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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Excerpt From Relentless Wisdom

All -

Today's blog post is an excerpt from my book Relentless Wisdom. In this section we discuss a seven part series called: "Learning to Teach While Teaching." I hope you enjoy it.

What exactly is coaching for character? What does that even mean? How does one go about it? What is character development? Who's responsible? Why is it even important?

Hold on there brah!

There's a whole lot more to sports than just winning... and please don't get me wrong, I don't think any of us wants to lose. Truly, wins and losses are a fundamental part of sports AND life. That said what do you really learn if morals and values aren't taught while teaching?

Yeah, that's right, teaching while teaching... as much as we (coaches) are teaching (coaching is nothing more than teaching) young athletes how to execute a specific movement, play or technique we should also be sure to capture those "teachable moments" that will further benefit our young athletes in life. As a matter of fact, that's a huge part of our responsibility as coaches.

Athletes are always looking at how their coaches conduct themselves. ALWAYS - We are responsible for what they see.. in other words we must be able to model the very behavior that we expect from them.

The following are a few areas that can be "taught while teaching" in sports...
  • Discipline - "Doing what you should do whether you like it or not."    -Mack Newton
  • Hard Work - "No one has ever drowned in a pool of sweat."            -Lou Holtz
  • Trustworthiness - "Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great."           -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Humility - "A man wrapped in himself makes a very small bundle."   -Benjamin Franklin
  • Positive Attitude - "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."  -Winston Churchill
  • Respect - "Respect yourself and others will respect you."         -Confucius
  • Passion - "Passion is the genesis of genius."                             -Anthony Robbins
In the next week or so we will do a seven (7) part blog series about the above character traits as they pertain to athletics as a vehicle to teaching life lessons. I hope you will join in the discussion...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hey You... Pay Attention!

In our last entry we talked about how to motivate our young people and the difference between pushing them and shoving them. That said, maybe I was a bit unclear in my feeble attempt to create some sort of imagery. I used the term "shove" to illustrate the point that we (parents) can sometimes be a bit overbearing and in some cases add more stress to our kids than actually helping them cope with the issues they may have.

As parents we all want what's best for our children. The even bigger question is do we really know what that is? I mean, of course we know our children better than anyone...right? Have you ever sat them down and just asked their opinions about certain things? Life? Money? Pre-martial sex? Drugs? Alcohol? I've asked my kids about some of these things and I've been shocked (to say the very least) with their answers. They’re so much more in tune than we realize… well – at least more than I realized.

Ultimately, as much as we are the gate-keepers of all that we survey, we also need to take some time to listen to our kids' point of view. Young people want us to listen. They also want to be praised for who they are and what they accomplish. The sad fact is if we don't listen and give them the positive attention that they require, they'll get our attention another way...probably not the way we would choose them to.

Hey! Is anyone listening?!? !

Don't get it twisted... I don't have all the answers and I am frequently reminded of how much I fall short as a parent. That aside, I am a common sense person and even in writing this post, I am helping myself become a better father, coach, and confidant. I’m reminded of the adage, "it takes a village" to raise a child and to a point, yes it does. I would argue that it also takes a whole lot of patience and understanding of who our children are as human beings. Unfortunately sometimes the villagers (coaches, teachers, ministers, etc.) are more in tune with who our children are than we are.


At the end of the day, we get one shot at being the best possible parent we can be - I'm not a licensed parent/family-therapist/doctor/shrink/guru -person. I'm just a dad trying to figure it all out in hope that I'm giving my children the best version of me... they deserve that.

Hey! Is anyone listening?!?!

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Pushing and Shoving"

Family -

Sitting here earlier today thinking about what to say, I realized that there were some things that had been omitted in asking you as my “readers” for your opinions instead of assuming you wanted to hear mine. Simply stated, everyone has an opinion and whether good, bad or indifferent they’re all valid.

In our last post we discussed the huge difference in how things are now with raising our “Millennials” versus when most of us were coming up. What we didn’t discuss was how to motivate them. As previously stated, there has to be a sense of urgency and as parents we always push our children to be better than they believe they can be… but how far is far enough to push? How far is too far to push? At the end of the day maybe we should examine the difference between “pushing” and “shoving.”

When we hear the word “push” we usually think of someone challenging us to go harder and further than we’ve ever gone… kinda like achieving a level that you never thought attainable. Throughout that state of being “pushed” there are usually times when you think that you can’t continue and you’ve gone as far as you can possibly go… completely exhausted… physically, mentally and emotionally. At the same time however, you remain invigorated and determined to achieve the goal or task at hand… fighting tooth and nail to conquer whatever obstacles may lie ahead. Fear isn’t a consideration and at the very root of this journey is the idea that you WANT to be there… You ACCEPT the challenge.

Being “shoved” is more of a violent movement than anything… right? Whenever fights start there’s usually one person who “shoves” the other person causing an immediate emotional outburst of retaliation. When you think about being “shoved” you think about being forced to do something and thrown into an arena that you don’t really care to be in. Fear (we’ve all heard of the acronym associated with F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real) is a dominant factor which causes “paralysis of analysis.” No action. No movement. No fight. No nada! There’s no interest in the challenge much less the goal or the fight.

Merriam-Webster defines shove as: v. to put in a rough, careless or hasty manner; to move by forcing a way

Does that sound like anyone you know?

Ultimately, we need to be able to rightfully divide a loving “push” from a careless, hasty “shove” as parents. I was told by one of my coaches a long time ago: “the biggest room in the world is room for improvement.” Of course our kids need improvement… they’re kids, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we too live in that same room.

Your feedback is most appreciated...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Generation "Y" Athletes

Peeps –
I want to touch on a bit of a sore subject for a lot of us “old school” parents who have children in sports and that is… “where has the mental and physical toughness gone?” Now, I understand that things have changed and we now live in a different day and era. Most of us are parents to a generation known as “Millenials.”
 What…? Milleni-who?
Yes, that’s right “Millenials.” The young people of our digital age who would much rather strain a thumb playing video games versus break a sweat outside exercising. Those same young people who never have to pick up a rake, pull a weed or take out the trash (we have hired help for that now).  These same young people are incredibly intelligent, have a strong sense of family and typically have a strong sense of achievement…huh?
Let me be the first to say, that being in the private school sector and surrounded by these young people every day it’s amazing how much it taken for granted. What’s even more unfortunate is that parents (us, we) don’t feel the need to introduce our young people to anything other than convenience. For instance, when’s the last time you popped popcorn without putting it in the microwave? Remember “popcorn night” with the big pot and good ol’ Orville Redenbacher? When’s the last time the whole family worked in the yard together (oh, that’s right the “yard guy” comes on Thursday)? What ever happened to working during the summer in order to get the newest Air Jordan’s or the latest style in jeans? Nope no need for that, I’ll just ask my dad… seriously?
I say all of the above to say this… when we put our young people in sports, we can’t possibly expect them to work any harder than they’ve been exposed to. We might as well ask them to walk on the moon if we’re expecting them to rise to some magnanimous (yes, it’s an SAT word) occasion having no experience with struggle, fight or gumption. Let’s get real here. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Millenials are often times stressed, pushed and overwhelmed by their parents. 
Look, I’m not going to win a father of the year award anytime soon and I whole-heartedly agree with giving your children a much better life than you’ve had… but do them a favor and insert a little bit of struggle and fight. Have them work a little bit so they learn to appreciate what they have. Get them to open there eyes to a great, big HUGE world around them and help them understand that it isn’t easy. If not, we’re doing nothing more than setting them up for failure (Lord knows we couldn’t bear the thought of an unsuccessful child).
Until next time – “right on to the real… and death to the fakers.”

Out -