coaching Yourself First

Whatever group of athletes you’re working with this season, you’re teaching individuals techniques and skills to add to their repertoire so they’ll not only be better players but they’ll also contribute to the team better.  You’re working on the here and now and what is in front of you. The outcome will take care of itself. And if the weekly outcome of the individual or the team is not what you hoped for, then you evaluate what has happened and keep working on the skills, techniques or even the respect for the game that you’re aiming for.

Coach, you make the difference.

But now, here is the big thing, and I hope you are sitting down and not going to skim through this paragraph.

The first and foremost person you’re coaching and are responsible for is YOU.

I see it all the time when coaches (also parents and players) are complaining about what’s wrong, blaming others for their frustrations, and making excuses for why their situation is dire.

Coach, if you want to have any chance, you must STOP all these negative behaviours. These only reveal your own insecurities and fears about the outcomes of your team and yourself. You have lost focus on your own personal growth and what you’re learning and correcting about yourself.

I’ll say it again, the one and only thing you can control is yourself: your reactions, your mindset, your attitude!

If you’re prone to complaining, excuse making or blaming others, it doesn’t create a good mix if you’re prone to wanting to win. Unfortunately, very few make the effort to show self-control to stop these traits.

There is no fancy formula here to speaking and acting differently. Self control is the key. Start with stopping  to think about what you’re about to say. If a complaint, excuse, or a finger-pointing blame is about to slip out of your mouth—STOP! Say nothing. Only say something if it is constructive, or encouraging, or helpful.

Breathe deeply and refocus on how you need to act or react to your current situation.

The default for any coach who is having a tough time (real or imaginary) is to try anything and possibly sacrifice anything to muster up a win.

Don’t, however, sacrifice the overall good you want to create by teaching higher values of the game and having higher expectations of your young athletes. Eventually, you will be known to have made a positive difference and that difference will last a lifetime for those fine human beings entrusted in your care.

Coach, you make the difference!

 

The Process of Leadership

By | Baseball, Basketball, Coaches Resources, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Track, Volleyball, Wrestling

 

 

This article was originally posted  by Dr. Cory Dobbs, on Football Toolbox. Dobbs is a national expert on sport leadership and team building and is the founder of The Academy for Sport Leadership.  A teacher, speaker, consultant, and writer, Dr. Dobbs has worked with professional, collegiate, and high school athletes and coaches teaching leadership as a part of the sports experience. In this article he talks about the two distinct difference between two dominant leadership styles, drivers and builders. 

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Drivers Vs. Builders

We often talk about a leader having a “style” of leadership, a distinctive way of thinking, feeling, and acting.  And it is true; coaches do have a style that shapes who they are and what they do.  The relationship between style and leadership is expressed as a systematic process in how a coach gets things done and inspires his or her players to be their very best.

Over the past decade I have watched many coaches in action and have detected a distinct difference between two dominant leadership styles.  There are many ways to describe the leadership habits of coaches, but it appears to me that as leaders most fall into one of two categories—drivers or builders.   Drivers tend to be what leadership experts refer to as transactional leaders while builders fall pretty naturally into the category of transformational leaders. Drivers and builders have two very different leadership mindsets and skill sets.

Drivers are generally after impressive achievements, especially the attainment of fame, status, popularity, or power.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.  Drivers view success to be mastery of the technical and tactical aspects of their sport. Builders commit to their calling and enjoy the human development side of coaching.  For them, significance is found in contributing to the lives of their players.  It’s not that they don’t want to win; it’s simply that winning includes building self-confident people who will succeed away from the playing field.

Coaching is a major factor in any team’s success.  Most players recognize this.  They’ve been coached since they were tots playing in youth leagues.  And for the most part they’ve believed in and trusted their coaches to teach them to play the game while instilling life skills and personal values.  However, many adults reveal years later that they learned little from coaches they encountered in their student-athletic experience.  Generally, the coaches that fail to have a long-term impact on student-athletes are transactional leaders.  Many former student-athletes view their experience as being a pawn in the game of student-athletics.

Transformational leaders (builders) do more with and for their student-athletes than transactional leaders (drivers).  These leaders tend to empower student-athletes with challenge and persuasion and actively engage in supporting and mentoring the holistic development of their players.  Transformational leaders seek to inspire their followers to commit to a shared vision of how student-athletics can enhance their lives.  For the transformational leader the sport situation offers an opportunity for the participant to learn such life skills as perseverance, character development, relationship building, and goal attainment.

Transactional leaders, on the other hand, are those that prefer to set up simple interactional exchanges or agreements with their followers, often investing little in building relationships.  They manage players through the use of carrots and sticks—offering a reward (usually playing time) for a desired behavior.  These leaders are those that often use the maxim “the bench is my best teacher.”

This is a prime example of contingent reinforcement—you do “X” and I’ll give you “Y.”  A transformational leader, while certainly not shy to use the bench as a learning tool, would not view the bench as a teacher—that’s a role they cherish.  The transactional coach keeps his or her distance from the athlete, preferring to have a “distant” relationship.  Some coaches will fake the relational process, but the lack of authenticity is quickly recognized by the student-athlete.  The transformational coach is more likely to spend time building relationships with players and showing them he or she cares.  Their mindset is that people aren’t going to care about you and your concerns unless they know you care about theirs.

Transformational leaders don’t do this just to be nice, they understand it to be an effective and appropriate way to deal with young and developing student-athletes.  Building relations is not a road block to success as many coaches find that because they show they care about the person, they can ask for and demand more performance.  Think about it.  Are you more likely to extend yourself for someone you care about or someone you don’t like and care for?

Coaches do many things.  They inspire and motivate, they teach and instruct, and they set an example.  More than anything else, however, coaches help the student-athletes make sense of some of life’s most important lessons.

Over time many coaches move from a driver dominated way of coaching to that of a builder.  Take for example Westmont College men’s basketball coach John Moore.  “Coaching and teaching is more meaningful for me today than it was eight to ten years ago,” said Moore.  “It is more significant because of the kinds of things that are important in coaching.  Someone once said to me, ‘You don’t have a philosophy of coaching until you get to 15 years as a head coach.’ I discounted that originally, but there was a point for me, and it was in that 15-year range, that I realized that I had a philosophy of coaching – that makes it more meaningful for me and more meaningful for my players.”

Being a driver, a transactional leader, can be very effective in producing immediate results.  However, the constant pounding and intimidating of your student-athletes will reduce the motivation of most student-athletes.  Student-athletes prefer to be guided and seek motivation from the collaborative process of coaching.  Even the most self-motivated player will lose their drive if you don’t provide them with positive reinforcement and a sense of worth.

Transformational coaches appeal to players by working with the athletes to create a compelling and collective purpose; a purpose beyond individual ambition that enriches the possibilities of each team member.  By valuing both relationships and results, a builder’s influence leads to higher levels of trust, empowerment, and community.

For builders, the real definition of success is a life and work that brings personal fulfillment, lasting relationships, and makes a difference in the world in which they live.

Are You a Driver or a Builder?

Drivers  / Dominant Leadership Style: TransactionalBuilders / Dominant Leadership Style: Transformative
  • Put results first. Relationships are subordinate to results, a means to an end.
  • Put people first.  Relationships are priorities to producing results.
  • Make the decisions. Drivers like being decisive and in control.  Drivers set the agenda.
  • Stress team capabilities.  Builders want to build systems and talent.
  • Possess a controlling spirit.  They feel if they can control people, they’ll maintain absolute authority.
  • Get others involved.  Builders seek input from other coaches and value input from players.
  • Resort to more regulations.  Drivers use rules and regulations to enforce compliance.  Drivers want things done their way.
  • Let solutions emerge.  Builders don’t try to tackle every problem knowing that some problems solve themselves.
  • Crack the whip.  Drivers keep pressure on for accountability.  Come down hard when goals aren’t attained.
  • Take a long-term focus.  Builders assemble players, programs, and processes.
  • Take a short-term focus.  Drivers tend to focus on the day’s or week’s results.
  • Are mission driven. It’s the mission that sets the priorities.
  • Focus on “what” have you done for me lately? Enough said.
  • Are servant leaders. What’s my contribution?  Builders possess a mental model stimulated by a “What can I contribute to the lives of my players” approach to leading.
  • Get “in your face.”  Drivers thrive on confrontation.  “My way or the highway”.
  • Embrace empowerment. Builders work to prepare others for leadership roles.
  • Are more critical than positive.  Drivers find it difficult to accentuate the positive.
  • Support identity of team. No two teams will ever be the same.  Builders see value in the diversity of personalities.
  • Power trip.  Fear giving away power.  Empowering student-athletes to become team leaders is not a priority.
  • Vision is the main course, not an appetizer.  Builders weigh the costs of today’s decisions on  tomorrow.
  • Span of vision.  Concern is for results today regardless of costs tomorrow.

 

About the Author

Dr. Cory Dobbs is a national expert on sport leadership and team building and is the founder of The Academy for Sport Leadership.  A teacher, speaker, consultant, and writer, Dr. Dobbs has worked with professional, collegiate, and high school athletes and coaches teaching leadership as a part of the sports experience.  He facilitates workshops, seminars, and consults with a wide-range of professional organizations and teams.  Dr. Dobbs previously taught in the graduate colleges of business and education at Northern Arizona University, Sport Management and Leadership at Ohio University, and the Jerry Colangelo College of Sports Business at Grand Canyon University.

Link to original article: The Process of Leadership

Suggested Agenda’s for Offseason and Monthly Basketball Meetings

By | Basketball, Coaches Resources, Uncategorized

Getting ready for off season basketball meeting’s and wondering what type of agenda you should put together? This Article, originally posted by Basketball Breakthrough, highlights the keys to getting the most out of your offseason schedule and meetings. 

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Suggested Agenda’s for Offseason and Monthly Basketball Meetings

As a coach, you’ll find off season meetings to be extremely beneficial. It’s an opportunity to get problems out in the open and get all the coaches aligned. You’ll also find that regularly scheduled weekly and monthly meetings are invaluable. You’d be amazed by how much regular meetings will improve your program and communication. The meetings keep everyone on the same page, keep everyone accountable, solve problems, and help you run a better program.

The key is to have a good agenda, document “actions items” from the meetings, assign due dates, and hold everyone accountable.

You could even conduct daily coaching huddles (10 minutes max) to discuss priorities for the day, anything you’re stuck on, and relevant stats/metrics. This helps keep all coaches in sync and collectively working on the same goal.

In regards to an off season meeting agenda, here’s an agenda that works well for us:

  • Start with good news. Each coach shares some good news, both at coaching and personal level.
  • Review statistics and key metrics for the season and possibly past seasons.
  • Have each coach talk about… “What worked?” and “What didn’t work?”
  • Review goals for the program and core values. Each coach should provide stories of how the team accomplished goals and lived up to core values.
  • Discuss and set goals new goals for upcoming season.
  • Review and discuss a new master schedule.
  • Review the meeting schedule with your coaches. Did you have a meeting schedule? Can it be improved?
  • Brain storm top projects and problems that need solved. What or where are the recurring issues or concerns that the team is facing day in and day out? Use collective intelligence to solve ONE of the biggest issues. Get everyone’s input and drill into the issue.
  • Discuss what training tools and development would be beneficial for the coaches. What materials should coaches study and review during the off season?
  • Set priorities, tasks, and goals for each coach. Set deadlines and hold coaches accountable.
  • Review documentation. Do processes need documented?

This agenda is similar to what big businesses and corporations use in their meetings. It’s also similar to what’s taught in the Rockefeller Business Training program. These techniques work great for running a basketball program too!

During your meeting, be sure to document ALL the meeting notes, action items, and plans. Schedule the next meeting to review everyone’s progress and keep everyone moving in the same direction. You’ll find that these regular meetings make a tremendous impact on your program.

To your success!

8 Ways to Encourage Inter-Team Competition in the Offseason

By | Coaches Resources, Football, Uncategorized

 

Having trouble motivating your athletes in the offseason? This article, which was originally posted by Dan Guttenplan at FNF Coaches, outlines 8 ways to encourage inter-team competition. The article also highlights a few simple ways coaches can hold their athlete’s accountable in the offseason.

 

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8 Ways to Encourage Inter-Team Competition in the Offseason

Motivation doesn’t come easy to players during the offseason, when the reward of playing time or on-field success isn’t doled out with instant gratification. Still, coaches can appeal to their players’ competitiveness.

While the winter and spring seasons don’t offer many opportunities for players to compete on the field, there are still opportunities for coaches to pit players against each other through inter-term competition.

North East High (Erie, Pa.) coach Mike Whitney and Krum ISD (Texas) coach Gary Robinson have both devised scoring systems during the offseason in an attempt to gauge which players are most committed.

Here are some areas in which the two coaches score their respective players.

Academic Progress: A player who slips below eligibility standards this spring can not help you in the fall. Set the bar a little higher for your players rather than just focusing on the bare minimum requirements. Track their progress. Encourage a struggling student to become an average student and a good student to become great.

Attendance: Players earn points for each lifting session, speed workout, study hall, etc. Show the players attendance records from previous seasons to let them see how the players that performed on Friday nights committed to the offseason program.

Max Lift Increase: One of the primary goals each offseason is for the players to get stronger. The easiest way to appeal to a player’s sense of pride is by posting the results of the max lift in exercises like the bench press, squat and clean. Again – focus on each player’s percentage increase, not the overall weight.

Increase in Reps: Have each player chart his lifting routine – with both the weight on the bar and the number of reps. Players who are most consistent in their attendance and effort should see an increase in stamina, which will be apparent in the number of reps they complete.

Recruiting a New Teammate: Teams need to replenish the roster each offseason due to the loss of seniors. A coach can market his program in the community and the hallways at school, but sometimes peer pressure works better than anything else. Encourage players to recruit non-football players in school. Get them in the offseason program, and see how they progress heading into the summer.

Playing Another Sport: Don’t penalize multi-sport athletes by ignoring the work they’re doing by training with other teams. If a football player is running track in the winter, give him points for attending practices, meets and strength training sessions. Those players should certainly receive more points than a single-sport football player who attends two lifting sessions per week and sits on the couch for the other five days.

Community Service: A coach should push players to become better people. Community service is one way for players to strive toward that goal. Make players aware of community service opportunities.

Service to the Program: You can’t pay your players for their manual labor, but you can give them points toward the offseason program. Give them opportunities to earn points by cleaning the locker room, fundraising for the program, or helping with field maintenance.

Link to the original article: 8 Ways to Encourage Inter-Team Competition in the Offseason

What do You Tell Your Team the Night Before the Big Game?

By | Basketball, Coaches Resources

Hendrie Weisinger, author of NY Times Bestseller, “Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most” was originally posted on Psychology Today. As coaches head into tournament season, it is important to know what to tell your team to motivate them before a big game. 

 

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What do You Tell Your Team the Night Before the Big Game?

Right before last year’s March Madness, I sent copies of what was to become my second NY Times Bestseller, Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most to all of the 64 tournament bound coaches.  After all, isn’t getting the team to execute the book’s title the goal of every coach?   It’s hard enough to advance through the tournament but a team that can play its best under pressure at least give themselves a chance to go to the Dance.

Many of the coaches acknowledged the valuable gift.  Coach K sent me a grateful email (My note to him acknowledged that he really didn’t need it but I wanted him to have a copy for being so gracious when I bumped into him at LaGuardia airport.).  Coach Turgeon wrote me a thoughtful note and so did Coach Brey and Coach Ryan.  Coach Crean wrote that the book looked good and that he was pleased my daughter enjoyed her tenure at IU.  Coach Wright showed his appreciation by sending me a Villanova T-shirt.  All of these Coaches have teams that performed well under pressure and all are going to the sweet 16. (Coach Izzo didn’t send me a thank you note and my guess is he didn’t read the book, so I am not surprised his team was upset under pressure.)

Being a lover of college basketball, I want to do what I can to ensure that the next half of March Madness will be filled with great play and great games.  For games to be exciting and be decided in the last second, every coach has to get their team to perform their best.  That’s what us fans deserve: No choking and let the best team win!

Thus, I implore every coach: Make sure you continually reiterate to your players the following (if you have no interest in March Madness, apply these points to those you manage and your kids):

Tell your team they do not have to “rise” to the occasion, they simply have to continue their excellent play.  Contrary to conventional sports wisdom, and what “Dickie V” and Jay Bilas might say, nobody does better under pressure: the edge is not rising to the occasion; the edge is not succumbing to the injurious effects of pressure.  Telling your team to rise to the occasion will actually increase feelings of pressure and is apt to make them “press”—the result is they play worse.

Tell your team to focus on playing your best, not winning.  Remind your players that the mission is to play their best.  Let the other teams focus on “winning”.  Players that focus on the outcome—winning or losing—are bound to experience anxiety that will manifest itself in turnovers, missed free throws, and poor shot selection.  Focusing on the outcome takes you “out of the moment” and you lose task focus. Telling your team that the mission to play their best will place their focus where it needs to be—doing their best in the moment. The caveat:  your team can play their best but still lose to an equally good or better team.  The Jayhawks can play best and still lose to another #1 seed, but that is a far cry from “choking” and losing in the second round.

Tell your players to clench their left fist before stepping to foul line.  You don’t want to lose a game because of poor foul shooting.  One reason players often miss a crucial free throw is that the pressure of the moment causes ruminating anxious thoughts that doubt their skill:  “What if I miss? My teammates are counting on me. If I miss I might not be drafted.”  These ruminating and anxiety-arousing thoughts disrupt the players’ flow, tense the body, and disrupt coordination—that’s why you often see foul shots way off their mark.  Studies (many using athletes) show clenching the left first seconds before you perform (or give a presentation or make a sales call) interrupts the ruminating thinking in the left hemisphere of the brain and primes the right side to perform well-rehearsed behaviors, like foul shooting.  As I pointed out in the book, this doesn’t hold true for lefties.

Walk like a champ.  It is well documented that body posture impacts how you feel.  Standing or sitting upright in a confident posture increases testosterone promotes feelings of confidence and lessens cortisol, the stress hormone. Tell your team to be aware, especially when trailing, how they run up and down the court, stand during a time-out, or sit on the beach.  Dickie V and Jay often make comments about a team’s body languagereflects how they are feeling, and they are right.

Write down anxieties night before.  To combat pregame jitters, have each player write down their anxieties the night before (tell them to do this the night before a test too). Doing so proves to be an effective way to empty the mind of counter productive thoughts and make them less likely to surface during the game.  Players might be reluctant to do this “silly exercise” so I recommend you tell them you will be collecting them right before curfew.  You might find reading them helps you get to know your players even better.

Just another game.  Be sure to tell them what Joe Flacco said before he won the Superbowl: “It’s just another game.”  Importance increases pressure.  Players who hold the thought, “This is the most important game I’ll ever play,” are increasing pressure upon themselves, which dooms them to playing below their capability.  Athletes who consistently perform to their capability reduce feelings of pressure by shrinking the importance of the event. This allows them to do what they usually do—play their best, and for the Jayhawks, that almost always wins.

Clap it up!  In the heat of the moment, its easy to feel more pressure than enthusiasm—even for you so make sure before you take the court to start, return from half-time, and each time-out huddle ends with 5 seconds of feverish clapping.  Vigorous clapping energizes the body and promotes positive feelings we call enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm fuels effort and confidence.  In a close game, the enthusiastic team often wins.  I credit Coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers for pointing this out.

Tune in to their senses.  A player who has a wandering mind is apt to make an errant pass or not “feel” which side his defender is guarding.  Help your players stay in the moment by instructing them to use their senses by seeing what is around them, hearing their teammates calls, and feeling the ball.  Using their senses will increase their focus to the moment, leading to smarter plays and less turnovers.

Flashback on Successes.  All of your players have been very successful, so make sure, especially when trailing, to remind them of their pass successes.

Tell them to have fun.  Remember that the biggest difference between those who perform well in a pressure moment and those who don’t is how they perceive the situation.  Those who perceive the tournament as a time to prove themselves and live up to the expectations of others are probably going to Choke City, because they are turning the event into a pressure-laden, threatening do-or-die event.   Get the team to think of the tournament as a time to have fun, something to enjoy, and remind them that it is the furthest thing from a true do-or-die situation.

Considering I received my Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Kansas, I was most pleased by the note I received last year from Coach Self:

Dear Dr. Weisinger

Thanks so much for sending your note and the copy of your book. I look forward to reading it over the summer

We had a great season but had a disappointing exit from the NCAA tournament, so its time to reflect and reload.

Thanks again for your support of and interest in the Jayhawks

Bill Self

Source: Crown Business

Based on how Coach Self has his team playing, I trust he read the book.

Additional Resources

To learn more about how to immunize you and your team to pressure’s negative effects, check this out. Visit me at //hankweisingerphd.com

Want to learn more about MaxOne? Schedule a free demo HERE! 

Interested in Writing for MaxOne? Email Luke@gomaxone.com to see how you can get started!

4 Ways Successful Football Coaches Win the Offseason

By | Coaches Resources, Football

Mike Kuchar is co-founder at XandOLabs.com, a private research company specializing in football coaching concepts and trends. Though Mike’s research he has found 4 ways in which successful coaches win in the off-season.

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4 Ways Successful Football Coaches Win the Offseason

As coaches, we all want the offseason to mean something. Well, let’s face it. There is no offseason anymore in football.

With constant clinics, research, conditioning, staff and self-evaluations, this time period has become a conduit to the actual start of the season in the summer. But make no mistake: This time is vital to the development of our programs.

One thing we did at X&O Labs was research what successful programs do in the offseason that equates to success during the season. We targeted a specific demographic of high school coaches – those who’d won more than 75 percent of their games during the previous three seasons and won at least two championships (division, league or state). Here’s a look at what the coaches attributed to their success:

1. Develop a mission statement: We found that 71 percent of these coaches have a written mission statement that they use in their programs, and they post it where it’s clear to see. What they create is uniquely their own and catered to their own situation, but the point is simple – how can you get somewhere without having a plan?

2. Be a great communicator: We presented this data pool with the question, “What is the most underrated trait of being a head coach?” Communication skills were the No. 1 answer, topping the next two popular choices of off-field management skills and time efficiency. The lowest responses were knowledge of the game and scheme development. Many coaches said if you can’t explain to a player the “why” behind what you’re doing, you won’t get the most of out of them.

3. Keep tabs on your staff: Forty-two percent of the championship-winning coaches meet with their entire staff between six to 10 times during the offseason, from January to July. This doesn’t mean 58 percent don’t meet at all. In fact, the lowest percentage (19 percent) still meets with their staff at least three times during this period. Topics include offseason conditioning, installation of offense, defensive and special teams schemes, player development, fundraising and other team activities.

4. Be resilient in a plan for success: This was probably the most interesting thing we found, as 26 percent of coaches who’ve won between six to 10 titles have either been fired or asked to resign as a head coach. It’s a lesson in perseverance and in believing in your philosophy, which also reminds me of a classic Nick Saban quote – “Be like the grass. The more they stomp on you, the tougher you need to become.”

Personally, I took great value in this research because I felt this is the groundwork in laying a successful football program foundation. I try to glean as much information as I can from those who had success and came to the realization that doing these simple things right now can equate to championships next season. It’s hard to argue with the facts and the research behind it.

Mike Kuchar is co-founder at XandOLabs.com, a private research company specializing in football coaching concepts and trends. Reach him at mike@xandolabs.com or follow him on Twitter @mikekkuchar.

This is an updated version of a blog that originally published Feb. 5, 2015.

4 Keys to Developing Mental Toughness

By | Baseball, Basketball, Coaches Resources, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Track, Volleyball, Wrestling

 

4 Keys to Developing Mental Toughness” by Tony Miller, was originally posted by our partners at FastModel Sports. This article highlights 4 simple yet effective tips that every coach can use to improve their athlete’s, and their own mental toughness.

 

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4 Keys to Developing Mental Toughness

 

The late John Wooden once said, “You can’t have confidence unless you are prepared.” Much of players’ lack of mental toughness (i.e., lack of focus, confidence, control under pressure) is simply due to a lack of preparation.

As a coach, it’s now clear to me why Coach Wooden spent the first 10 minutes of the first practice teaching his players how to put on their socks. It was a lesson in the attention to details. Attention to details results in proper preparation. Preparation produces focus and confidence. Focus and confidence produce mental toughness. Mental toughness produces a winning mindset, and so on.

And now you’re probably wondering, “So how exactly do I develop mental toughness in my players?” Let me offer several suggestions:

 

  1. Teach, over and over and… Do your players understand what habits are essential for success? Have you communicated those habits to them? As a teacher, I’ve realized my students don’t get most of what I say in my first explanation. Why should I expect my players to be any different? Teach, then repeat, repeat, repeat.

 

  1. Help players focus on the process of improvement rather than on the outcome. Win or lose, players must 1) learn from both failures AND successes and 2) exhibit an unwavering level of effort and intensity. In order for this to occur, we as coaches must point out the positives and improvements seen in players’ performances. In addition, we must demand excellence and maintain high expectations for players. As for the effort and intensity…

 

  1. Constantly emphasize appropriate “attitude and effort.” We encourage our players to focus on what we can control. Opponents’ abilities, officials, and other outside forces – those things are out of our control. Focus on what we can control: our attitude and effort.

 

  1. Develop a motivational climate that fosters mental toughness. This is accomplished by creating an environment in which task mastery, self-improvement, effort, and dedication are encouraged and rewarded.