The Culture Journey Week #18 – Icebreakers, Tough Decisions, & The Hard Hat

Week 18
Hell Week – Spring practice week #1
Positive Energy
As I mentioned last week, we started off the season with our head coach asking the boys what being a good teammate means to them, he wrote their ideas down, then had all the players and coaches sign the sheet agreeing to be held to that standard. This is a big change from the previous year, where I can’t remember specifically how the season kicked off but it certainly wasn’t in this type of positive mindset. Then we lined up all the boys in a single file line, I taught them the proper way to shake hands, and we had each player go down the line and introduce themselves to every other player on the team. Good start!
The next challenge for our coaching staff was to turn around the negative culture that had come down on last year’s team like a dark fog. One focus we are implementing is to intentionally start the practice with positive energy. We have done entourage, aka rock,paper,scissors,cheerleader, and a game called moosh-ball to start our practices the last 2 days. They are somewhat goofy games, especially moosh-ball, but that is OK because they have been very successful in getting a group of ‘trying-to-be-cool’ teenage boys laughing, cheering, and having a good time.

The other nice benefit of doing these games at the beginning of practice is that it provides an extra incentive to show up on time to practice.
We did face a very tough decision on who would be our captains for this team. We have 6 seniors on the team, so we wrote their names on a sheet of paper and let each player on the team vote for 1,2, or 3 players. The vote totals came out with one clear choice, then 3 more that were lumped pretty tight together. We had the debate over whether to add the #2 finisher and stick with 2 captains, or whether to have all 4 be captains. The other issue was the head coach had a different view on who the 2nd captain should be vs. myself and the other assistant coach. Much to his credit, after much deliberation, he had the other assistant coach and me fill out votes and see what that did to the totals. It did move a different boy into the #2 spot. I also really like the leadership of the boy who finished in the #4 spot, so we finally agreed we would go forward with 4 captains.
The Hard Hat
Keeping with our theme of being a great teammate, we have purchased 10 copies of Jon Gordon’s The Hard Hat – 21 Ways to be a great teammate. 1 for each senior and one for each coach. We are going to read the book with our seniors and discuss 2 different points from the book each week.
We have a long way to go, but the atmosphere around our team this spring is light years ahead of where we were this time last year.

Have a great week and keep fighting for your culture everyday!

I am excited to walk this journey with you. I welcome any feedback, ideas, and suggestions you might have as you read through this. You are also welcome to share this with any other coaches you think could benefit from it, and please have them email me at [email protected] if they would like to be added to this email list.

If you are interested in diving deeper on building culture we have started a mastermind group that meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at 12:30 pm EST, see the details at: It is exciting to be with likeminded world-changers.

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