Fairy Dust

Let me preface this by saying that I have never been a big Urban Meyer fan.

I really don’t know why that was… and I say WAS because a couple of things happened this past week that made me feel a little more akin to Coach Meyer.

The first was Coach Meyer’s response to a statement made last week by Tom Herman (OC under Meyer at Ohio State) not being able to “sprinkle fairy dust” on the Texas Longhorn team he inherited from Charlie Strong (DC under Meyer at Florida) following a loss in his debut against Florida.

“C’mon man. I don’t know where that came from,” Meyer said during an interview with CBS sports “It’s like a new generation of excuse. Herman said, ‘I can’t rub pixie dust on this thing.’ He got a dose of reality. Maryland just scored 51 points on you.”

 

“Players read that,”

 

“That’s like, when I got here, everybody wanted me to say Jim Tressel left the cupboard bare,” Meyer continued. “If I heard any assistant coach say that, they’d be gone. You’re done. “

 

“Those are your players. I hear TV guys say, ‘Wait until they get their own players in there.’ They’re our players. What do you mean ‘their players?’ The minute you sign a contract, they’re your players.”

 

“You didn’t choose me, I chose you. You’re mine, absolutely. I love you, and I’m going to kick the s**t out of you, and we’re going to do it right …”

 

“[Blaming players] drives me insane.”

There was much back and forth banter on the TwitterSphere debating whether or not Coach Herman was just using “figurative language” or his comments were disparaging in regards to the previous UT staff.

I know what I though the minute I heard the comment… exactly what Coach Meyer thought.

I have written about this before in this post… Chain of Accountability, Chain of Praise… about two different ways leaders can respond to adversity and success.

While it does not “drive me insane,” it does make me cringe whenever I hear coaches (or leaders) blame players for losses. I think it shows lack of maturity … lack of leadership… it’s the easy way out.

The second thing that came to light this week was Urban Meyer sharing how a “gift” he has is also a curse. Meyer talked about how his “gift” of being an obsessed, perfectionist, competitor led to his anxiety, sleep deprivation, and poor health… Something, I am sure, many reading this column can relate to… but more on that in a later post!

And now a quick (but shameless) plug for my new project, the YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel … a resource for players, parents, and coaches to help better understand and navigate the collegiate recruiting process.

This post – The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, has links to the most recent episode and a playlist of all the episodes currently uploaded.

I hope you can take the time to watch and share this link to colleagues, players and parents. Your help is appreciated!

Related Posts:

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Power vs Leadership

I recently had the opportunity to be a member of a 4-person crew (a team) that sailed a 53’ Amel sailboat from St. Maarten, in the Caribbean, to Long Island, NY… we traveled about 1400 miles in just over 9 days…

st maarten

Prior to the passage, I wrote about it in this post – Taking my own advice… I Can Do More!

Why did I do this?

VOLUNTEER to do this??

Because… It had an element of excitement…. I wanted to improve my sailing skills… I wanted to challenge myself… I wanted to prove that “I could do it”

Probably many of the same reasons students decide to join your program… most make that decision prior to their 9th grade year… and it is a voluntary proposition for them as well.

Although I came into this “team” with some sailing experience, I was by no means an expert…. I was not ready for “The Bigs

Again, probably akin to 9th graders skill level when they join your high school program.

There were three of us on this team (with various skill levels) and one “coach” (the captain and owner of the boat)… making a total of four crew for the passage to New York.

The “Coach” (our captain) was, of course, by far the most experienced… the most knowledgeable… had the skill… had the “game plan”…

And here is where it gets interesting… he had the POWER.

I would venture to say that, as Coach, you are in a similar position with your squad.

My biggest takeaway from this trip had nothing to do with sailing… it had to do with leadership… specifically leadership from a position of power.

Let me begin by saying that our leader was a good captain. The boat was meticulously maintained… he was very knowledgeable… and very safe. I never once felt at risk during the entire voyage.

But there is a difference between being a good captain and a good teacher/ coach.

The three of us on his team had volunteered for this venture… adventure… to learn and gain experience… that was the bargain… he was getting free crew, and we would benefit from his teaching/ coaching.

I did learn… but lets say the experience of crossing the ocean could have really been enhanced (for me) with a different teaching and coaching style from our captain.

Let me explain.

As I mentioned, I am not an expert sailor… none of were as experienced as he was… he knew that going in… submitting our sailing “resumes” was part of the procedure.

In the same way, none of your young players are as experienced or knowledgeable as you, their teacher and coach… and that is your expectation… that is a given.

What I found out, being on the opposite side of this dynamic, was how much inherent POWER the leader has… and how you use that power can have a tremendous effect on the people you are leading… your team.

I can tell you that for pretty much the entire 1400 nautical miles, I (we) felt pretty inadequate… and I firmly believe that was his intention. He felt the need to be in power… and wanted us to feel dependent on him.

And he did it fairly innocuously but nefariously.

He did not yell, scream, or berate us… but in this type of relationship, it does not take much to rattle your confidence… a roll of the eye… a particular voice inflection… a facial expression… all had the same, calculated effect… conveying (without ever saying) that…

I know more than you…

I will always know more than you…

How can you not know this…

I am better than you…

You have a lot to learn…

I am a pretty confident guy… and have a strong personality.

At the end of this trip, my confidence was shattered… and not just my confidence regarding sailing… I was whipped… and I never have felt whipped… beaten… in my life!

So I started thinking about the kids that I teach… the players that I coach.

They are in the same, subservient role… even more so.

They are kids… young, impressionable, unconfident, gawky, fragile… kids.

I do not ever want any of my students or athletes to feel broken.

I want them to feel the opposite… confident, powerful… STRONG.

I am confident that this experience will help me be a better teacher and coach.

I Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Seahawks, Broncos and Ernest Shackelton

The Seattle Seahawk’s Super Bowl run was fueled by their defense.  Do you know who their defensive coordinator was this season?

The Denver Broncos had the top offense this year in the NFL.  Can you name their offensive coordinator?

If you are like most fans, you probably cannot.

Ernest Shackelton is credited with engineering one of the most amazing maritime survival stories in History.  His ship, Endurance, got trapped in an ice flow during his Antarctic expedition in 1914.  As a result, he and his crew had to live on the Antarctic ice for a year, and then board three lifeboats when the ice eventually crushed the Endurance.  They sailed the boats 350 miles to Elephant Island.

antarctica

At this point Shackelton took five men in one 20-foot long lifeboat and made an 800-mile open ocean journey to South Georgia Island where a whaling station was located.  After landing on South Georgia Island his group hiked 36 miles over the mountainous terrain to reach the whaling station.

After reaching the whaling station he immediately set out back to Elephant Island and rescued his stranded crew.  Four and a half months after leaving his men on the island he returned to safely rescue all 22 of his crew.

As I mentioned earlier, Shackelton is credited with this amazing survival story.

Frank_WorsleyThe thing is, it was actually the skills and leadership of the captain of the Endurance, Frank Worsley that saved the men. He was the one who sailed and navigated the ships safely to their destination on each leg of this epic journey. Worsley was the type of leader that avoided the limelight, and was content with just doing his job to the best of his ability.  Few know Frank Worsley’s name… many know the name of Ernest Shackelton.

 

Worsley was “Leading Up”.

Marketing/ Business Guru, Seth Godin explains “Leading Up” as…

“… creating a reputation and an environment where the people around you are transformed into the bosses you deserve.  When you do this with intention, it gets easier and easier. From afar, it seems impossible, and it will be until you commit to it.”

Someone who is leading up [I have added my comments in the brackets]…

“…takes the right amount of initiative, defers the right amount of credit and orchestrates success. That success might happen despite (not because) of who her bosses [head coach/ athletic director] are, and that’s just fine, because she’s leading up.”

Everyone knows the name Peyton Manning…. The Bronco’s Offensive Coordinator is Adam Gase.

Pete Carroll gets the lions share of credit for the Seahawks Super Bowl victory…. His Defensive Coordinator is Dan Quinn

Ernest Shackelton is a maritime legend but the real hero of the story was Frank Worsley.

They all are examples of “Leading Up

More on leadership at these posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Leadership Rules

Whenever I have discussions with my wife (who is an executive in the business sector) about great schools, great corporations or great football programs we always seem to come back to one key, common thread that makes them great. That common denominator is great leadership.  In a school it might be the principal or superintendent, in a corporation the CEO or COO, and in a football program it comes back to the head coach being a great leader.

Fast-Company-logo1

Just last week I was reading an article in the August edition of the magazine, Fast Company about Education in the United States. The article included a discussion between Anne Sweeney, the CEO/President of Disney Television and Sir Ken Robinson, and Internationally renowned education theorist.

As part of this article, Sweeney shared her three rules for being a great leader:

1. SHOW UP

“Walk around the halls. Eat in the cafeteria. When you show up, it means you are paying attention. It means you want to make sure people know how their world connects to the bigger whole.”

2. HOLD EVERYONE ACCOUNTABLE FOR EACH OTHER

“We are stapled together. We live and die by each other’s successes and failures.”

3. COMMUNICATE AS A PERSON, NOT SIMPLY AS A BOSS

“Have a conversation. Don’t have it be a reporting relationship.”

I was struck by how much these rules could apply just as well to coaching as they do to the head of Disney Television.

I think, as a whole, football coaches do a pretty good job holding people in their programs accountable… from themselves, to assistant coaches to the players.  But, I must say, too, it served as a reminder to me regarding the importance of these “rules”, and a bit of a “gut check”, realizing that I Can Do More in several areas.

It is often easy to get so caught up with the work that needs to be done (and it does have to get done) that we (I) often put Rules #1 and #3 on the backburner.  Last semester I had 5th block plan… which is an extra long block because all of the lunch shifts take place during that period.  It would have been so easy to regularly walk down to the cafeteria, sit with, eat with, and talk with my players and other students.  I didn’t do it often because there was always “work” to do.   As we all know, there is ALWAYS work to be done.   In retrospect, spending a few minutes eating lunch, connecting with players would have been time well spent.

Communicating as a person, not simply a boss (or football coach) is a powerful “rule” for coaches as well.  Letting your “guard” down occasionally… letting the players see another side of you besides the “Coach” side is not a bad thing… nor does it, or should it be construed as a kink in your amour.  It can show your players you care about them at a level beyond football.

How well are you following Sweeney’s rules for leadership?

For more great information I recommend these links:

Thanks again to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!

We Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Leadership

Leadership

photo-4

  • You are a leader…
  • Your coordinators are leaders…
  • Your position coaches are leaders…
  • Your captains are leaders…
  • Your seniors are leaders…
  • Your freshmen are leaders…
  • Your All-Conference players are leaders…
  • Your starters are leaders…
  • Your backups are leaders…
  • Your benchwarmers are leaders…
  • Your student managers are leaders…

The more leaders you have on your squad, the better.  But just as important as the number of leaders is the type of leaders you have on your team.

Seth Godin describes two types of leaders in a recent post Nature and Nurture (professional edition) .  Substitute any of the leaders from the previous list in the following description to make this applicable to your team:

“The boss, [insert your leader here], conference organizer, co-worker, interviewer, parent or client who wants your best work, your art and your genuine enthusiasm:

…can demand that you bring your best possible work the first time, can point out that they are paying you well, that they’re busy, that they’re powerful, and that they accept nothing short of high performance or you’re out.

…or they can nurture you, encourage you, set a high bar and then support you on your way. They can teach you, cajole you and introduce you to others that will do the same.

The first strategy is the factory mindset, of interchangeable parts and interchangeable people. It is the strategy of ensuring six-sigma perfection, on demand, and the strategy of someone in power, who can demand what he wants, when he wants it.

You don’t make art this way, or emotional connections, or things that haven’t been made before. You may get the job done, but it’s not clear if you’ll make a difference.”

How many leaders do you have on your squad, and what strategies are they using?  What strategies do you employ with your squad (or with your assistant coaches)?  Are your leaders making a difference?

If you are interested in developing leaders and improving their strategies, a great source for ideas is Coach Keith Grabowski’s blog.  All of his posts regarding leadership development can be found at this link: Grabowski’s Leadership Posts, which includes several posts on Servant Leadership.

Tomorrow the final post in the series, Recruiting – Gauging Their Level Of Interest, and Saturday will begin the series on Defensive Game Planning.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Confident vs Cocky

namathThere is a fine line between being confident and being “cocky” (overconfident).  I always want my players to play with great confidence, but I never want it to creep into the sector of “cockiness”.  So what’s the difference?  How can you get the positive aspect of confidence, without the threat of “cocky”?

I think there are a few things a coach can do to insure your athletes get the confidence without the cockiness.  True confidence comes from knowing you have fully prepared; that you have put the work and effort in; that you have literally done everything in your power to put yourself in a position to be successful (Do… or do not. There is no try!).   Without this level of work “in the tank“, any “confidence” you display is probably blustering …  overconfidencecockiness.

Seth Godin discussed this last Saturday in his post, “Swagger

The problem with swagger is that if you’re the swaggering marketer, you might run into a competitor with even more swagger than you. When that happens, it’s time to show your cards, the justification for your confidence. And if you don’t deliver, you’ve done nothing but disappoint the person who believed in you.

Substance without swagger slows you down. But swagger without substance can be fatal. Right now, we’re seeing more swagger than ever—but it’s rarely accompanied by an increase in substance…

The rule is simple: it’s essential to act the part. And it’s even more important for it to be real.

I think in athletics it is exactly the same.  Substance (preparation) without swagger (confidence) slows you down.  But swagger (confidence) without substance (preparation) can be fatal (cockiness).

The other piece to this “confident vs cocky” puzzle is humility. I do believe we can coach and teach humility with our student-athletes.  Confidence and Humility are not mutually exclusive traits.  Your athletes can, and should, have both.

In a recent post, (Servant Leadership from the QB Position) Coach Keith Grabowski (Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach at Baldwin Wallace University) discussed how and why he came to coach his QB’s in “Servant Leadership

What I left [Darin Slack’s camp] focusing on as much as technique was the idea of “servant leadership.”.

It’s something that is a huge part of my coaching now, and I wish I saw more of it being coached, especially in youth sports. I have a nine year old son, and I am constantly frustrated when I see the showboating and individualism that is allowed. Kids are being outwardly labeled as “stars” by their coaches to the other kids. I see those kids, “the stars,” pout when they don’t get the ball, don’t get a call by an official, or are taken out of the game. Those kids, who at this point may be superior, need to be taught that their talent needs to be used to serve their teammates rather than the reverse. It’s a disturbing trend.

The other concern I have is that development camps like Darin’s are threatened by combines and showcases that put the emphasis on showing off individual talent. There’s a place for those, but it seems that parents are spending their money on that and not taking advantage of great opportunities for their sons to learn the lessons that this game teaches from men like Darin Slack. I know he’s not the only one out there and that there are others who do it as well, but my point is that it seems to be getting tougher and tougher on those camps that have lasting value for a young man.

The entire theme of his QB manual at Baldwin Wallace University revolves around the theme of Servant Leadership.  Here is the first slide from his 200 slide QB manual.

 servant leadership

Hard Work + Confidence + Humility = Champions for Life

You can get more good stuff, including excellent ideas on the use of technology in coaching by following Coach Grabowski’s Twitter feed @CoachKGrabowski

You can get a daily dose of good stuff by reading Seth Godin’s blog.

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com