Chase Perfection … 100%

When it comes to effort, 100% is IT…. it is the gold standard…. perfect… perfection… totally and completely spent…. nothing more to give…. everything…

Sorry, but there is no such thing asgiving 110%

The whole concept behind the phrase, the concept that drives this blog, You Can Do More!,  is that most of us don’t approach giving 100%.  When things get tough, physically or mentally, our brain goes into survival mode and we start shutting down and slowing down.  It is our job as coaches to get our athletes (and ourselves!) to ignore that lying brain and start inching closer to that magic 100% mark.

In 1959 during his first meeting with the Packer Quarterback group that included future Hall of Famer, Bart Starr,Coach Vince Lombardi had this to say:

“Gentlemen,  we’re going to relentlessly chase perfection knowing full well we will not catch it, because perfection is not attainable.  But we are going to relentlessly chase it because, in the process, we will catch excellence

lombardi chalk talk

Chase perfection… chase 100%… inch closer to it by doing more… even a little bit more… achieve excellence!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Improving through “Failure”

I became a better sailor today…. by “failing”

My cousin has a Hobie 14 catamaran that we have sailed on a small Missouri lake (Lake Tapawingo) for the past two years… probably 20+ times total.

We also sailed a Hobie 14 on Potrero Bay, in the Pacific Ocean of the shores of Costa Rica.  Here is a brief clip of that sail…

 

We have always sailed in conditions that were “comfortable” for us… about 10 knots of wind, both on the lake and ocean… and we have become very good at sailing this small/ quick boat.

We have never gotten into trouble, had any mishaps, and were feeling pretty confident about our skill level.

After our last time sailing in the ocean, we both agreed that we would like to test ourselves by sailing in some more extreme (windy) conditions.

Those conditions presented themselves yesterday (20+ mph winds) so we took to Lake Tapawingo to test our skills.

On our first trip across the lake… maybe 2-3 minutes into the sail we got tested.

The wind picked up and immediately capsized the Hobie. While we had read, and knew how to right the vessel, we had never been forced to do it.

As we gathered ourselves (and gear that was floating everywhere) the Hobie “turtled” on us … went completely upside down… mast pointing down into the water, bottom of the boat up.

turtle

After about 30 minutes of work (and with the help of two other boaters, one of which had experience sailing a Hobie) we were able to get the boat righted and started off.

Learning from our first mistake, we adjusted our weight on the boat to help prevent another capsizing and began sailing again…. and had several minutes of good sailing, putting to use our new knowledge of managing the boat in higher wind.

Then we got tested again…. another big gust and over we went!

This time, though, we got the boat righted immediately and were again on our way.

We had learned from our first “failure” and handled this challenge with relative ease.

A broken part on the rudder prevented us from continuing, or we may have been tested even more. As it was, we licked our wounds, dropped the sail, and ingloriously paddled the boat back to the dock.

At the dock we both debriefed… looking at what we could have done differently (better), what mistakes we made, and what we had learned.

We both agreed that, although we didn’t get a lot of sailing in that day, that we were glad we went out… that we tested ourselves.

It is only by getting out of our “comfort zone” that we can grow. It is only by testing our limits, that we can expand our limits.

I know now that I improved my Hobie sailing skills because of our “failures” that day.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Your “Happy File”

Being a Coach/ Teacher is a difficult profession.

We put our product… our self and our team… out there for everyone to see and “evaluate” many times a year.

As Coach Greg Schiano said,

“There are two things every man in America thinks he can do: work a grill and coach football”

Or volleyball, or basketball, or soccer.

And our harshest critic is typically our self.

If we lose, we shoulder the blame and analyze everything that could have been done differently or better…

When we win, we heap praise on those around us and immediately start scheming for the next contest, often without taking time to enjoy the one that finished bare minutes ago.

Here is a suggestion, as corny as it sounds, to help achieve some balance when the negative voices (including those of our own making) start getting too loud.

Many years ago my wife suggested that I keep a “Happy File”… a file to hold all the nice things that come my way… cards, letters, notes, etc.   I file that I could pull out every so often and get reminded of the good work… the good people… that have happened to me.

IMG_0414I started my “Happy File” over 30 years ago and it has traveled with me throughout my career.

I have letters from athletes that I coached during my first head coaching position at Osceola High School.

I have a letter from the mother of the first athlete I recruited and signed while I was at the University of Central Missouri.

I have notes from principals, Athletic Directors, Journalists, Assistant Coaches, and English teachers.

When I pull that file out … like recently when I added some things to it… and glance through its contents, I am immediately taken back to that time… that event… and the emotions surrounding it. It is powerfulvisceralreal.

And it always lifts my spirits.

It does not make the job any easier, but keeping a “Happy File” is a pretty simple way to help achieve some balance when you hit that inevitable rough patch.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Super Bowl (blame) Game

The Seahawks final offensive play of Super Bowl 49 has sparked much discussion. Most has revolved around “Why throw a pass from the one yard line when you have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield?”

blame gameHindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

What I would rather talk about is how the key players reacted and interacted with the media following the interception and ensuing loss… Specifically Russell Wilson, and Seahawk head coach Pete Caroll.

I have written a few times about my belief how coaches, as adult, emotionally mature leaders, should react to the public and media after facing some adversity… as well as what should guide their thinking and speaking when something good happens in their program – like a win! That post can be found here: Chain of Accountability , Chain of Praise.

In a nutshell, what I believe is that Coaches, as adults should hold themselves accountable when things are not going well, and give credit to their players (who even in the NFL are really just big kids) when good things happen.

After the game, Coach Caroll handled a horrible moment with dignity and maturity, answered every question, and telling his inquisitors,

“Put it all on me. My fault, totally,”

Carroll held himself accountable for the outcome of that play and the game.

Russell Wilson did the same, saying,

“The message from Coach Carroll was he took the blame for it… that it wasn’t my fault. I put the blame on me for not making that play. I’m the one who threw it. … I thought it was going to be a touchdown. I don’t question the call. I thought it was a good call.”

Being able handle situations as these two did demands some emotional maturity… emotional intelligence… It is evident that both Wilson and Carroll posses that level of EQ… emotional intelligence.

But, how does that happen… how do you teach that… coach that?

I found myself trying to do this… taking baby steps… with some middle school athletes at our school.

Sometimes it is easier to do this when you are not directly coaching the sport. I am not a basketball coach.   Our boy’s basketball team had an excellent season, and most of the players played football for me and have me in our Strength and Conditioning class.

After every contest it became routine for me to ask the players to “give me a recap” … whether I was at the game or not… just to get their perspective.   After one tough defeat, I asked a couple of players who were congregating in the hall before school for this recap

The first thing they told me was that they gymnasium was small… that is was an elementary school gym… and that several times our team made 3 point shots but were actually out of bounds… that the 3 point line was that close to the out of bounds line.  I asked them “was the opposing team playing on a different court?” After a few quizzical looks, the light bulb finally went on… and with a sheepish grin they answered, “No”.   I followed up by asking, “Well, that being the case, what could you have done better individually, and what could you have done better as a team?” And they responded with great, introspective answers.

Another time, after asking for the recap after a loss, one player responded, “They were lucky”. I asked if he had played the best game possible… and he answered, “No, I could have played defense better and rebounded better”.

I was trying to get them to focus on things that are in their control, and helping them see that they have some accountability.

As the season progressed, I saw their responses, and them, gain maturity… both in the losses and wins. Maybe this is how EQ is learned.

What I do see, though, is that the Chains of Accountability and Chain of Praise, run both ways… particularly on a healthy team.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Strength Training and “At Risk” Students

We all know that a Strength Training and Conditioning program or class has great benefits for our athletes.  Most of us (fall or spring sport coaches) are deep into our off-season programs with our athletes during this time of the year.  The thing I have really begun to realize after teaching the course for a number (and I mean a NUMBER) of years is that it can really be a great class for any student and especially for “at-risk” or “problem” students who are not athletes.

Here are some reasons why:

1)  Most of the work is typically done in small groups – with normally 2-4 students in a group working together.  Studies have identified, and we probably all can cite anecdotal examples of the advantages of learning in small groups:

  • Students come to a more complete understanding by comparing themselves with others.
  • Having to explain to others encourages elaboration.
  • Students with better skills serve as models.
  • There is more opportunity to develop skills in communication (listening, responding, interacting) and interpersonal relations
  • Motivation comes from peers in addition to coming from the instructor.

I have noticed all of these things taking place in a high functioning Strength and Conditioning class.

2)  Peer tutoring

Peer tutoring has been defined as students from similar social groupings whom are not professional teachers that help each other to learn and, in fact, learn themselves by teaching.  This happens daily in good strength and conditioning classes.  Peer tutoring is beneficial to both the Tutor and the Tutee:

Tutors

  • Tutoring helps students increase their own understanding of the subject matter as they teach students
  • Tutors can practice their communication skills with junior students
  • It allows tutors an opportunity to develop their own leadership skills

Tutees

  • Tutees receive individualized instruction
  • Tutees receive more teaching
  • Tutees (may) respond better to their peers than to their teachers
  • Tutees can obtain companionship from the students that tutor them

3)  It is easy to catch someone “Doing Something Right

push pressI think this is the most significant reason that a Strength and Conditioning class can be every effective for “At Risk” students.  Lets say the students in class are doing a workout that consists of 3 sets of 8 repetitions on 3 different lifts.   During the course of that classroom session you as a teacher (or a peer tutor) has the opportunity to watch and catch them doing something correct as they attempt nearly 75 repetitions!  Almost any student will find a way to do at least 1 and probably several reps correctly… and that gives you, as an instructor, an opportunity to praise them and give them positive feedback… something many “At Risk” students seldom hear.

I see it nearly every day… a quick “that was awesome” or “great technique on that last rep” and their faces light up.

4) Students get a sense of accomplishment.

I have never had a student get weaker during the course of a Strength and Conditioning class…. most see significant gains.  These gains typically come weekly or even daily early on in a program, and are displayed prominently on their workout card (see post The Workout Card) as they “break” (see post Breaking – It’s a Good Thing).  Many students, even those that have never been involved or successful in athletics, can achieve some degree of success in Strength and Conditioning class.  With that success comes confidence.

Who takes the Strength and Conditioning classes at your school?  Are non-athletes encouraged, and are there sections open to non-athletes?  Do you as a teacher put the same type of effort into your non-athlete Strength and Conditioning classes?

Just asking….

I would love to hear comments or stories about your experience with At Risk students in a Strength and Conditioning class!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Madiba

I sit and write this with great trepidation.  I don’t want to trivialize Nelson Mandela’s life, or his accomplishments.  His impact on our world extends far beyond the sports arena, but his life has been inexorably linked to athletics… not only in South Africa, but on the world stage as well.

mandelaNelson Mandela was an amateur boxer in his youth and often spoke about and used athletics to leverage his agenda.  His donning of the Sprinbok rugby jersey to the chants of “Nelson, Nelson, Nelson” by 65,000 white rugby fans is well documented in print (Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation) and film (Invictus).  One of Mandela’s last public appearances was at the 2010 World Cup final that was held in South Africa.

One of my favorite pieces regarding Nelson Mandela was Seth Godin’s recent post, A Legacy of Mandela:

“Others can better write about Nelson Mandela’s impact on the world stage, on how he stood up for the dignity of all people and on how he changed our world.

For those that seek to make a change in the world, whether global or local, one lesson of his life is this:

You can.

You can make a difference.

You can stand up to insurmountable forces.

You can put up with far more than you think you can.

Your lever is far longer than you imagine it is, if you choose to use it.

If you don’t require the journey to be easy or comfortable or safe, you can change the world.”

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

We Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Motivation and Coaching Study

CW-Forearm-Tap-PlankA couple of recent studies by Kansas State kinesiology professor, Brandon Irwin, looked at the effects of motivation and coaching.    In one study, Irwin had people perform planks, (lying face down, keeping your body straight, lifting yourself up on your elbows, and holding that position as long as you can) under three different conditions:

  • The first group did planks alone.
  • The second group had a partner who was an expert at planks but remained silent.
  • The third group had an expert partner who offered lots of verbal encouragement: “Come on. You can do it. You got this.

The second and third groups of partnered plankers both performed better than those that were solo.  The group that performed best, though, was the group with the silent, expert partner.  Why? Irwin says,

“… having a higher-performing partner is clearly motivating – people are competitive. But the motivational chatter may be seen as condescending or be mistaken for the partners encouraging themselves, suggesting that maybe they weren’t better after all. …What works best of all is leading by quiet example and addressing people’s needs directly. “

In a second study with stationary bikes, Irwin confirmed that people performed better with expert partners… improving about twice as much.  He and his researchers also discovered another factor that was even more powerful.  When bikers were told that their performance was contributing to a team score, they improved threefold.  Irwin states,

“What we think is that the feeling of being indispensable, which results from the shared goal, makes you work harder, especially when you know you’re the weaker link of the team,” says Irwin. “The bond becomes stronger.”

Irwin went on to state his belief that

group cohesion is a key motivational factor – feeling that your efforts are important to your team’s success.”

As a teacher and a coach how can you best apply this information?  As I mentioned in my post the other day, there is Strength in Numbers.   As we are heading into our Fall seasons, what can you, your staff, and your team leaders do to insure that everyone on the squad feels like they are part of the team and that their performance is important?  Is there a strategy that you can use when pairing athletes together in stretch lines, as workout partners, in drill work, in the locker room?

Tomorrow…. “well, back in my day …….” <==== said in a grumpy old man voice.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Goal Setting

I hesitate to re-run information that has been included in a previous post, but it has been a very long time since this information was presented, and this blog has about 10 times the readership it did when I first posted information about goal setting.  Plus, heading into Fall camp might be a good time to visit, or revisit this information.

Goal Card

Goal Card

My former players often share with me how much the goal setting process that they went though as a player in our program not only helped them in their collegiate career, but in their life after football.  We would complete this process with our players a couple of times a year.  I believe going through these steps is what made a lasting impression on our athletes.  Like anything else, the more you do something, the easier it becomes, and eventually develops into a habit.

At the beginning of the goal setting process, we ask our athletes to think about their goals, not only in their sport, but also academic, and life goals.  We asked them to keep those goals in mind as we go through the parameters of what constitutes a good goal.

The discussion begins by differentiating between short-term and long-range goals.  Typically, we defined short-term goals as the period covering the next 3-6 months, or their next competitive season.  We asked our student-athletes to think in the 2-4 year time frame for their long-range goals.

Goal Setting Tips

Goal Setting Tips

We use the SMART mnemonic device for setting these parameters.

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Ambitious
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time specific

Here are some examples of each attribute.

  • Specific – The goal should not be general, vague or nebulous.  Instead of “I want to be a good football player”, focus on the skills that you can develop that will make you a good football player.   Maybe it is running a 4.8 40 yard dash if you are a defensive lineman, or having a 70% completion percentage if you are a QB
  • Measurable – Instead of “I want to knock it out of the park my senior basketball season” what factors can be measured that will enable me to have a stellar senior year.  It might be averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds a game, or a free throw percentage of 90%
  • Ambitious – Set “Stretch” Goals.  If your hang clean max is already 225 pounds, then setting a goal of 230 before next season is not a stretch.  Setting ambitious goals will force you to ramp up your work habits.
  • Realistic – This is the flip side of Ambitious.   You want to set your goals within reasonable reach, or you are inviting frustration.  If you currently run a 5.2 40 yard dash, then setting a goal of running a 4.2 next season is probably not realistic.
  • Time specific – Time stamp your goals – this will impose a sense of urgency, and eliminate just drifting aimlessly.  Instead of “I want to be in the 1000 pound club”, set a time for completion – “I want to be in the 1000 pound club by next July.”

In addition to the SMART attributes we also talk about these additional tips.

  • State each goal as a positive statement.  The power of positive thought is amazing.  Give your brain something positive to digest.  Instead of “I don’t want to jump off-sides any next season”, state it as “I will fire off the ball on the correct snap count 100% of the time next season.”
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals.  Try to set goals regarding things you have control over – “I want to average 100 yards rushing a game”, might be a better goal than “I want to make All-Conference Running Back
  • Write goals down.  This is the next step for us – and what we will end up doing after discussing good goal attributes.  Writing their goals down gives it importancepermanence.   I liken it to making a contract with themselves. The student-athletes get two cards (connected and pre printed).  On the front of the card are blanks to record 3 short-term and 3 long-range goals along with their name.  On the back of the card we have printed these goal-setting tips.  They will keep one, and turn one card into me.
  • Put the card where you will see it DAILY.  I suggest putting their copy on the bathroom mirror, where they will see it every morning.  It is a reminder of their contract and serves as motivation to do the work needed to achieve those goals.

I keep one copy of their goal card, which I often use in discussions with them over the course of their career.  It becomes very easy to congratulate an athlete when they have reached a particular goal, which moves to additional discussion regarding setting new goals. It is also easy to use their goal card (and their goals) as a reminder regarding the type of work they need to be putting in to reach those goals.

Here is a link to the Goal Card we use.

It is a Word Document, so you can download it and make any changes to suit your needs.  It prints 4 to a sheet and fits on Avery 8387 postcard paper.  We then split it in two, giving two cards to each student-athlete to fill out.  As mentioned above, they will keep one copy, putting it where they will see it daily, and give one copy for me to keep on file.

For more goal setting information, you can read these posts:

Thanks for reading!

Questions or Comments are always welcomed!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Experience

Yesterday in my post, Youth, I discussed some qualities in the mentor-mentee relationship; hard work, knowledge of subject, and loyalty on the part of the mentee, with the mentor having trust and belief in their mentee.  Youth often brings energy, exuberance, and a fresh outlook to the table; Experience, though, is important and valuable.

When I talk about experience, I am not strictly talking about seniority, or being “tenured”, or years on the job.  Schools and practice complexes are filled with teachers and coaches that have experience, but lack qualities that I consider valuable and worth emulating. 

I am talking about the experience

  • That comes from a history of successfully tackling difficult situations and handling them successfully
  • That comes from finding solutions to difficult challenges
  • That comes from “seeing” and navigating a “winning” path through a maze of obstacles
  • That comes from embracing new and different challenges rather than whining about change
  • That comes from having a large “bag of tricks” to pull from because they have “been there, done that

Author Seth Godin writes about this type of experience in his post, The river guide and the rapids:river2

“It’s probably not an accident that rapid (as in rapid change) shares a root with rapids (as in Lava Falls in the Grand Canyon).

The river guide, piloting his wooden dory, has but one strategy. Get the boat to the end of the river, safely. And he has countless tactics, an understanding of how water and rocks work, and, if you’re lucky, experience on this particular river.

The thing is, the captain changes his tactics constantly. He never whines. He doesn’t stop the boat and say, “wait, no fair, yesterday this rock wasn’t like this!” No, the practice of being great at shooting the rapids is a softness in choosing the right tactic, the ability to hold the tiller with confidence but not locking into it. If your pilot keeps demanding that the rapids cooperate, it’s probably time to find a new pilot.

Domain knowledge underlies all of it. Give me an experienced captain over a new one any day–the ones that got this far for a reason. Yes, the reckless pilot might get lucky, but the experienced pilot brings domain knowledge to her job. It takes guts to go onto the river, but once you’re there, the one who can see–see what’s coming and see what matters–is the one you want piloting your boat.”

Experience is:

  • Domain Knowledge
  • Choosing the right tactic for each unique situation
  • Confident – but not cocky
  • Seeing the right path – not the reckless or lucky one

Youthful exuberance is great… experience is a critical.

My advice to young coaches – find great, experienced coaches to emulate, and humbly know that you do not have all the answers… be a sponge.

To the veteran, experienced coaches – allow and trust your young, worthy, energetic staff to gain experience.  After all, the only way to get experience is to DO… we all have been trusted and given an opportunity at some point.  Pay it forward.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Youth

The other day my son was sharing some frustrations he was having at work.  They were frustrations that many of us have faced in the workplace… and many of us have faced as young coaches.

My son is a very hard worker, knows his stuff, is very loyal to the company, but one of the newest members of his work team.  His main frustration is that he would like to be given more opportunity and shown trust in his work.

I took my first coaching job in 1979 as an assistant at Blue Springs High School.  Fred Merrell was the head coach (he was my high school coach when I played at Blue Springs) and taught me a great deal about coaching and teaching.  He worked with me on game planning, figuring offensive tendencies from scouting reports and 16mm film, and teaching me about how to “balance” up a defensive alignment against an offensive set.

RHSBrand1981 was my third season of coaching at Blue Springs.  That year we had a very good team, with some very talented players.  Our Homecoming game was against Rockhurst High School, which was the first ever meeting in this great rivalry between the two schools.  Rockhust had an excellent team (as usual), and was entering the contest undefeated.  We felt like we had a very good game plan against them, and our players performed great in the first half.

In the 4th quarter we had a 20-0 lead and were commanding the game, when Coach Merrell came up and asked if I would like to make the defensive calls for the remainder of the game.  I was 24 years old with three years coaching experience, and Coach Merrell was willing to turn over the reigns… even if it was at this late juncture…. I was ecstatic, and remember the moment to this day.  I was a hard worker, knew my stuff, was loyal to Coach Merrell and our team, but was the newest member of the coaching staff.  Coach Merrell still gave me an opportunity and trusted my work.  His trust gave me great confidence and motivated me to work even harder.

We ended up winning that game, 20-0, and Rockhurst went on to post a 12-1 record that season, ending up as State Champions.

If you are a young coach, work hard to show you deserve to be trusted… know your stuff… be a great teacher…. be loyal… your time will come.

If you are the veteran, think about the coach (or coaches) on your staff that you can mentor.  Often your young coaches, even though they may not have the experience, are hungry, hard workers, enthusiastic, and may have skills you can develop and harness to make your squad better.  What young coach needs to be given an opportunity and trusted?

As a side note, one of my players on that 1981 squad, Tim Berry, passed away this week.  Tim started at fullback and linebacker on that 1981 team.  Tim Berry was one of the toughest yet kindest football players I have ever coached.

Tomorrow – the flip side… the importance of experience!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com