2013 ended with a bang in Seattle…congratulations to John Kessel for his induction to the AVCA Hall of Fame. Well deserved!
1. “Most change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. As we start a new year, let’s find the practicable and ‘celebrate-able’; let’s stay congruent with our messaging, creative in our efficiency, and, most of all, let’s give ourselves new opportunities to dream.” ~ Kathy DeBoer
2. “To be true to one’s self is the ultimate test in life. To have the courage and sensitivity to follow your hidden dreams and stand tall against the odds that are bound to fall in your path. Life is too short and precious to be dealt with in any other fashion.” ~ Flo Hyman Continue Reading
Back when I was still playing professionally on the beach, I compiled a list for DiG magazine of things I’d learned in more than three decades in the game. The idea was to share information that had inspired me in training sessions and been useful to me in the competitive arena. I happened to re-read the list recently, and it struck me that many of the tips might be beneficial for volleyball players at all levels, from soon-to-be Olympians to teenagers preparing for summer beach tournaments or indoor seasons in the coming school year.
At the AVCA Convention in San Antonio, I enjoyed dropping in on a session by Russ Rose and Terry Lyskevych. As fascinating as it was to listen to two fellow Chicagoans give their perspective on the lay of the volleyball land, I enjoyed as much watching the crowd. John Cooke sat in front of me (although he looked as if he was sleeping…as he sometimes does) to take in their words. I wondered if he were there to enjoy the conversation, to learn new ideas for their own team, or to take a nap. In any case, I found it fascinating that the elite of the elite coaches were present.
Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them
Tim Elmore is a good one. At Winthrop University, we used his Habitudes series to develop continuity and chemistry throughout the team. It’s a really good series and highly recommend. Here’s a new piece he just put out:
February 15, 2013 —
Recently, I read about a father, Paul Wallich, who built a camera-mounted drone helicopter to follow his grade-school-aged son to the bus stop. He wants to make sure his son arrives at the bus stop safe and sound. There’s no doubt the gizmo provides an awesome show-and-tell contribution. In my mind, Paul Wallich gives new meaning to the term “helicopter parent.” Continue Reading
USOC Sport Psychology’s “TOP TEN” Guiding Principles for Mental Training
By Sean McCann, Ph.D. USOC Sport Psychologist
OLYMPIC COACH VOLUME 19 NUMBER 3
1. MENTAL TRAINING CAN’T REPLACE PHYSICAL TRAINING AND TALENT.
We haven’t seen any Olympic Athlete who succeeded without doing the physical and technical work, even though we have worked with some of the most mentally talented athletes in the world. The reality is that even an exceptionally talented athlete who has not prepared well physically loses confidence and is vulnerable in competition. The best and easiest confidence is that which comes from the knowledge that you are as prepared, or more prepared, than your competitors, and that you are physically capable of a winning performance. Continue Reading
It was Daniel Goleman who first brought the term “emotional intelligence” to a wide audience with his 1995 book of that name, and it was Goleman who first applied the concept to business with his 1998 HBR article, reprinted here. In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that while the qualities traditionally associated with leadership—such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision—are required for success, they are insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Continue Reading
Sometimes I call myself a “Reminder” not a Coach. I feel as if I am continually reminding players of things they need to be working on to improve. It takes a lot of patience to repeat myself, repeat myself, repeat myself and I often wonder if players even hear me? If they are hearing me? Are they comprehending what they are hearing? Do I need to clarify it…again…say it differently…spell it out for them? Continue Reading
How failure and imagination transformed J.K. Rowling’s life to Harry Potter.
“Failure is the stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me… I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized.”
“It is impossible to life without failing at something unless you lived so cautiously, you might as well not have lived at all. You fail by default.”
“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.”
“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won.”
Psychologist Anders Ericsson and other researchers in the field of ‘expertise studies’ have, in recent years, introduced a plethora of new information about how people develop advanced skills that is beginning to change our view of human potential and its limits. This is an opportunity to move the public conversation beyond clichés such as innate talent, giftedness and nature versus nurture, instead moving towards a more nuanced discussion of how human skills actually develop, ultimately helping people to maximise their potential. Continue Reading
In an individualized world, where ME seems to count most, blame is a topic that is often used, but rarely broached. Rarely do we take blame on ourselves, but rarely do we admit that we push blame on to others. Continue Reading
As many of you know, I had the privilege to spend time with Head Coach Mike Hebert while at Minnesota. People still ask what I learned most from my experience…and I have a journey full of ideas. Much of what I learned was through listening, watching, small talk, and brainstorming. The times I appreciate most were those brainstorming sessions – bouncing ideas around. I recall a time talking about what makes an ordinary person extraordinary and coming up with a list of things great players do. This list was ranked and separated into levels. The levels were used to recognize the number of items on that list an extraordinary player accomplishes during their volleyball career. Continue Reading
1. “Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.” – Tom Krause
There are no guarantees in life. Even the false security of having a house, a family and money in the bank will pass. The only constant in life is change. The sooner we can accept that, the smoother life will be.
2. “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” – Sven Goran Eriksson
We all fear failure. It’s a learned habit. It is said that the only fears we are born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises, the rest is learned. There’s nothing wrong with failure. In fact, if you never fail, you will never grow. Continue Reading
So why, if positive reinforcement is so great, does punishment seem to be more effective? To answer this we need to understand the statistical phenomenon called, “Regression to the Mean.” In any sequence of events in which there is some degree of randomness, any extraordinary event (good or bad) is most likely to be followed by a rather more ordinary event. This is seen graphically below: Continue Reading
“You must drive men, but you can lead women.” This statement by Anson Dorrance, coach of the national champion North Carolina women’s soccer team, became an example of male thinking at a seminar for women’s volleyball coaches in Richmond VA. Continue Reading
Frustration is a natural emotion. Accept it. It is a response to multiple failed attempts to overcome an obstacle or the desire to change something in which you have no control. Through frustration and failure we often learn more lessons about our own character than through success. Persistence and resilience through the struggle will lead to a resolve. The resolve may not always be the outcome you initially desired, but the outcome will provide you with greater strength, intelligence, and endurance for the future. You are a better person because of frustration. Continue Reading
Having found that calling time out at the elite level of the sport is not effective in stopping the opponent’s “momentum”, it became apparent that it was time to try to more clearly define the concept of “momentum” and the roles emotions and random events might play in the development of this concept. Continue Reading
At the University of Minnesota, Mike Hebert introduced me to the works of Dr. Paul Arrington. Dr. Arrington is a humble man from Hawaii that has been around volleyball for many years. He has coached juniors for over 25 years in Hawaii, much of his work has been published by the AVCA, he is quoted in countless books, and he is now an Assistant Coach at Dartmouth University. He chose Dartmouth because he prefers to live in a small town.
Dr. Arrington spends countless hours studying and researching top programs. He compiles a wealth of data to come to factual conclusions that often proves or disproves common volleyball theory. Dr. Mike Hebert believes Dr. Arrington’s work is consistent with the late, great Dr. Jim Coleman, one of the early revolutionary strategists of volleyball. That’s a lot of volleyball doctors Continue Reading
This weekend I enjoyed being a kid again. I went to the Mall of America near Minneapolis which has an amusement park in the middle of the mall! A friend’s 8 year old nephew, Alex, and I got to run amuck through the park. Last year, when he visited the mall, he was not tall enough to ride the “big kid” rides. This year, he was 3 inches above the required height of 48 inches, a major right of passage.
He was like “a kid in an amusement park” trying to decide which ride to go on first while we purchased tickets. “The Spongebob Roller Coaster, or the Avatar Skateboard, or the Log Ride!” he’d yell out while dancing around the ticket counter. As we entered the park, what ride did he choose? The first ride he saw, the Spongebob Roller Coaster. It was his first “big kid” rollercoaster he’d ever ridden and I must admit, he chose the scariest of them all first. This ride literally has a vertical drop and a couple loops. He admitted he was nervous, but he was so excited, he danced through the entire line. The picture taken of us while on the ride showed the pure little boy joy in his face. I’d say it was a priceless picture, but $15 for the picture is ridiculous Continue Reading
I received the latest AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) publication Volleyball ACE Power Tips and the article happens to be titled, “Make Mental Training Part of Physical Training” with a picture of Lindsey Berg on the cover page. Coincidentally, these are the topics of my last two blogs
The mental game. Do we coach it enough? Do coaches know how to coach it? In club, it is sprinkled throughout practices. When I coached at Georgia Southern, the team had the benefit of working with a sports psychologist. He provided some great team insight and exercises, but he wasn’t utilized enough. I think many collegiate programs incorporate a sports psychologist with their programs because its what everyone else is doing, to “keep up with the Jones’s”. Mick Haley uses a team psychologist, Mike Voight, throughout the season with, I believe, great benefit. At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Mike Hebert handles the team psychology lessons. He prepares his “Championship Manual” during the Continue Reading
In the book How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer (recommended by John Kessel), one subject he brings to light is the neurological insight to optimize learning. He studied some of the top athletes, chess grandmasters, backgammon world champions, and even a 30 year veteran soap opera producer to understand how they became great. The common theme with these greats is their constant search for their own errors. Continue Reading
I can’t say I was an avid reader while growing up. I’ve always been into numbers and figuring out the world through numbers. Recently, I’ve been intrigued with how the mind makes decisions, especially in stressful situations. Is it emotion or reason that helps us to decide? How do we decide in situations where we don’t have time to ‘think’ logically or rationally, such as when we are surprised or at a crucial swing in a match? Continue Reading