Monday, August 19, 2019

Seven Traits Of Highly Successful Teams

  1. They have strong leadership.
  2. They trust each other.
  3. They respect team members and coaches.
  4. There is a complete sense of unity.
  5. They have complimentary skills—no one tries to do another's job.
  6. There is always an open line of communication.
  7. There is a lack of selfishness.

A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour

Monday, August 12, 2019

Select, Invest & Listen

The first and most important element of any leadership endeavor is evaluating people and understanding the importance of identifying roles to create the strongest possible team. Effective leadership is selecting the right people; educating them well, and motivating them to do their very best while asking them to make the commitment to winning.

Every team must have a core of people on which the leader can rely on to understand and express the team’s vision, mission, goals and objectives. That is leadership--properly identifying who those people are. If you embrace this philosophy, it becomes the essential element of good leadership provided you do one more thing: Listen to your people!

Become an active, engaged, and interested listener. You can assure yourself and your program’s success if you create and listen to the strongest core possible. You do that by:
  • Selecting the right people.
  • Investing in them, improving them, and leading them with enthusiasm.
  • And by listening—truly listening —to them.
If you select the right people and develop them through education, motivation and challenges, then success will inevitably follow.

—--Adapted from Built to Win: Inside Stories and Leadership Strategies from Baseball's Winningest GM  

Built to Win: Inside Stories and Leadership Strategies from Baseball's Winningest GM

Monday, August 5, 2019

Superior Coaching Traits

In their quest for improvement many coaches often become too “x” and “o” oriented—they go to clinics, debate new strategies, devour literature, etc. In their obsession with the technical side of their game, they sometimes overlook the other vital aspects of coaching: philosophy, organization, methodology and team building. The point to remember is that whereas the technical side of coaching varies  greatly from sport to sport and even within a given sport, the methodology of exceptional coaches exhibits great uniformity.

The following traits distinguish the superior coaches:

  • Superior coaches are drill oriented. They believe that nothing is more important in the preparation of an individual or a team than the extensive use of efficient drills. What is an efficient drill? It is one that accurately reproduces the specific competitive situation and teaches the individual the proper reaction pattern and technique with which to respond to a recognized stimulus.
  • Superior coaches are goal-oriented. Each action has a specific goal to give it focus and structure. No part of an action, no segment of practice time ever goes to waste because of a lack of purpose. How can a coach work toward such a goal? Obviously, the answer lies within the coach himself. If he sees the athlete as a complete person, the athlete will recognize it and respond accordingly.
  • Superior coaches are adaptable. Subject your program to analysis during the off-season. The first point to remember is not to confuse faith in your program with a stubborn unwillingness to change. The off-season is the best time for the extensive research and analysis that will eliminate your program’s weaknesses and indicate improvements.
  • Superior coaches are communicators. Sell your program to your team members as a complete package. Don’t claim infallibility. Simply let them know that you’ve worked out a system that will make the most effective use of their time and that will offer the best possible chance of success. Everyone feels more comfortable and performs better when he believes his coaches have a reason for each move and decision.
  • Superior coaches are confident. “Keep the faith” in times of difficulty. Every team goes through a period of unusual difficulty. The coach’s performance under stress will be very meaningful. If he loses faith in the program the whole season can go down the drain.

—Adapted from How To Be a Better Coach


A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Will To Win

The arena may just be a back yard.  Up for grabs it's not the world's championship.  Just bragging rights to who's the best on the block (remember those days!).  It's not a venue worthy of legendary prose.  But it's a place where legends often begin.  Because from such beginnings, the taste of victory is first savored.  That insatiable taste that instills the desire to be the best.

It's more than all those sports page clich├ęs of extra effort and 110%.  The will to win is a work ethic.  A dedication. A commitment to never giving up.  Find these traits in an athlete, and you'll find an athlete who's the first one at practice.  And the last one to leave.  An athlete who toils away from the spotlight, perfecting those little nuances that can later make all the difference.

Though the odds are long of ever achieving fame and glory, this serves as little deterrent to this athlete.  Because even when he/she faces others with more natural talent, he/she does not let it affect their style of play.  She/he persists when others quit.  And that makes every victory, no matter how small — sweet.  Sweet payment beyond measure for every drop of sweat spent.

And long after one's athletic skills are eroded by time, the commitment stays within to face life's professional and personal challenges.  These are the ultimate games.

—Adapted from Where there is a will there's a Wilson, Wilson Sporting Goods

The Coaching & Leadership Journal 
Written specifically for busy leaders, the Coaching and Leadership Journal gives you the latest strategies in a concise, quick-read format.
Published Monthly

Monday, July 22, 2019

Coaching Tidbits

  • Earn respect.
  • Communicate.
  • Offer praise when it’s deserved.
  • Never criticize someone who is competing but overmatched.
  • Go for brains over brawn.
  • Be flexible.
  • Make decisions with authority.
  • Drill them until they have it down cold.
  • Stress the little things to build a strong system.
  • Pinpoint and assign responsibility.
  • Be friendly with players but not overly familiar.
  • Be demanding.
  • Compete against the best.
  • Remember, a loss can be a great teacher.
  • Insist that self-esteem be earned.
  • Go for quality of practice over duration.
  •  Be organized.
  • Control what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t.
  • Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility.
  • Don’t use one kid to make an example for another.
  • Always have a positive attitude.
  •  Be efficient and precise.
  • Use tradition as a teaching tool.
  • Live by these rules—humility; dignity; ask no favors & give no favors.
  • Be proud to be on the team and remember the team always comes first.

—Compliments of Florida State Basketball


Coach Yourself: A Motivational Guide For Coaches And Leaders

About This Book
Coach Yourself is a unique book, compiled exclusively for coaches to provide you with physical, mental and spiritual motivation throughout the season. In his follow-up to A Season In Words, veteran coach Dan Spainhour arms you with quotes and motivational ideas to help you achieve peace of mind throughout the season from how to stay motivated to handling critics.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Characteristics Of Being In The Zone

In the flow, in a groove, on a roll, in the zone - whatever you call it, it’s all defining one thing. It’s that special feeling of playing like you can do no wrong and everything goes your way. You are so involved in what you are doing that nothing else seems to matter because you are so connected to your task. Unfortunately, these peak performances don’t seem to happen often enough. In fact, every time it does happen, it is usually by chance, it just happened to be a day when everything fell into place, clicked for you, and you got a taste of what it’s like to be in the zone. It’s kind of like getting a taste of the good life. Hopefully this occurrence will motivate you to do everything you can to have more peak performances.

By implementing mental training skills and working effectively as a team, you can increase the chances of this transpiring on a more consistent basis and you will be able to be in the zone as one harmonious unit. Being in the zone means doing more than anyone else thought possible, even superseding your own expectations at times. This zone is the definitive reason why many people are motivated to participate in sports.

Characteristics of being in the zone: 

Relaxed: The days of getting psyched up to play are over. Research has shown over and over that the best performances occur when you are just slightly above your normal state of arousal, not at the extreme end of the spectrum as once thought. You are energized, yet relaxed; it’s a subtle balance of quiet intensity. Your mind is calm and your body is ready to go. You feel relaxed, but you are able to move with great strength and ease.

Confident: Not letting a lapse in performance undermine your belief in your overall abilities is at the core of this characteristic. When you are playing well, you feel confident that no matter what you are up against, you are going to come out on top. You just exude confidence and pride, and it is evident in your performance. There is no fear. Confidence on the inside is outwardly shown by way of your presence, your walk and your facial expressions. You should expect to be successful, not hope or wish to be successful. You must adopt a confident, winning attitude. It is trusting your instincts and intuition to do the right thing at the right time; and if you are prepared, you can be confident that this will happen. This complete faith allows you to just know that you are going to do everything necessary to be successful without the conscious use of reasoning or analyzing.

Completely focused: You are totally absorbed in the moment. You have no memory of the past and no qualms about the future; you are here now. The only thing you are concentrating on is the task at hand. You are oblivious to everything else going on around you, consumed by the moment. Like a child playing with his toys, you are so absorbed in the moment that nothing outside can effect you. You have no real sense of time, and before you know it, the game is over. The game seems to have flown by, and at the same time, everything you did seemed to happen in a slowed-down pace with great precision and concentration. Having the ability to stay in the moment is a gift that all peak performers have.

Effortless: Things just sort of happen with little or no effort whatsoever. All your moves are smooth and for that time, your sports seems like the easiest thing in the world. You are in a state of mind and body where you can accomplish great things with little effort. Your mind and body are working with one another in perfect unison. The grace and ease that you display make everything you do seem like the simplest task in the world. You have a sense of finesse and grace, even when the task is very grueling and demanding. That sort of connectedness and moment of greatness is an awesome thing to both witness and take part in.

Automatic: There is no interference from your thoughts or emotions. Things are just happening, both without protest and without consent. You are on auto pilot - just reacting to whatever comes your way. Your body just seems to know what to do without any directive from you. There is no conscious thought involved; you’re going strictly on your instincts. If you think less, you will achieve more.

Fun: When you’re in the flow, the enjoyment is incomparable to anything else. You feel like when you were a kid enjoying your sport with pure and innocent delight. Anyone can see in your eyes the satisfaction and fulfillment the sport gives you. You feel like your sport is giving you back something that you can’t get from anyone or anything else. This is a key factor because if you don’t enjoy your sport, your future in it will be limited.

In Control: You feel that no matter what, you are in control. What you think and want to happen will. You have ultimate command over your emotions as well - you are controlling them, not the other way around. When you are in control, you are in charge. You govern your own destiny. When you feel this strong of a command over your game, great things are sure to happen. The authority is yours, and no one else’s.

—Adapted from Chapter 1 of Winning the Mental Way, by Karlene Sugarman, M.A.


A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour

Monday, July 8, 2019

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody

There was a team that consisted of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour