"You're not here to have fun, you're here to work!"

*I wrote this article in April 2018 as a response to a note from a parent. I have amended and updated my original IP to reflect current youth sports issues.

I got an email from a distraught parent the other day. She described a scene where the coach was screaming at the girls after a loss. She was beside herself at how the coach treated the girls. He was demeaning, he was loud and scary, and he had lost perspective on the age he was coaching.

She said at one point the coach barked “You’re not here to have fun! You are here to work!” The coach felt the girls were not trying hard enough, were not fully engaged, and did not want to win as badly as he did. The worse they played, the more frustrated he got.

The girls were 8-years old!

This mom was so upset this one conversation would turn her child away from sports. She wanted her daughter to share the same lifelong passion and pursuit of a sport that she did. She wanted her daughter to have the great memories and...

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Coaching is creating a space

Uncategorized Jun 12, 2019

“That is what writing is: creating a space in which something can be said.”

- Karl Ove Knausgaard 

I happened upon this quote while scrolling my Twitter feed. I was skimming for nuggets of wisdom when this scrolled by me. I blew past it at first, but something caught. Like a nail snagging my clothing as I slid by, it caught me, forced me to pause and look back at it.


It had nothing to do with sports. Then again, much of what I read, study, ruminate on has little to do with sports. That is the fun part: connecting other disciplines with no seeming connection back to the youth sports. I see the footprints of excellence everywhere and try to follow them until I can discover something new to share with youth athletes. The more "off path" I go, the more exciting it is to bring it back to the game. Excellence can be found anywhere, you have to look for the footprints.

This quote was obscure compared to the myriad quotes I find and share, yet it...

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How Coaches Can Create Impact Beyond the Game

The is the second in a series of collaborative writing pieces I am doing with Erica Suter. Our first was published on her site here: 
Erica is a rock star and prolific writer. Find out more about Erica at the end of this article.

The Remarkable Link Between Sparta and Instagram

What do Sparta and Instagram have in common and how can it help you become a better coach? An ancient warrior state known for their bellicose nature and simple lifestyle has nothing in common with a picture sharing app with “hearts” and luxurious photographs plastering the timeline. Battles and photos have little to do with coaching. Or do they?

The two share one very important thing that is applicable to your career. Both knew the vital importance of minimum viable impact. In the startup world the concept of minimum viable product has to do with developing a product with the least amount of features that...

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Coaching Like Water

coaching Jun 06, 2019

I spent a day floating on a river in Arizona this past weekend. As our group floated along in tubes tied together, listening to music, and watching the kids play in the water, I got to thinking.

Water is fascinating. It is patient. Water took ages to carve the Grand Canyon. It never gave up on the task. What was a small crack at one point, after tremendous patience and stick-to-it-iveness we now have an amazing marvel of nature. 

Water is adaptable. It forms to the container in which it is placed. Put it in a tall cylindrical glass, and it forms that shape. Pour it into a flat, rectangular bowl and it will take on that shape. It never forces things to it's shape, it adapts to its container.

Water can be calming, demanding, strong, and convincing. It put us all in a state of relaxation as we floated along this weekend. There were times the current demanded we go a certain direction. We trusted it because it flowed relentlessly and always finds the best path. A few times I was...

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Same Destination, Different Paths

coaching education journey May 24, 2019

My wife and I took up hiking a few times a week. We walk the same path. Side by side or one behind the other. We tend to stay on the same path.

Every once in a while there will be a deviation from our path. My brain works like water and is always looking for the most efficient route. I calculate, I draw from experience, and apply things I have learned.

I think, "Some expert hiker took this path or it would not be there. It may not be the normal route and that is okay by me if I have done my homework during the walk and think this will simplify the journey."

Those are the moments I will take a different path.

On her path, my wife might climb over a few boulders, duck under a large tree branch, hop across a small stream. Her path has obstacles, possible pitfalls, and is arduous. It's still a great path and it gets her to the destination.

I slip along this "new" path away from the boulder, around the tree, and beyond the stream. I save my breath and energy. My path...

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