I want to give you the 3 Tools Coaches Need to Attract More “WINNERS”
We define “Winners” differently.
I don’t think you always “win” in sports or in life by having the most points. If sports were a finite game, maybe this would be true.
But if viewed and treated the right way, sports are actually a never-ending, INFINITE game, where there is no clear ending and no “winners or losers”. Only student-athletes becoming more than they were yesterday.
A coach who attracts “winners” means that the you FINDS players, DEVELOPS them, and eventually begins to ATTRACT players who are:
In it for the long haul. A team full of players who are more concerned with diligently working towards progress over perfection. A team full of EAGLES soaring to reach their full potential as humans, as well as athletes.
Committed to seeing the team get better (versus those who are committed to ‘getting theirs’)
Having fun along the way. Nothing is more attractive on a team than a bunch of athletes who are hard working, high-performing, & have FUN along the way and enjoy themselves, the team, and the process.
Coach, here is the formula to find, develop, and attract more WINNERS:
STEP 1: Define Your Performance Pillars
Want to field an All-Star Team? I suggest creating your 3-5 Performance Pillars.
What are the exact attributes and qualities that you look for in a player?
You’ll need to share this list with all prospective players at a minimum of 6 months before tryouts, and make sure to re-share it multiple times throughout the year.
Give them specific guidance and time to marinate on and take action on those things. Essentially, you are listing out your values and culture on paper. You are pre-qualifying players by clearly quantifying what it takes to make the team and thrive. The more clearly defined, visible (post outside your office door), and understood (share stories of players who have displayed those qualities with excellence), the better.
Chris Hogan, another mentor of mine says it this way, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”
Defining your expectations for prospective players is not only the right, fair thing to do, but it will also make your team better and your job more enjoyable. Isn’t it awesome how doing the right thing leads to more success?
OUR IDEAL PLAYER PERFORMANCE PILLARS
1. HARD WORKER- shows up ready for practice 5-10 minutes early. Never takes a play off.
2. ENERGETIC AND ENTHUSIASTIC- does not mope around. Shows up with a smile, excited to play, looks to encourage teammates and get them excited.
3. SKILLED- is constantly developing his or her passing and catching abilities. Is fundamentally sound. Takes time to go to camps, clinics, and becomes a more skills passer and catcher.
4. POSITIVE- does not get down on his or herself after making a bad play. Bounces back quickly and stays positive. When the team is losing, our ideal player will remain confident, optimistic, and NEVER stops working hard.
Could you imagine? I am sure you can. Go deep on this. This could be your “core value wall” in the locker room.
STEP 2: BECOME A “CUCKOO” REPELLANT
The “cuckoo” is known as the laziest bird in the world.
You want eagles.
I think it is unwise to cut players because of lack of skill. Especially in elementary, middle, or even high school. Most kids nowadays NEED a great sports experience and a loving, inspiring coach who will work to mentor and develop them. They need positive influences and experiences. Please do not cut players just to make your team look better.
What I will say is that you should work hard to keep lazy, unkind, unwilling to change student-athletes off of your team.
NOTE: Please have an “off-season development plan” where you try to help those kids breakthrough their bad habits and eventually make your team. But do not allow these types of kids to remain on the team without seeing any visible progress (despite your concentrated efforts to help them).
If you do not do something about this, you will end up with a bunch of CUCKOOS and not many EAGLES.
Winners attract winners.
Your culture will not improve if you have a stable full of donkeys. You need to keep and groom thoroughbreds if you want to attract more of them.
STEP 3: DEVELOP A RECOGNITION & REWARDS SYSTEM
This has been a game changer for our culture. We attract more eagles now onto our team because of something that does not seem like it would directly attract more eagles.
Every Monday morning we do TEAM SHOUTOUTS! Every single team member comes to the meeting on Monday’s prepared to recognize another team members for their efforts the previous week (typically, because our culture is strong now, is falls under one of our Core Values).
“Last week I noticed Joe stayed after training for an hour talking with one of our athletes John. John was upset about not making the team, so Joe talked with him and lifted his spirits.”
One of our values is We Are Mentor-Leaders. Therefore we highlight and recognize team members when they are living those values.
Rewards are another great tool. You could have rewards for the players who never miss a practice. You could have the “Grinder of the Month” award that goes to the player who worked the hardest on AND off the field. You could have special rewards for players who play all 4 years and by the end of the 4 years it becomes known that they are going to receive something awesome (that will motivate them to keep going and growing).
Make sure your recognition and rewards make sense. Intentionality and consistency are the two keys.
And remember, even picking one of these things will make you an uncommon coach.
We need more uncommon coaches today willing to be different, raise the coaching standards, and lead more young men and women to become confident, courageous leaders.
Dedicated to your athlete’s success,