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The Bias Your Prospect Has Against You (and How to Overcome It)Monday, September 29th, 2014

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.57.03 PMI have worn K-Swiss tennis shoes for thirty straight years.

I started wearing them as a high school Senior when I was playing tennis, and haven’t looked back.  I usually buy one pair a year, and make the previous year’s pair my beat-up pair of yard work shoes.  They’re comfortable, they’re durable, and I like the way they look.

In other words, the billions of dollars of advertising and branding that Nike, Adidas, and the rest have invested in hasn’t convinced me to switch allegiances.  I have an emotional bias towards K-Swiss tennis shoes, and I don’t see it ending any time soon.

Why is that?  Because despite my increasing risk of becoming a fashion outcast (a label which is applicable beyond just my choice of footwear, admittedly) no other shoe maker has made the emotional case for why I should switch.  And since I already think I know everything there is to know about tennis shoes that are “right” for me, I tune out their advertising message.  I know what I want, it’s a smart decision, and that’s that.  And, whenever I see something that’s positive or favorable about K-Swiss, it further cements my belief that I made the right choice.

Which is where you come in, Coach:

The exact same reason I don’t seriously consider switching tennis shoe brands may be the reason many of your recruits don’t seriously consider you and your program. It’s a principle called confirmation bias, and it’s an increasing area of study for our group here at Tudor Collegiate Strategies as we map out strategies and communication plans for our clients.

Confirmation bias happens when we only pay attention to the data or information that affirms our decision or beliefs. We interpret all new data through the grid of what we’ve already decided. And, one of the most fascinating features of confirmation bias is that it causes us to press our beliefs beyond the level of credibility. Even though evidence may overwhelmingly contradict our position, we hold tenaciously to our preferred belief. In my case, it may be irrational love for K-Swiss tennis shoes.  For you as a coach, it could be affecting your recruit’s ability to look logically at the opportunity you’re offering your recruits:

  • They don’t want to consider you as a Division II program, because they’ve decided that schools in your category aren’t solid academically and would mean “settling” athletically. And every time their club coach tells them that “they can do better than a D2 offer”, it confirms that notion.
  • Your prospect doesn’t want to visit campus because they aren’t used to snow and cold winters, so of course they’d be unhappy playing for you.  And every time they see snow forecasted for your region of the country, it confirms that notion.
  • The parents of your prospect are suspect of the fact that you’re so young, and automatically assume that you will have trouble leading a program in a serious way. And, when the more experienced coach in your conference makes reference to your age or coaching experience in a negative way, it confirms that notion.

Sound familiar? Right now, confirmation bias – and the negative effects it carries – is creating more hurdles for you in the recruiting process.  It’s a powerful psychological aspect of our decision making, albeit illogical.  As a recent New York Times article on the topic outlines, confirmation bias is a “tendency to look for information that supports the way we feel about something.”

So, what are you doing to combat that, Coach?  And, what’s the best way to compete against this line of thinking on the part of your prospects and their increasingly influential parents?

First, understand that your prospect has probably already made up his or her mind.  That might be a good thing for you, or it could be the negative that’s preventing them from replying to your initial emails.  Once you agree that most of your recruits come into a conversation with preconceived biases and ideas, I believe it changes the way you construct a recruiting message.

They aren’t looking for logic right away.  They’re looking for an emotional reason to have a conversation with you.  Why doesn’t a recruit respond to you when you send out a logical, factual outline of what your school offers, the successful history of your program, and the outstanding networking opportunities that your graduates enjoy?  Because they’ve already decided that their original choice is the smartest for them.  Just like I’ve decided that K-Swiss is the perfect brand for me – based on nothing more than the fact that I’ve always worn them and I like the way they look and feel – your prospect is basing his or her initial decision on whether to communicate with you or not on simplistic, illogical reasons.  So don’t try to sell them on the logic behind choosing you right away; instead, create an emotional connection with them.

Focus on what makes them happy.  Why have they decided that another division level, another location, or another coach’s experience is right for them?  What are they assuming that gives them as an end result?  You need to make the emotional case that (using the previous examples for the sake of argument) having a younger coach is better, competing at the Division II level affords you more freedom and balance, and that experiencing a different climate is actually a great thing.  Only after those basic ideas are accepted as possibilities can you then move on to the logical argument that you’re the best option for them.

Last, but not least, be consistent.  This strategy doesn’t take place over one or two emails, or in one long phone conversation. It may take weeks to create that emotional connection.  Consistent, long term communication with your prospect using the rule that we talk about in many of the On-Campus Workshops we’ve conducted is key. That research-based rule, which says that most recruits want a message that tells them “here’s why you should come play for me” sent every six to nine days.  They need the consistency, and they need it talked about in a personalized way…that makes it easy to reply back to you and start a conversation.

Understanding this important psychological component of your prospect’s mental make-up is key in developing a comprehensive, effective recruiting message.  Without it, they are probably going to come up with enough illogical reasons on their own to not talk to you, or seriously look at the alternatives available to them.

I’ve got thirty years worth of old K-Swiss tennis shoes that’ll back me up on that.

We’ve put together more outstanding, inexpensive resources for you to become a more knowledgable, strategic recruiter.  Click here to collect our written resources for your personal coaching library, and click here to find out how to become a continual learner through our Premium Member program.

11 Simple Steps For Finding And Keeping Amazing PeopleMonday, September 29th, 2014

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

This IS rocket science, right here.

See, rocket science is about putting things together that take off to great heights, or explode. That’s what this is all about.

There is this special thing about coaching — it doesn’t matter how good a coach you are, if you want to achieve great heights you need to surround yourself with Amazing People.

And not just athletes.

The same goes for assistant coaches, volunteers, organizers, trainers, leaders, etc. Amazing People make the difference.

All-the-difference.

In fact, anywhere people are involved, THEY are often the limiting factor. You want great results? Amazing People will get you closer to your dream.

To me, one story that enforces this is Apollo 13. Three astronauts came home because Amazing People did Amazing Things. (That what Jim Lovell told me when I met him years ago.)

The Amazing Puzzle

But finding, and then keeping, Amazing People is like a jig-saw puzzle, with lots of small moving pieces. And it is not easy.

For my team, every year, I have to do this find-and-keep puzzle process. It can be crazy, daunting, exhausting but it is worth every single second of BST (blood, sweat, and trauma).

I’ve teased out how we do it into 11 simple steps.

The first eight focus on finding Amazing People and the last three on keeping said Amazing.

8 Simple Steps For FINDING Amazing People

  1. Assess What Amazing You Need. Assessing what you need is a step often skipped. Several years ago I realized that I didn’t need JUST an assistant coach, I needed an Amazing Assistant. One who would be great at the things I was terrible at. Knowing that was what I needed became instrumental in us hiring our current assistant who has been hands down Amazing.
  2. What Do You Have To Offer? Amazing people come with a price tag. What are you prepared to pay? Are there financial incentives, growth opportunities, special arrangements that would make it enticing? Knowing up front can reduce mis-steps and missed opportunities later.
  3. Where Does Your Amazing Hang? Where do your future Amazing People hang out? That’s wicked critical to know. If you’re looking for an amazing football recruit, he’s probably not reading “Ice Hockey Weekly.” Amazing rowing coaches don’t usually go to football conventions. SIDs might be where sport statistics live. One thing I’ve learned is that Amazing People tend to hang with other Amazing People (hold that thought for 30 seconds.)
  4. Announce To Amazing. When you know what you are looking for, and where they hang, let them know you are looking. Real straight, referrals from other Amazing People have worked out better than any other ad, agency, or systematic method. I’m not saying those things won’t work for you, I’ve just had great success with asking and listening to other Amazings.
  5. Communicate. Announce and communicate, it sounds simple, right? And it is with Amazing People. Communicating is one thing that makes them Amazing. Something to keep in mind as you move ahead.
  6. Interview.Sit down (or stand, or walk, or run) and have a good talk. In person. Digital is fine for opening the door, but live, face-to-face, look-in-their eyes talks are way better.
  7. Make An Offer.You already know what you can offer, from Step 2, so this is the easiest step of them all.
  8. Seal The Deal. With agreement in the air, take the final step. Sign the papers, shake the hands, or get the deposits. Now’s the time to make whatever needs to happen to happen.

3 Simple Steps For KEEPING Amazing People

The easy part is over. Once you’ve got em, you need to keep em.

How?

Well, there are three avenues that I’m aware of.

  1. Relate.There’s a great book I’ll recommend in a second. A thought-shifter. It’s called, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em.The authors recommend a multitude of steps to keep Amazing People.

Here’s several:

  • Show respect
  • Energize the job
  • Share information
  • Don’t be a jerk
  • Be a mentor
  • Encourage passion in them
  • Reward and praise
  • Give them space
  • Tell the truth
  • Listen to them
  • Sustain wellness
  • Yield power

All good advice, especially if you dig down into it. (You can find the book right here.) Ah but there’s more.

10.Get Out Of The Way. I’ve learned this the hard way … when you work with Amazing, let Amazing work. I know it’s hard to get out of the way, to delegate, yield. Get over it. Do it.

11. Help Them Grow.All the Amazing People I’ve ever met had at least this in common, they wanted to keep getting more amazing. Help them do that and you increase the chances they’ll stay. Stifle the growth and you will need to start this whole process over again.

What’s Your Excuse?

These tips are not magical, mystical, or complicated. In fact, you could consider them downright boring. However, applying these simple steps could mean attracting and retaining people who can help you achieve your dreams. Look at is this way: You’ve invested a lot to get where you are today. A little more investment might pay off in amazing ways.

 

 

Featured Series: The ‘Miracle’ Behind Herb Brooks’s Miracle On IceMonday, September 29th, 2014

by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com

It is often said that you cannot win without outstanding athletes, but never underestimate the importance of coaching and recruiting.

After Herb Brooks led the 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey team past the Soviets 4-3 and to the gold, the legendary Anatoli Tarasov – one of the founders of the Soviet hockey dynasty – said this: “The line up of the 1980 Olympic champions – not so impressive. A couple of classy defensemen, about five individually strong forwards – and that is all. But the trump card for the U.S. team this time was its coach Herb Brooks.”

In sports history, Tarasov is like John Wooden. When he would speak, all would listen.

Historians have said none of the 20 U.S. players would have made the Soviet roster, yet Herb won with them. In my teambuilding sessions for
college programs, I share in depth how he did it, and one of the things he did was go to the head of the Psychology Dept at the University of Minnesota and have him prepare a 300 question questionaire for the prospective players. None of the questions had anything to do with sports, but more about how they could handle stress and change. Herb wanted players who could deal with pressure and embrace the total shift in playing style he would teach them over seven months. He also wanted young men who could take advantage of opportunities.

In the seven games at Lake Placid, the team was brilliant when it came to seizing opportunities. In game one vs Sweden, they trailed by a goal with a minute to go. A loss and medal hopes were slim and none. Herb pulled goalie Jim Craig with less than a minute to go to get another skater on the ice. With half a minute to go Bill Baker, now an oral surgeon, scored.

In the historic game vs the Soviets, Team USA was out shot 39-16 but took advantage of opportunities. With :05 to go in the first period Mark Johnson saw the Soviet defenders and goalie Vladisav Tretiak relax a bit anticipating the end of the period. Johnson soared at the puck like a bullet. Why? Because in the pre game speech Herb had told them they were born to be hockey players and meant to be there that night. Mark believed that it had been written in a book centuries ago that he was meant to be there, so the fired at the puck and scored with :01 to go. The goal so rattled the Soviet coach that he pulled Tretiak – one of, if not the greatest goalies ever – for the rest of the game.

Herb recruited and molded not the best college and amateur players in the nation, but the right players. The nation’s leading college scorer was not on his team. Herb wanted a team of players with a bucketfull of working class gumption and flying skates. Like many of you today, he knew the value of speed.

While it is important to give great respect to players and you can’t win without great and special ones, Tarasov makes it clear that the coaching, mind games, and drive of Herb Brooks was the main reason they won that year.

One resource I suggest for you is the book America’s Coch by Ross Bernstein. It is filled with insights on how Herb did it, and also includes transcripts from many of his motivational talks. There is more info at bernsteinbooks.com

In my on site college team building seminars, I share step by step how that team made history and earned the honor of the greatest U.S. sports accomplishment of the 20th century.

hockey herb book

 Charlie can be reached at charlie@stokethefirewithin.com(574) 807 2279 or at his site stokethefirewithin.com

 

 

Featured Series: The ‘Miracle’ Behind Herb Brooks’s Mircale On IceMonday, September 22nd, 2014

by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com

We lost the first of the 20 heroes that were on the 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey team.

Bob Suter died earlier this month of a heart attack at age 57. He was doing what he loved best as he was coaching youth hockey at the facility he owned in his native Madison, Wisconsin.

In putting together that 1980 team that would stun the Soviets 4-3 in Lake Placid, Herb was looking for tough guys like Suter. Mike Eruzion nicknamed him Bam Bam, from the character from the Flintstones. He said Suter was always ‘bamming’ into someone. Other teammates called him Woody because he was like a wood duck, always bouncing back up.

As you recruit players, people like Bob Suter are who you want to win championships. Three months before the Games in Lake Placid, Suter broke his ankle. While he wasn’t at full speed, Herb kept him on his team because of his fire within and his toughness. When a Czech player cheap shotted Team USA’s top offensive player Mark Johnson in the second game of the Olympics, Brooks sent Bam Bam out to “deal with” the Czech player. As Brooks built teams, everyone had a role, and part of Suter’s role was to take care of such matters. It was the same with Mark Wells, who was the 20th and last man to make that roster. With the score tied with the Soviets 3-3 with ten minutes left on that fateful night of February 22nd, 1980, Brooks sent Wells out to agitage Soviet star Valeri Kharmalouv.

In recruiting, you are obviously focused on building a team and program that wins games and championships. However we can never lose sight of what’s really important is to recruit and develop young men and women that turn into people like Bob Suter. He was a standout at the University of Wisconsin, leading them to a National Championship. He was on the 1980 Olympic gold medal team, but what many will remember him most for is the impact on youth hockey in Wisconsin. Eurozione told the media recently that with respect to all his gold medal teammates, no one did more for youth hockey than Suter. His hockey programs at his facility impacted thousands, and sent several to the NHL.

They could not find a Lutheran Church big enough to hold his funeral. The waiting time to pay respects the day before was over four hours.

Suter never played NHL although he could have gone to that level. He wanted to get on to other things in his life like his sporting goods story and his hockey building. His son Ryan, a star for the Minnesota Wild, has never seen the 1980 game because decades ago his Dad lent it to someone and it never returned. Suter didn’t mind, as he had moved forward.

I will continue to write about the greatest sports moment and team of the 20th century, and I hope these insights help you not only in recruiting but in coaching. Herb Brooks was a genius. His players were very special. What they did should never be forgotten, and that is the purpose of my team building seminar I deliver on site to college athletics programs.

Charlie can be reached at charlie@stokethefirewithin.com(574) 807 2279 or at his site stokethefirewithin.com

Please Don’t Do This When You Text a RecruitMonday, September 15th, 2014

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Great Links To Up Your Recruiting GameMonday, September 15th, 2014

by Sean Devlin, FrontRush.com

Like anyone trying to continually learn/grow etc., we read a lot of technology/sports/higher ed articles. I personally store all my articles in Instapaper and just cleared out a large number. I thought it might be interesting to share some of the articles we are reading and finding interesting.

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin at Google
So Josh Waitzkin has competed in the world championship finals of both Chess and Tai Chi Chuan (the latter he won) and is now onto his 3rd endeavor which is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Here he talks to Google employees about how he is able to learn a brand new skill and compete at the highest level. Watch the video here.

Liberal Education: At This College, Videogames Are a Varsity Sport (WSJ)
Colleges and universities have learned the importance of athletics to hit enrollment numbers. The savvy universities are using club sports to increase those numbers. This particular school is even going further by recruiting Videogamers. Read the article here.

The Steve Jobs emails that show how to win a hard-nosed negotiation (Quartz)
For anyone who has to negotiate, this article walks through an email correspondence of Steve Jobs where he breaks down his opponent. Get the tips here.

The Future of College (Bill Gates Blog)
Bill Gates is investing a lot of time into education…here are his thoughts on higher ed.

The Everything Guide to Twitter Cards: How to Choose, Set Up, Measure Them and More (bufferapp.com)
Twitter is rolling out a number of new features for brands (think companies, colleges, etc). Here are a few new tools that can be beneficial.

Featured Series: The ‘Miracle’ Behind Herb Brooks’s Miracle On IceMonday, September 15th, 2014

Charlie1015by Charlie Adam, StokeTheFireWithin.com

College coaches at every level face obstacles in recruiting and in building and sustaining programs.

Herb Brooks faced remarkable challenges in building the 20 man roster that would win Olympic Gold in February of 1980.

First of all, some elite college players didn’t even try out because why would they want a shot at bronze at best and endure getting annihilated by the Soviet team that was the best team in hockey history. The Soviet team had beat the NHL All Stars 6-0 the year before and used their back up
goalie the whole game.

Just like you have some recruits that won’t give you the time of day, Herb focused on the ones he could get. Chances are those others wouldn’t have had the mental toughness he was looking for anyways. Remember, all along Herb wasn’t looking for the best players. He was looking for the right players. Jim Craig, the goalie who played every second, was rated by some pro prospects as maybe the 5th best goalie in college yet it would be Craig that would stop 36 of 39 Soviet shots that historic night of Feb. 22nd, 1980.

In September of 1979 Herb faced the challenge of NHL player agents trying to talk some of his 26 players (he would whittle it to 20) into giving up that Olympic pipe dream and sign pro. To counter it, Herb scheduled a month of exhibition games in Europe in September. He knew NHL Camps would be starting then. His European tour served several purposes. It kept the players away from the agents and also allowed them to play on international sized ice rinks.

While he was okay with some college stars not trying out Herb knew there were certain players he had to have or it didn’t matter how well he coached. It’s just like there are certain recruits you really need to build a program. One of the players was 6’4″ defenseman Ken Morrow of Bowling Green University. Herb REALLY wanted him. The challenge was Herb had a strict no facial hair while coaching at the University of Minnesota and with the Olympics. Morrow had a big ol’ beard. Herb was worried that if he asked Morrow to shave it, Morrow might go pro). Herb adjusted. He adjusted his policy to ‘existing facial hair is fine – no new facial hair.’

As Herb was molding the team over the 7 month training process leading to Lake Placid, he would have the team play a whopping 61 exhibition games. You have budget challenges. So did Herb. One of the reasons he played all those games was to finance this whole thing. They never had fancy facilities or transportation along the way, but sometimes you develop better as a team with salt of the earth equipment. They were playing exhibition games in northern Minnesota in snow storm season. They were in this small plane leaving one city when the plane lifted up, clipped a tree, and had to land. The plane could not go backwards, so the whole team got out and pushed it all the way back to the start of the runway. They were saying, “Can you believe this?” as they laughed. Things like that helped blur the borders of the Minnesota vs Boston area player rivalry that had been going on.

In my team building workshop for college coaches and players, I share many more of the challenges and solutions that Herb faced and solved over that historic run in 1979 and 1980. Many feel it was the greatest coaching job in American sports history. Herb faced challenges, just like you. He still was able to recruit and build the team that would achieve the greatest sports moment of the century.

He always said, “Don’t be common. The common person goes nowhere. Be uncommon.” Don’t be common with your recruiting. Be uncommon. Utilize the powerful methods Dan Tudor and his team have developed, and you could very well build a team that goes down in history like the 1980 US Olympic hockey team.

I want to close this week by dedicating this article to the memory of Bob Suter. We lost our first member of the 20 man team this week. Bob, a defenseman on that team, died this past week of a heart attack at age 57. He was working at the rink he owned in Wisconsin. Bob had helped so many kids grow as hockey players and as people over the years. He taught at the rink, coached, cleaned the bathrooms, ran the front desk, and on and on. He had a life motto of “It’s all about the kids.” Rest in peace, Bob.

Charlie can be reached at charlie@stokethefirewithin.com(574) 807 2279 or at his site stokethefirewithin.com

 

A Secret To Motivate An Athlete To Do The Hard WorkMonday, September 15th, 2014

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Do you think about coaching often? I do, and I’m really interested in the challenges coaches face.

Just recently I asked hundreds of coaches a simple question, “What is one thing you are struggling with, right now, in your coaching?

Maybe you were asked. Possibly you responded.

The most common reply I got was, “I struggle with getting the athletes to do the hard work.” That’s a struggle every coach, every leader, every parent, every teacher has.

Daily.

I’ve been scratching my head on this for a few days, and a few thoughts came to mind.

People Need To Be Sold

An athlete who needs to do the hard work has to be SOLD on the idea that doing the hard work is a good thing. A great thing. A super-duper thing that will benefit him.

Growing up in western North Carolina, I saw many people doing hard work. Some were along the road, chains around their legs, with armed guards making sure the work got done. Those prisoners were sold on the idea that they had to do the hard work just to survive.

But that strong-armed type of selling won’t work on athletes. They need different selling. Smarter selling.

They need to be sold on the idea so well that they will go past The Resistance, and do the work.

The Resistance

Author Steven Pressfield, a great writer, promotes a reason why people won’t do the hard work. He calls it The Resistance.

According to Pressfield, The Resistance is the universal nemesis of every artist or entrepreneur, and I would add athlete.

The Resistance is also known as laziness, jealousy, fear, anger, self-doubt, self-sabotage, self-conceit, self-satisfaction. It keeps humans from doing what needs to be done to get to the next level.

Where does it come from, this Resistance? Inside the person. And it is often so strong that to overcome The Resistance it takes more than just the athlete and the coach.

You’re Selling The Wrong Person

Here’s a secret, when The Resistance is strong, you’ll need help selling the athlete on the idea of doing the hard work. As a matter of fact, you, Coach, may be the LEAST EFFECTIVE sales person in this whole process.

Here’s an example. Take Aveda, the maker of natural skin and body products. Before they make a sale to an individual, like me, there are many other sales that have to happen before I even think of opening my wallet.

  • The workers at their home office have to be sold
  • The guys in the warehouses have to be sold
  • Their financial advisor has to be sold
  • Same with their investors, marketing agency, distributor

… and dozens of other people have to be sold on how great their products are, before I will make my purchase. The least important person in this selling process is the sales clerk. So why is it any different for coaches?

It’s not.

Who Needs To Be Sold?

Who else needs to be sold before an athlete can overcome The Resistance and do the hard work? Let’s take the college world of sports:

  • Athletic Director
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Fellow coaches
  • Athletes parents
  • Support staff
  • Student Affairs
  • Health center
  • And, of course, you

If any of those folks aren’t sold that the athlete needs to do hard work then the chance quickly diminish of the athlete ever being sold.

In business terms, it becomes a bottle neck. Here’s an example:

Years ago, one of my better rowers came to my office and told me she couldn’t row for several weeks, maybe never again. She had gone to the school’s health center for a sore throat and was asked, “Do you ever have shortness of breath, get light-headed, feel exhausted, get nauseated, sweat profusely?”

Her response was, “Yeah, sure, everyday.”

The nurse jumped up with a really worried look on her face. A doctor was called in. A battery of invasive tests were immediately ordered.

The athlete was ordered to do no strenuous activity until all tests had been completed (weeks and weeks of tests).

Here’s the thing, that’s how a human feels when doing hard workouts. The rower tried to explain that to the doctor, but to no avail.

The nurse and doctor had never been athletes, had no reference point, and had never been sold on the benefits (and effects) of the hard physical work.

Your job of selling the athlete on the idea he or she needs to work hard will be INFINITELY easier once those around the athlete are sold on the idea.

And If That Still Doesn’t Make A Difference

If their sales job, and your sales job, doesn’t make a difference, then what? Well …

  • Maybe you’re wasting your time with that athlete
  • Maybe someone else who is a better salesperson needs to be brought in
  • Maybe those you think are already sold (the athlete’s teammates) aren’t really sold

Not easy stuff, that.

Where Are We Right Now?

Have I sold you on this idea? Does this spark any thoughts?

This particular challenge is a tough part of coaching, and I’d venture that it’s a tough part of being a coach.

If you’d like, we can continue the conversation over on FB, or send me an email. I’d be very interested to hear what you think. In the meantime, find Pressfield’s The War of Art, and dig in. It might help you make some sales!

 

 

 

Featured Series: The ‘Miracle’ Behind Herb Brooks’s Miracle On IceMonday, September 8th, 2014

by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com

Before becoming the 1980 US Olympic hockey coach, Herb Brooks was head hockey coach at the University of Minnesota from 1972-79. They were last place in the Conference when he took over and winners of 3 NCAA championships in the seven years.

Brooks was passionate about recruiting. He and his staff worked hard on it and it paid off. Herb identified Neal Broten as a primary recruit as Neal was going into high school. Herb would later say Neal was the best 9th grade hockey player he had ever seen. For three years Herb had his assistant go to northern Minnesota every week to watch Neal play. Three straight years.

It paid off as Neal signed a scholarship with Minnesota. In his freshman year he broke the Gophers’ assist record and scored the winning goal in the 1979 NCAA championship. Herb would later say that Neal was the best player he ever coached at Minnesota.

Neal would later win the inaugural Hobey Baker Award as the best player in the country. After winning he said that it should’ve gone to his brother Aaron, who had a better season. Aaron was also a remarkable player for the Gophers.

Herb created a dynasty at Minnesota and then made the run to the Gold at the 1980 Games by recruiting top talent and recruiting for values. Values like the humility Neal Broten had when he honestly said his brother should have won the player of the year award. Neal was incredibly talented but so well liked by his teammates because he was always looking to set them up for scores and never got the big head.

Neal is the only hockey player ever to win a NCAA title, Olympic gold medal, Hobey Baker Award, and Stanley Cup. Players of talent and character like that are the ones you identify early and recruit hard, because they are the program changers. The Minnesota staff stayed on him hard for three years as Herb was ahead of his time. Even back in the ’70’s he would identify talent early and take dead aim on it.

Charlie can be reached at charlie@stokethefirewithin.com(574) 807 2279 or at his site stokethefirewithin.com

7 Simple Rules For Dealing With Difficult PeopleSunday, September 7th, 2014

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

You’ve seen it … maybe up close. Maybe too close.

The Crazy strikes, and Whammo — the person in front of you stops acting rationale. He loses his ability to reason. She becomes one of those people that you just have to get away from. They become really difficult.

It’s ugly. How do you deal, Coach?

Well … you do.

And one way you DO is to look at The Crazy through the lense of rules. Seven simple rules can help you deal. Help you coach when The Crazy person has you in his or her sights.

One thing before we get into the rules … the seven ideas I’m going to present are rules, not laws. There’s some wiggle here, some wishy-wishy, they are not set in stone. Laws don’t move, rules do. So with that out there, here we go:

Rule # 1, The World Is Loaded With People With The Crazy

Sometimes people struck with The Crazy will become part of your world. You know that already, but just in case you didn’t, I think it is important you know that. And I should also (probably) let you in on a little secret. There are people who will come to you and ask, “Hey Coach, how about more starting time for my kid.” And you say “NO,” nicely, and they then go way, nicely. Those people have NOT been inflicted with The Crazy.

People with The Crazy will have a mission, won’t stop until they get it, AND it doesn’t matter who gets runover along the way. That is The Crazy I’m talking about.

“That person just won’t listen to reason” type of crazy.

A “jeez, that person is so-not-being-reasonable-and-prudent” type of thing.

I think I’ve covered that twice, but it was worth repeating.

Rule #2, It’s Not Only Parents Inflicted With The Crazy

The Crazy can strike anyone. I’ve seen referees struck with it, and fans. And this one security guard, at a pro baseball game, whose mission in life had just become to make sure everyone in section AA was not wearing hats.

We like to think it is a parent thing. Nope … it’s a people thing.

Rule #3, Your Own Crazy Makes Other People’s Crazy Worse

Sometimes coaches put The Crazy-Wheel in motion first. “I don’t care what the doctor says, you have to play tomorrow.” That Coach has The Crazy.

“Yeah, I’ve never seen fog as thick as this before and I cannot see a thing, but we are racing this week, we HAVE to go row, now!” The Crazy attacks again.

Once The Crazy-Wheel is spinning, it becomes contagious. Next thing the AD is getting a call at home during dinner from an irate parent, and now the AD has The Crazy. Then he is at your door/cellphone/FB page being Crazy because your Crazy gave a parent The Crazy. See how that works?

Rule #4, Your Crazy Doesn’t Fix Their Crazy (a corollary to Rule 3)

Continuing from Rule #3, when The Crazy lands back on your door step, know this, Crazy does not fix Crazy! Experience speaking here.

Understanding. Love. Peace. Apologies … those fix The Crazy. Those help The Crazy mellow and go away.

Rule #5, Communication Is At The Core Of Reducing The Crazy

Our team broadcasts a weekly communication to parents, alums, friends. It has important info on dates, events, directions. The moment we started doing that I received emails about how that little thing had reduced frustration and inconvenience. I bet that piece of communication reduced more than one episode of The Crazy.

Rule #6, Scrape The Crazy Off Before You Go Home

If an episode of The Crazy has been inflicted on you then, before you leave practice, the playing field, the office … scrape any of The Crazy off. Like dog poop on your shoe, get rid of it, quick. Don’t wait until you get home, because it will stinks, and there might be your own level of The Crazy there … and as we discussed, craziness begets more craziness.

Rule #7, The Crazy Laughs At Boundaries

I’ve heard it espoused that boundaries can protect a coach from being attacked by a person withThe Crazy. Forget that.

When you’re dealing with The Crazy, boundaries won’t stop people on a mission. A boundary like, “Do not communicate with coaches 24 hours before a contest” is not help against The Crazy.

People who really wanted to get to the other side of the Berlin Wall tried to get to the other side of the Berlin Wall no matter how big, nasty, and crazy it was.

Rule #8, (Bonus Rule) If You Don’t Take Care Of Yourself, Well Then …

Experiencing The Crazy is part of the price you pay to coach. Exposure to The Crazy will take a toll on you, regardless of where The Crazy comes from. Give yourself recovery time, find some fun, plant a tree. Care for yourself — we need you.

The Crazy can attack at anytime and anyplace. The person with The Crazy needs help through a difficult time. Maybe it was a bad lunch, or something bigger. Be vigilant, be understanding, be loving. When they get to the other side there may be a cool person there. Let’s hope!

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