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Keeping Your Perspective as a Coach

By | Basketball, Coaches Resources, Uncategorized

This article was originally written by Scott Rosberg for FastModel Sports. Scott has been a teacher and coach for the past 30 years and is also the creator of Great Resources for Coaches. This article underlines the importance for coaches to keep things in perspective.

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Keeping Perspective

As coaches we have a variety of responsibilities that we must be aware of, especially when it comes to the kids we coach. One element of our responsibilities is to keep things in perspective. This post discusses the idea of why it is important for coaches to keep our perspective.

A short time ago when I was working out at the fitness center in my town, an older gentleman (70’s?) said to me, “I wish I was as physically fit as you are.” Now understand, I am no specimen of physical fitness – far from it. I look in the mirror and see a somewhat overweight, out-of-shape, 55-year-old guy looking back at me wondering where his physical fitness went. I think of when I was 35 and wonder why I am not that guy still. However, this older gentleman sees me and sees someone who is physically fit. And it hit me right between the eyes (and unfortunately in my too large gut!) – it’s all about perspective.

This man does not know me. He knows his level of fitness. He knows what he is capable of and not capable of. He knows what hurts when he works out. He knows the pain he is in the next day.


Different Realities

But he does not know me. He does not know that every step I take has pain in it due to years of basketball, running, hiking, etc. that has led to three knee surgeries, two hip surgeries, multiple ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and a tendon that is coming loose from the bone on the bottom of my right foot. He does not know that I don’t have full extension or rotation in my shoulders due to three rotator cuff surgeries. He does not know that I can’t play basketball anymore (my favorite recreational sport to play) due to all of these ailments. All he knows is he is seeing a guy 15-20 years younger than him who looks like he is in reasonable shape, and he thinks, “I wish I was as physically fit as him.”

I look around the gym and elsewhere and see other people, and I do the same thing this older man did looking at me. We all do. Our perspective skews our reality, but more importantly it skews other people’s realities in our minds. I see the person driving the Mercedes and think, “Must be nice. If I only made the kind of money s/he makes.” Yet, I have no idea how much s/he makes (or even does for a living), and I have no idea how hard or easy of a life s/he has. I just have my perception of what I think his/her reality is, and I make all kinds of assumptions about it, just because of the car s/he drives.

This is how stereotypes of people affect our thinking. We put someone into a certain class of people based on a stereotype of our perspective of what we “think” their life is like. However, we ultimately have no idea what their life is like. We are not them. We can no more understand all that they are going through than they can understand all that we are going through.


Get to Know Your Athletes as More than Just Players

So what does this have to do with teachers, coaches, and athletics? It is critical that coaches understand this concept of perspective. We teach and coach young people. These young people come to us from all walks of life, all kinds of circumstances, with all kinds of positives and negatives happening to them. Some of them are carrying around a lot of heavy baggage, much of which they had no part in creating. They just happened to be born into some tough stuff. Others are carrying around very little baggage, and life has gone fairly smoothly for them. They are fairly happy with their circumstances and the elements surrounding their lives. Most people fall somewhere in between, with varying degrees of baggage.

However, no matter where they fall, we ultimately do not know their situation. For us to project our perspective onto their lives and assume things about them is not fair at all. We must be careful not to make judgments about our kids, their parents, fellow staff members, and anyone else we come in contact with without knowing as much as we can about them and their situation. This requires teachers and coaches to establish positive, open relationships with these people. We must get to know the people who we lead and who we work with.

I cannot just focus on my players as “players.” I must focus on them as people. The more I come to understand them, the better I can serve them. That must be a leader’s guiding force.


It’s About Our Kids, Not Us

Coaches must also understand perspective in another way. We must keep our job and our role in people’s lives in perspective. We cannot take ourselves too seriously. This is not about us; it is about the young people we lead. We must also understand that the vehicle by which we work with them is sport. It is young people playing games. When we take ourselves and our importance in the world too seriously, we lose perspective. This is one of the few times that I consider the phrase, “It’s only a game,” appropriate. The playing of games portion of our jobs is something we need to take less seriously. I am not saying the games, preparing for them, and competing in them are not important. However, I am saying those are not the most important facets of what we do.

However, at the same time I am saying that we must take our jobs and our roles as leaders of young people extremely seriously. We are trying to help young people learn all kinds of things about life while providing them the opportunity to have a positive experience through sport. The life lessons that kids learn from us will inform so much of who they become. That is an extremely important role in our world, and we must take it very seriously. This is where we cannot accept the idea that “It’s only a game.” What we are doing for kids is so much more than a game, and we must treat it with the importance that it deserves.

Be a role model. Be a teacher. Be someone who keeps his or her perspective on what it is that you are doing as a teacher and coach – instilling in children the life lessons necessary for them to go out into the world and live positive, productive lives. Oh yeah, and one more thing – stay in shape, so that when you are 55 and someone older than you thinks you are physically fit, their perspective is not warped. Believe me – your 55-year-old self will thank you!

Read the Original Article

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!

 

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