Articles

How to Get More from Your Reading

It’s been reported adults average 11 hours of media consumption a day. The research shows the majority of this consumption only adds to the stress and anxiety of our life. Does all this information provide any value in my life? What I’ve learned is the more access to...

One Special Way to Connect with Your Team

Something was still missing. He wanted something more for the upcoming season and for his players. Over the last fifteen years this coach had mastered the technical and tactical parts of his game, becoming one of the most well-respected coaches across the country. So...

The Naturalness Bias: Why Most Coaches Value Talent Over Character

Our Fascination with the Natural In the Academy Award winning film, Good Will Hunting, 20-year-old Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) is a genius, working as a lowly janitor at MIT. He gets the attention of math professor, Gerald Lambeau, after solving one of his...

Why You Are Failing to Motivate Your Players

“Motivation is overvalued. Environment often matters more.” - James Clear Why We Fail to Motivate I just had a well known college coach ask me to come in and give a motivational pep talk to his team. I declined. Not because I was too busy. Not because I was unwilling...

The Discipline System That Will Transform Your Culture

How Building A New Courtroom Transformed A Community The neighborhood of Red Hook used to be one of the roughest, not just in all of Brooklyn, but in all of America. It was riddled with crime and drugs and supported one of the biggest public housing developments in...

Implementing the Commitment Tracking System

Listen to EVERY Article on the Audioblog Here 1% Better is Not A Mantra; It’s a System "Let’s get 1% better today!” Have you heard this? Maybe even said it? It’s a common mantra in sports today. This idea or mantra has been largely misinterpreted though—I’m guilty of...

Missed Opportunities to Develop Character

Typically, as a high-school coach, if you take your team of rowdy teenagers to dinner in a public restaurant, and the evening is forgettable, it was a success! As much as you want them to represent your program well, that often means, “Don’t be rude to the staff,...

5 Special Ways to Invest in Players After They Leave

A Lesson from Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Dean Smith 184. It’s the number of players Dean Smith coached in his time at UNC, it’s the number of calls he would make every year to former players on their birthday to talk to them, and after his death in 2015, it was the...

Train Character with the Commitment Tracking System

Moving from Values to Virtues The 64-Page Culture Manual to Fraud, Corruption, and Bankruptcy Research has shown culture is the driver of behavior in the workplace, in the classroom, and on the sports field. So, in the early 2000s, one company was so intent on...

10 Reasons We Shouldn’t Yell at Athletes

(From a Yell-aholic Coach) This March Madness, one the most talked about moments was this exchange between Michigan State Tom Izzo and Aaron Henry during a timeout in the first-round game. Thanks to CBS, ESPN, and social media, this exchange has become viral, with...

How to Never Have a Bad Practice

The Guaranteed Routine to a Good Practice I’d spent about 10 hours preparing for practice. I’d watched film of previous practices, scouted film of our next opponents, and met with my assistants regarding what we should do during the next practice. Every minute was...

You’re Closer Than You Think

Bill Walsh's 5 Principles to Stay the Course Written by Shane Sowden “Most debilitating of all—devastating—was a gnawing fear that I didn’t have what it takes to be an NFL head coach. At one point, I actually decided to hand in my resignation the next morning, then I...

The Secret Habit of Great Leaders

Solitude is a subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other minds. [It] requires you to move past reacting to information created by other people and focus instead on your own thoughts and experiences—wherever you happen to be.” –Cal Newport,...

5 Ways to Stop Giving Bad Feedback

The Growth Mindset Research People Forget In 1998, Carol Dweck, a Stanford research psychologist and the author of the book Mindset, took over 400 fifth-grade students across the country and gave them all of them a very easy IQ test. After the test, she split the...

How to Work with Parents Complaining About Playing Time

We are just getting into the middle of basketball, hockey, and wrestling season in America. Over the last few weeks, nearly every high school and college coach in my mentorship program has faced texts or emails from parents, complaining about their child’s playing...

The Most Important Thing to Do with Your Team Today

3 Simple Ways to Put First Things First with Your Team Lost in Our Mission             In Mark Batterson’s book, Wild Goose Chase, he shares a study of some seminarians, where the researchers had the students prepare a sermon about the Good Samaritan. For those who’ve...

My Actions are Speaking So Loud My Players Can’t Hear Me!

Excerpt from my book Calling Up Embarrassed as ever, Daniel visited John after the game. John answered the door, and Daniel walked right into his living room and fell into the oversized armchair. “What a complete disaster! My team is so bad, and I was so blind to how...

How to Stop Getting Angry as a Coach

Unwilling to Change My high school basketball coach’s temper was legendary. He would pull players out of the game when they made a mistake, and then rip into them right in front of a packed gym. But, even more legendary to his players were the verbal barrages he would...

My #1 Coaching Takeaway from the 2018 College Football Season

Calling Up: Discovering Your Journey to Transformational Leadership Pre-Order Now: Click Here Get your free chapter of Calling Up here! Jalen Hurts’s Mental Toughness One of the biggest stories of this college football season was the story of Alabama quarterback,...

3 Simple Ways to Give Great Feedback

Radical Transparency “You sometimes say or do things to players which makes them feel incompetent, unnecessary, humiliated, overwhelmed, belittled, pressed, or otherwise bad. If you don’t start coaching people well, growth will be stunted, and the team will be...

4 Keys to Creating a Plan for Your Culture

Calling Up: Discovering Your Journey to Transformational Leadership Pre-Order Now: Click Here Get your free chapter of Calling Up here! Creating Culture “Culture is a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal. It’s not something you are. It’s something...

The Simplest Way to Get Follow-Through on Player Commitments

Calling Up: Discovering Your Journey to Transformational Leadership Pre-Order Now: Click Here Get your free chapter of Calling Up here! The Power of a Checklist The number of surgeries performed every year in the world is growing at a staggering rate, averaging now...

Why Great Coaches Are Valuable, Not Important

Calling Up: Discovering Your Journey to Transformational Leadership Pre-Order Now: Click Here Being Important important: marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence valuable: of great use or service As a player, I always wanted to be “the man”. Every...

How to Turn Your Team Values into Team Behaviors

Vague Expectations In his book, Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin tells a short story of a company that decided to start celebrating birthdays to improve morale. The manager told his administrative assistant to buy a cake for a woman in the office named Kate. Now,...

How One Coach Built the Most Competitive College Program Ever

It’s Not a Championship; It’s an Anniversary Anson Dorrance’s North Carolina Women’s Soccer Team had just won seven championships in a row and would go on to win 2 more, when a full page ad of the team was published hoisting the trophy would feature the caption, “It’s...

Be Who Your Team Needs You to Be

Calling Up: Discovering Your Journey to Transformational Leadership Pre-Order Now: Click Here If you want to listen to this blog or any other click here. The Version of Yourself They Need In the summer of 2018, I got to meet Jerry Lynch, who arguably is the most...

5 Ways Align Your Behaviors with Your Values

Why do we need a system for personal improvement? Read more here! Listen to this blog and many others here. To Spank or Not to Spank “Your turn!” I said to my wife, Melissa, as my two-year-old daughter, Alena, had just defiantly thrown a toy across the room, shouted,...

Do Your Behaviors Align with Your Values?

5 Minute Listen A John Wooden Wannabe Early on, I had an obsession with Coach John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach. My obsession equated to me reading every book written both by him and about him. He was known for his “maxims”—witty sayings like: “Be...

Why Coaches Need to Define Their “Why”

4 Minute Read or Listen Why Do I Coach? Whether we are in our first year or our 30th year of coaching, we need to constantly ask ourselves this question, and we need to have a good answer for it. If we don’t keep our “why” at the forefront of our mind, we will forget...

How to Purposefully Define Your Coaching Core Values

Our Coaching Values Part 2 Read Part 1 Here 4 Minute Read or Listen Here Unintentional Consequences “Sports can team with ethics and character and spirituality; virtuous coaching can integrate the body with the heart, the mind, and the soul. But, as my first memory...

What do you value in sports?

Our Coaching Values Part 1 5 Minute Read or Listen Here When the Unthinkable Happens Just two days after Christmas, my team was boarding a bus as we headed for an eight-hour journey to a  basketball tournament in Florida. As players were loading the bus, I started to...

The Coaching Identity Crisis

My Coaching Crisis 4 Minute Read or Listen “I saw the transactional coaches: the kind of coaches who use players as tools to meet their personal needs for validation, status, and identity. They held their power over us to elicit the response they wanted.” –Joe...

Why Our Sports Culture Doesn’t Need Anymore Critics

The Sports Culture Critic 3 Minute Read or Listen Here Over a decade ago, on a typical rainy September day in Ireland, I walked into the local sports facility and asked if anybody needed a basketball coach. It was not planned, and it was not something I had given any...

8 Ways to Transform Player-Coach Relationships

Giving More to Our Players 7 Minute Read or Listen on Here “When you begin to see others as people you end up seeing people who have hopes, dreams, fears, and even justifications that resemble your own.” –The Arbinger Institute Years ago, a mentor asked me to write...

4 Steps of Transformational Discipline

Discipline That Builds (Not Breaks) Relationships 7 Minute Read or Listen to the AudioBlog Recently, I got an email from a coach with a question you may have pondered as well: “How can I build relationships with my players, but still maintain high standards in the...

6 Steps to a Transformational Culture

Part 3: Leadership and Character Development 3 Minute Read or Listen Part 1: 4 Keys to Curriculum Part 2: 4 Culture Essentials “If the system does not change, it will set people up to fail.” Michael Beer If you have read my previous two articles then you understand...

Before You Implement a Character or Leadership Program

Part 2: Character and Leadership Development 3 Minute Read or Listen Thrive On Challenge Audioblog (If you have not read Part 1, please read it first) My Failure Last year, in a guest blog for Lead Em Up, I shared my journey of becoming intentional about culture...

The Character and Leadership Development You Need

Part 1: Deciding on a Leadership Curriculum 5 Minute Read or Listen Over the last few months, I've had some coaches ask if I would be developing a curriculum for teams. After a great deal of thought, I came to decide that I wouldn’t. My passion and interest are in...

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Discipline

Rethinking Our Discipline Strategies 5 Minute Read or Listen  “Hit the line! If we are going to continue to walk through these drills, then we are going to spend the rest of this practice running!” I definitely used this strategy more times than I can count. Not only...

How to Coach the Entitled iGeneration Athlete

Adapting to the iGeneration 6 Minute Read or Listen Many coaches are  struggling with the growing sense of entitlement in the iGeneration. If you aren’t then you are ahead of the pack! Where do they get this sense of entitlement? Well, children aren’t being born...

The Hard Feedback Coaches Need

Avoiding the Truth 5 Minute Read or Listen     It was one of those coaching moments when you are so humiliated, you don’t want to speak to a soul. My team had just suffered a crushing defeat to our crosstown rivals at home on a Friday night in a packed gym. The...

How to Determine Playing Time for Your Team

Playing Time 12 Minute Read or Listen Unless you have been the coach responsible for who plays and who doesn’t, then you don’t understand the challenges and pressures of setting lineups and making substitutions. Coaches are faced with many conflicting feelings,...

Why We Shouldn’t Model Winning Coaches

2 Issues with Modeling a Winning Coach 8 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes If you followed this year’s college basketball March Madness Tournament, you were probably like me and were cheering for Loyola-Chicago, who was this year’s Cinderella story. Every year, there is...

How Coaches Kill Player Motivation

Fighting Fire with Fire 4 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes “How do I motivate people to learn? To work? To do their chores? Or to take their medicine?—are the wrong questions. They are wrong because they imply that motivation is something that gets done to people...

How to Build Meaningful Relationships with Players

2 Principles and a Bunch of Ways to Build Relationships! 7 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes You coach for the relationships. Whether you are an individual trainer or a team coach, relationships are at the core of what you do and your success. The challenge is that...

4 Ways to Coach Character

Why You Need Conviction to Put Character First in Sports 5 Minute Read or Listen in iTunes You don’t need convincing that exercising 30 minutes every day is good for your health. You don’t need convincing that reading 15 minutes every day is good for your mind. You...

7 Ways to Get Off-Season Player Buy-In

Standards to Control or Empower 8 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes Over the last month, one of the most dominant challenges and topics of conversations I have had with mentees and other coaches has been getting “player buy-in” to an off-season program. One feeling...

Why Your Team Needs a Hell Week

The Selection 10 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes You may be the coach who has 100 kids at a tryout for a roster of 12 or you may be the coach who struggles to get the numbers together to form a team. Regardless of your situation, a selection process can help lay a...

How to Build a Competitive Spirit in Athletes

Kid's Don't Compete Anymore! 8 Minute Read or Listen You probably have had the realization that you want to win more than your players do; most young people today seem to lack the competitive fire that makes for a special athlete. And in the cases when they do have a...

5 Strategies to Lead Athletes in Emotional Moments

Athletes in Emotional and Challenging Moments 7 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes We all have experienced the hard, emotional losses both as a coach and as a player. Your team may get blown out. They may have been upset by a “weaker” team. Or you may have come so close...

7 Ways to Love Your Reserves

Why You Should Love Your Reserves 10 Minute Read or Listen Here You know most of your team’s success will come down to how you have prepared them, not your game time decisions. And regardless of your sport, on game day, playing time is the area in which you as the...

One Simple and Powerful Way to Finish the Season

What would you say to your younger self? 4 Minute Read or Listen We all have learned a great deal through our experiences in life, most of these being mistakes and failures! As coaches, we inevitably face the challenge of communicating these lessons to our players in...

The Single Most Important Standard of a Transformational Culture

You Can’t Not Become Better 3 Minute Read or Listen Recently, I interviewed a woman named Jordan Patterson on my podcast, Coaching Culture (click here to listen to Episodes 24 & 25). Jordan shared her story of playing softball at Alabama, when they won a National...

3 Things to Remember About Making Plans

"You have to start with a plan, but the plan you start with will not be the plan that gets you there." -Jeff Olson 3 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes Nearly one year ago I started Thrive On Challenge with some big plans! During the last year some things have worked and...

3 Reasons Coaches Should Listen to Parents’ Concerns

Even About Things Parents Shouldn’t Be Concerned About 5 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes “I would like to meet with you to discuss my child.” Oh, the dreaded text a coach gets the evening after a hard practice or game! This text or email can lead to a few sleepless...

3 Strategies to Move from a Coach-Led Team to a Player-Led Team

How a Sled Dog Team Works Sled Dog teams have been around since 1000 BC and are still used today; not just for racing, but in the place of snowmobiles and helicopters for rescue operations. They are even able to travel for 6-8 hours across the roughest arctic...

How I Read 52 Books in a Year

Read More Books with These 5 Transformational Habits 6 Minute Read or Listen on iTunes “Reading is a form of mentorship where we can learn from the greats even if we can’t spend personal time with them. I’ve literally tricked hundreds of thousands of people into...

How to Coach with High Standards and Love

Empowering Those We Lead “The way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.” -Alfie Kohn One of the big themes in my writing and podcasts is the importance of empowering those we lead. We must empower them to be leaders and...

The Most Motivational Half-Time Speech You Can Give

And You Will Never See it in a Sports Film It’s halftime! But my team is losing. Maybe it’s because we didn’t execute the game plan properly. Maybe we lacked the hustle and effort. Or maybe the players didn’t believe they were good enough to win this game. Either way,...

What beliefs are holding you back?

What Elephants Can Teach Us About Limiting Beliefs Elephants are the strongest land animals in the world, with some possessing the strength to carry up to 9,000 KG, or 130 humans. So, how does the circus hold them back with a single rope? From the time they are...

5 Commitments Coaches Can Make to Work with Parents

The New Challenge: Calling Parents Up, Not Out Years ago, when I was coaching in Ireland, I had a much different criticism of parents in sports. Generally, with some exceptions, the parents were uninvolved and uninterested in their son’s basketball games. Basketball...

Why We Need Leaders Who Call People Up Instead of Calling People Out

Young People Need Models, Not Critics A Model Leader  In 2015 Pope Francis visited Philadelphia and I spent those few days amazed at the extent of the coverage by the major news networks. Our main stream media was showing 24 hour coverage of the visit and this was...

How to Become a Transformational Coach on the Sidelines

The Crazed Sideline Coach “Simply put, we have to learn to become mindful of who we are and what we are doing. This development of mindfulness, the ability to perceive ourselves and others accurately, is the most profound journey a coach can take.” -Joe Ehrmann  Since...

Serving Others Doesn’t Always Look the Way We Want It

What My Mother Has Taught Me About Servant Leadership  My mother is a breast cancer survivor. I was only 10 years old at the time that she went through chemotherapy and radiation. In an effort to keep me from worrying, she did her best to hide the pain, suffering, and...

The Most Powerful Message at Every Coach’s Disposal

Influence is earned through the story you are living. It comes from the life that you have lived to date, and what you are consistently modeling right now. It comes from the fortitude you show in the midst of resistance and struggle.” -Jamie Gilbert Moved to Action...

What Athletes are Really Looking for in a Team

Too Hot or Too Cold We are at a time when transfers in college athletics has reached an all time high and it is not uncommon for professional athletes to play for more than 5 teams in a career. I often join in the criticism and judgment of our athletes' Goldilocks and...

The Key to Building the Team Culture of Your Dreams

Your Dream Team We love movies like Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, and Miracle, because we see a group of individuals come together to become something special! Coaches dream of one day leading a selfless team, with a strong work ethic, and a relentless desire to be...

The 1st Step to Building a Selfless Culture

A Selfish Culture Stems from a Lack of Leadership Something I've noticed is most coaches at most levels aren't satisfied with their team's performance last season. They feel they are underachieving. And this is regardless of how many games they won or even if they...

The Two Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself Everyday

“There is something about experiencing repeated failure and lack of resources, that is a part of the formula for bringing out the deepest creativity, resourcefulness, and persistence needed to reach one’s personal greatness.” -Joshua Medcalf Our Fear of Mistakes “I...

If Sports Don’t Build Character, What Does?

“Sports don’t build character; they reveal it.” —John Wooden One of the biggest misconceptions in sports today is that they build character. However, if they inherently built character, professional and collegiate athletes in America would be some our most model...

See the Person: The Key to Building Relationships with Athletes

Part 2 of a 3 Part Series: Three Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Coaching Ten Years Ago The Key to Building Meaningful Relationships in Coaching Two years ago I excitedly awaited the start of our season with high expectations for our team. Unexpectedly, 3 weeks...

The End of the Year Highlight Film that Highlights the TEAM

Telling the Story of Our Season Below is the speech I gave to our parents and players before unveiling our highlight film at the end of the year team banquet. Thank you everyone for coming to celebrate a very special season for the Notre Dame Basketball program. The...

How to Coach Entitled Athletes

Part 1 of 3 Things I wish I knew when I started coaching 10 years ago BOUNDARIES Unless you haven’t been on social media in the last week, you have seen the video of Geno Auriemma on body language. He believes players are becoming more and more selfish and entitled...

How to Read More in the 21st Century

"A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say, 'How to Build a Boat."'—Stephen Wright I think I might need to add a book on survival skills to my book list! So this year I have committed to reading 52 books...

My Coach’s Guide to a Losing Season

Coaching through a Season of Valleys Most coaches wait until they win the “big one” to write their book or start a blog. Me… Not so. I have waited until I was 19 games into my most losing season in 10 years of coaching to start my blog. We are 4-15. So why would...

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