Tag: 7 habits of highly effective people

Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch – Part 8 – 2 questions every young athlete needs to be asked

Stephen Covey teaches in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ To better understand the kids you coach, there are two questions to start with.


Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch Part 8 – Seek First To Understand

As coaches, we often jump to analyze, interpret and fix anything that is going wrong in our program. It is in our nature to continuously improve our program. And it should be. But the procedures and processes can distract us from why we are called to coach. If you have followed me for long or listened to my podcasts, you know my favorite quote is Frederick Douglass’
 ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’
Another quote, attributed to several different coaches, is
‘Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’
The only way we really get to know anyone, including kids, is to ask questions about them and hear their stories. 2 simple but important questions to start with are:
1 – What is your favorite thing about playing this sport and for this team?
2 – What is your least favorite thing?

Then you can start diving deeper. Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you understand each kid’s expectations – are they on the team to just have fun, to put it on their resume, or to become a D1 college athlete?
  • If a kids loses his temper and explodes during a practice or game – go ahead and discipline him appropriately, but ask some deeper questions about his life outside the sport. Often there are stressors with their home life that are impacting them.
  • My friend Kevin Kennedy uses the phrase ‘Isn’t that interesting’ – Don’t be judgmental when coaching – rather, make observations and analyze why things are happening. Ask questions before judging.
  • I recently met the founder of an interesting company called First Team Reps – They have created a tool that provides feedback to coaches based on anonymous surveys of the players. Some of the questions help the coaches communicate better, such as ‘What plays don’t you understand?’ The cool thing is they end their surveys with the question ‘Are there any stressors outside of football in your life right now?’ They have found that since it is anonymous the kids are very honest and many will pour their heart out.
Tim Elmore writes in his Generation iY book: ‘Great teachers build a relationship so strong that it can bear the weight of truth.’ If kids understand that you have their best interest in mind, they will respond to and listen to coaching and constructive criticism. And more importantly, you will be building stronger children.
Next week we’ll look into ways to build a championship culture when coaching a team with your own kid on it.
Check out the rest of this 10 part series on Culture: Go to blog posts
Continue Reading

The Experts’ Reading List

The Experts’ Reading List 
One of the great things about interviewing talented coaches from all over the world is getting to pick their brain on where their mind is being fed. So we’ll take a break from our coaching series this week and I’ll share a great reading list that I’ve compiled from my podcast guests. Then next week we’ll start up a new series on Building a Winning Culture.
I’ve read 12 of these, how many have you read? My challenge to you is to pick 2 or 3 to read in the next 6 months, that is what I’m going to do. I’ve just ordered Pete Carroll’s Win Forever, Jon Gordon’s The Energy Bus, and Patrick Lencioni’s The 5 Dsyfunctions of a Team.
I’ve included hyperlinks to all of the books on Amazon, so just click on the name of the book and order it today! Don’t wait or you won’t do it. No excuses.
Also – my friend James Leath published a post with his reading list – check it out for some more great recommendations – Link
  1. Pyramid of Success by Coach John Wooden
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – the story ‘Father Forgets’ is timeless
  3. The Gold Standard’ by Coach K. – story of bringing together the Dream Team
  4. Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis – story of bringing a boy into manhood
  5. Lead for God’s Sake by Todd Gongwer
  6. Inside-Out Coaching by Joe Ehrmann – ‘Be a transformational coach rather than a transactional coach’
  7. Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx – about Joe Ehrmann
  8. Leading with the Heart by Mike Krzyzewski
  9. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
  10. The Best-Laid Plans of a High School Basketball CEO by Randy Montgomery and Matt Kramer
  11. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard – about Teddy Roosevelt dealing with defeat by challenging himself to a huge audacious goal
  12. Teaching to Change Lives by Dr. Howard Hendricks
  13. How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
  14. The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey
  15. The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone ‘Never cut anything, never dilute greatness, never pull back on your horsepower, and never put a limit on your ambition, drive, and passion. Demand obsession of yourself and all those around you.’
  16. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  17. What a Coach can teach a teacher by Tharp&Gallimore – Followed John Wooden and analyzes the % of his communication
  18. The Sports Gene by David Epstein
  19. Mindset by Carol Dweck
  20. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon – Get the energy vampires off the bus and surround yourselves with energy-givers and life-givers
  21. Double goal coach by Jim Thompson of PCA
  22. The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel
  23. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  24. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  25. Coaching Made Easier: How to Successfully Manage Your Youth Baseball Team—A Step-by-Step Guide to a Rewarding Season by Rod Huff
  26. Coaching Basketball Successfully by Morgan Wootten
  27. Win Forever by Pete Carroll
  28. The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
  29. Positivity by Barbara Frederickson – Great book for self-talk
  30. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
Continue Reading

WYC 069 – Wrestling with Character – Robert Murphy talks developmental stages in the Passion First Academy


 Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 9.54.15 AM

Robert Murphy works in sales by day, and has started a booming wrestling program by night.  Robert was a collegiate champion in wrestling, and has combined his knowledge with his passion to help kids to form Wrestling With Character – a program that provides young athletes the opportunity to grow as individuals by experiencing life lessons through the martial art of wrestling in conjunction with their Six Pillars of Character Curriculum.

Website: wrestlingwithcharacter.com

Facebook: /wrestlingwithcharacter

Twitter: @wwc365

Listen Now:

Listen in ITunes: Itunes link

Listen in Stitcher: Stitcher link


”Wrestling at young ages without training is like human cock-fighting. It’s child abuse.’ – Robert Murphy

Coaching your own kids

  • It’s really hard as a parent to watch your child struggle, cry, and have difficulties – but we have to allow them to go through this so they can grow.

My Cringe & ‘Ah-Ha’ Moments

  • It’s not about me – ‘I’ve got to focus on developing the kids, not on satisfying my ego’

Developmental stages

  • Reference to previous guest episode Melody Shuman: link
  • ‘Wrestling at young ages without training is like human cock-fighting. It’s child abuse.’ This leads to huge turnover and burnout.
  • Need to change the environment of having kids go to a few practices then throwing them into tournaments


  • Passion First wrestling academy – based on developmental stages. Kids graduate from levels by testing out of levels. Instead of belt colors (like in Karate), they have shirt colors. When they are ready to master a skill, they test on it, and move on to the next level after passing the test.
  • Each individual’s experience matters. The kids ‘in the middle’ in many sports are the ones who get left behind.

Connecting with and Impacting Kids

  • Robert coached a kid who reminded him of himself in high school – a bit of a loose cannon. He didn’t try to change him overnight – just supported him and believed in him.
  • Don’t try to compare athletes – ‘I want Joe to be the best Joe’

Culture – Discipline/Rewards/Teambuilding

  • 6 Pillars of Character:
    • Respect
    • Attitude
    • Passion
    • Integrity
    • Discipline
    • Honesty
  • Steel Sharpens Steel – We all need each other to make each other better

Best Stolen Idea

  • Coach Mike Denney – Taught Robert the importance of character and creating a family environment. He lived it too – re recruited Robert out of high school, and Robert chose to go to his rival – and yet every time he saw him he always came over and shook his hand and said hi.

Recommended Resources

Ready to be an Awesome Youth Coach? Sign up for our free weekly newsletter:

Continue Reading

WYC 039 Dr. Michael Phillips talks Long Term Athlete and Coach Development

What does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Dr. Michael Phillips shares stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth sports coach.

Michael is a professor of exercise science at Tennessee Tech University.  He has coached basketball at all levels – 5th grade AAU, middle school, high school, and 8 years at the collegiate level.  Michael also has studied and presented the concept of LTAD and LTCD – Long Term Athlete Development and Long Term Coach Development – concepts used by the Canadians and British, and being studied by the US Olympic Committee.  Michael is married and has 2 children, a 13 year-old son and 8 year-old daughter.

Twitter: @docphillips1

Facebook: /mikephillips

Listen Now:

Listen in ITunes: Itunes link

Listen in Stitcher: Stitcher link


Coaching/Leadership Quote

‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you figure out why’ – attributed to Mark Twain

Coaching Your Own Kids

  • It’s hard to strike a fair balance of how hard to be on your own kid

My Cringe & ‘Ah-Ha’ Moments

  • Being a former player – in Michael’s early years he realized he couldn’t just show up and teach them what he knew – he had to learn how to teach kids

Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun

  • Michael found 2 keys to learning how to teach/coach:

1 – Going to coaching clinics

2 – Talking to other coaches

  • Begin lots of drills without a ball – teach them the footwork first, then add in a ball
  • Great drill – Split the kids in half and have them do drills towards mid-court so they meet their teammates and can watch/learn as they go

Mental Peak Performance

  • Practices have to be fun, challenging, and competitive
  • Preparation is the key to achieving peak performance.  Take the thinking out of it- so they can just perform.  Make practices game-like so they don’t have surprises during the game.

Coaching Resources



  • Spend much more time praising the kids who are doing it right – and much less time getting on the kids who aren’t behaving.  Often the misbehaving kids want attention so if you are giving all the attention to the kids who are doing it right, the misbehavers will fall in line.

Inspiring Story

  • Michael gave a scholarship to a kid who wasn’t as athletically gifted as some others but had an unbelievable work-ethic and attitude.  Michael really connected with the kid and they had a great experience.

Long Term Athlete Development and Long Term Coach Development

  • Canada and Great Britain have created programs that look at long-term athlete development instead of putting kids on teams immediately focused on winning
  • Most new coaches in the U.S. have never been trained on coaching


  • When you coach – ask yourself: is your primary goal the long-term development of the athlete, or just winning?

The One that Got Away

  • When coaching college against his big rival – Coach Phillips showed some ‘Braveheart’ clips pre-game – and his guys got over-fired up before the game, and had absolutely no energy left 5 minutes into the game.  Lesson learned: be more methodical and business-like in pre-game, not too rah-rah.

Coaching/Leadership Motivation

  • Quote: ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you figure out why’ – attributed to Mark Twain


Ready to be an Awesome Youth Coach? Sign up for our free weekly newsletter:

Continue Reading
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook