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.
by 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.
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.
I’ve been scratching my head on this for a few days, and a few thoughts came to mind.
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.
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.
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.
… 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?
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:
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.
If their sales job, and your sales job, doesn’t make a difference, then what? Well …
Not easy stuff, that.
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!
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.
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!