The Culture Journey Week #20 – Smart-Aggressive – A Poker Analogy

Week 20
Spring practice week #3
Positive Energy
I continued what I have affectionately self-named ‘Coach Craig’s Goofy Games‘ to start each practice.
This week we did the best game we’ve done yet:
I had forgotten one that I had learned from Dave Cisar at Winning Youth Football (I am a HUGE fan of his coaching guide!) It’s called towel tug of war. Use an old full-sized towel, wrap duct tape around both ends and in the middle. Have 3 somewhat equal-sized athletes each grab the towel with one hand at 1 of the 3 taped spots. Put a cone about 4 to 5 yards behind each player (should form a triangle.) Then it’s tug of war to try to touch your own cone. You can only have one hand on the towel and you must be touching the towel when you touch your own cone.
The added fun that Cisar adds – have all the players that don’t participate line up behind the person’s cone who they think is going to win. Then all the people who line up behind the wrong cone have to do a quick 5 push-ups or something similar for picking wrong. This adds a lot of loud fun cheering from all the players.
Smart-Aggressive – A Poker Analogy
It’s always a fine-line to challenge kids to play aggressively but not force things and take dumb shots. I was thinking about it this week and it’s really similar to effective poker players. I used to run a poker club of 20 really good poker players and we would send the winner of the club to Vegas to play in a World Series of Poker event. I was able to win our club twice and got to play in Vegas. Poker theory is pretty consistent in that the best players play a tight-aggressive style. I was thinking this week that this is how we want our players to play, although I renamed ‘tight’ with ‘smart.’
Attached is a visual of this, let me know your thoughts. I am going to roll this out to our team today.

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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