Monday, September 30, 2019

The Late, Great Dean Smith's Thoughts On Working With New Recruits

It’s not unusual for All-America High School Athletes to be spoiled by their early success. They are often told how good they are, and in many instances are given preferential treatment. It’s hard for them to believe they have things to learn, but the fact is that when new recruits start out, their knowledge is often limited. They often have great ability and even some knowledge but they often lack wisdom. They usually are deficient in so many areas—especially the mental approach to the game. There’s a large gap between where they are and where they need to be but they can’t see it.

The leader must find a way to get these young players to see this gap, make them understand it and believe it exists, before they can break through their know-it-all habits.  We always keep in mind these two important characteristics regarding behavior:
  • People won’t change their behavior until they change their beliefs and,
  • They’ll change their beliefs only when they see for themselves that they’ll come out better by changing. Effective coaches must have the ability to get people to change their beliefs, then their bad habits, for their own good as well as for the good of the team.
  • If you have a young player who needs a little persuading to change annoying or ineffective habits then try taking these four steps:
    1. Ask him or her to list four of the most effective/successful people they have ever met and then to describe five things each of these individuals do well.  Then ask them to compare themselves with these attributes.
    2. Ask them to choose someone in your program that they think is a top player and leader on their team. Then repeat the process of step one by describing five things they do well and then compare themselves with these attributes.
    3. Ask them to rate themselves on some important fundamentals/skills that are important to your team’s development.  Then ask them to give examples of their behavior that demonstrate their conclusions.
    4. Finally they should list five reasons why they believe they do not have much to improve upon.
  • The leader should then sit down with the player and coach him or her to success. Your goal as a leader is to create experiences that give your people feedback about the results of their behavior. Help them see the difference between where they are and where they think they are. Assist them in seeing the attributes that make an athlete successful. Show them the characteristics that you desire and makes a person a success in your program.  Hopefully, then they will be motivated to learn how to change their actions for the benefit of themselves and the team.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Four Things Every Team Member Needs

Want to ensure all of your team members are improving? Make sure you allow for these four important factors:
  1. Daily learning. Stimulate team members to do what it takes to improve.
  2. Elbow room. As they improve in competence, let them gradually take on more responsibility.
  3. Support. Show your players that all the team’s work is valuable, even if it’s not glamorous or doesn’t get public attention.
  4. Meaning. When things get tough, give consistent reminders of what the work will lead to.


A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour

Monday, September 16, 2019

Characteristics Of A Team Player

You know you are a team player when:
  • You realize fulfilling your role, whatever that role is, is most important.
  • You have a desire to excel for the benefit of those relying on you.
  • You have an unquenchable need to exceed your past limitations.
  • You play and know, without a doubt, that you competed like a champion.
  • You understand your commitment to your teammates.
  • You finish playing and only your body leaves the floor—your heart and soul are captured within the game.
  • You will exchange your blood, sweat, and tears for the benefit of the team.
  • You understand the irrelevance of individual awards.
  • You would rather encourage a teammate to success than benefit personally from his mistakes.
  • Your respect for the game outweighs your personal pride.
  • You make mistakes and use them to improve instead of using them as excuses.
  • Your ability to make your teammates better increases each time you play.
  • You do the little things right when nobody is watching.
  • You serve your teammates with unselfish motives.
  • You understand your role and strive to perform it better.
  • You have done all you can and still feel you haven’t done enough.
  • You play with pain without creating a scene.
  • You give more than what is asked and take less than what is deserved.
  • Your effort is constant and your play is consistent regardless of the situation.

The Coaching & Leadership Journal 
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Monday, September 9, 2019

The Importance Of Telling A Good Story

The most effective communicators have been great storytellers, from Aesop to Jesus to Abraham Lincoln to Mark Twain to Garrison Keillor to Ronald Reagan. Why? Everyone loves a story. Stories are like windows to the truth.

Leading through storytelling requires more than just spinning yarns; the stories must make important, relevant points. Through parables, Jesus imparted many of his most vital messages. Leaders need to appreciate this impact and prepare their own repertoire of parables that relate to their own particular enterprise.

Jesus both established and perfected the use of parables as a leadership methodology. Just think of the heroes he created who continue to inspire us—the good Samaritan, the good and faithful servant, the wise virgins, the poor widow, and others. As a leader, you need to teach through relevant stories that create heroes, build legends, and help establish the kind of culture that inspires your followers to excellence. Too many tell stories in which they are the hero. But Jesus was not the hero in the parables he told...others were. So make the heroes of your stories, not yourself. Build them up through your stories. If you aim to be a hero then do what it takes to be a hero in the stories others tell.

—Adapted from Leadership Lessons of Jesus: A Timeless Model for Today's Leaders  by Bob Briner and Ray Pritchard


Leading Narratives: 
The perfect collection of stories, jokes and wits of wisdom for leaders

By Dan Spainhour

6 x 9; 124 pages

The book is available from our website & any place books are sold.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Essence Of Team Building

Bob Ladouceur began coaching the De La Salle High Spartans in Concord, California in 1979. He took over a team that had never experienced a winning season since the school's founding in 1965 and turned it into a perennial winner. From 1992 to 2003, he guided the team to 12-consecutive undefeated seasons, setting a national winning streak record for high school football of 151 consecutive wins.
Team building according to Ladouceur consists of the following:
Start with the process. In 1979, Ladouceur sized up his few small, dispirited players, who hadn't had a winning season in the school's history. “My approach was all about process,” he says. “I didn't have any long-term goals. I just said to myself, Let's teach these guys how to win and what it takes to win, and then make it a day-to-day process.”
Create small victories. “I tell each player that all I ask is that by the time each practice ends, for you to be better than you were two or three hours ago. Whether it was in the weight room or on the field, I ask them to walk off a little bit stronger, to understand the game a little more, or at least to have the plays that we were running down more.”
Be a teacher who creates teachers. During practice, Ladouceur teaches techniques, getting down in the stance, talking about first steps. It's also about the complementary thinking that goes into game situations. After a few repetitions, he steps back. “I expect the kids to lead themselves.” Indeed, in the weight room, players supervise one another and think nothing of stopping a teammate's exercise if his form is wrong. “They self-correct,” he says.
Be about something bigger than work. “The kids have to see that you're about more than just football,” he says. “I don't think they respect you otherwise.” This is what elevates the teaching moments above the mundane. "It's not just about getting better physically, it's about how we're getting better as people: in terms of courtesy, respect, how they treat their bodies, how they treat their teammates, and how they respect themselves.”
Build a team with soul. “If a team has no soul, you're just wasting your time,” he says. During the off-season, players go camping or volunteer for community service. During the season, the team regularly attends chapel. Each player fills out a commitment card that lists specific expectations for the next game. What does he talk about before a game? “Love. What is it with us that we find it so hard to say it to each other?”