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

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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