Coaches Journal 5.12.23

Quote of the Week: Don’t let your golf influence your attitude; let your attitude influence your golf.

– Rory McIlroy, professional golfer

Blog Post This Week: Most college volleyball coaches strongly desire to see their sport on television as much as possible. It is possible, without changes in the game’s rules, for coaches and administrators to make our sport more attractive to television viewers. READ MORE

MasterCoaches Video of the Week – In this week’s MasterCoaches Video of the Week, Todd Dagenais is the featured guest. Todd recently resigned from his head coaching position at the University of Central Florida to join the Professional Volleyball Federation. View the video on the Jim Stone Consulting Homepage.

Worth Pondering: I recently recommended a book by Susan Cain titled “Quiet.” Although Cain touches several bases in the book, one of the points of emphasis is that it is easy, but not always wise, to automatically assign leadership duties to those with outgoing personalities. Taking this concept an additional step, a recent WSJ article focused on how successful teams (athletic or otherwise) tend to rely too much on one person or player. “Although this is a successful approach, this success comes with a trap: It can cause teams to rely more on their most influential members or stars—in other words, the team’s hierarchy becomes steeper. This makes the team less adaptable and more likely to get stuck in old ways of doing things. Ultimately, it increases the chances of failure the next time around.” How might Cain’s book and the WSJ research correlate to volleyball teams? The more your on-court responsibilities are focused on one individual, the easier you are to defend. The more the off-court leadership of a group is focused on the best player or singular personality, the contributions of other team members become stifled. The more contributors a team has, both on and off the court, the chances for success are heightened. READ MORE

Should Athletic Departments Take Responsibility for Mentoring Coaches? Upon completion of the most recent women’s collegiate season, several Division 1 Head Coaches were terminated. Subsequently, there were protests on social media for athletic administrators to take a degree of responsibility for the relative lack of success that led to a coaching change. It was suggested that before dismissing a coach, athletic administrators should make available mentoring opportunities to assist the coach. I sought out a successful business leader to ask, “should executives be responsible for mentoring those in the company with leadership duties.” The immediate response was that staff in leadership roles (such as head volleyball coach) are expected to perform quality work. Mentoring is done at the junior levels (such as assistant volleyball coach).

Coaches should be sufficiently motivated to pursue mentoring opportunities aggressively. It is not unusual for coaches to work hard to get to a leadership position, then the motivation to improve begins to wane. An administration providing mentoring opportunities for a head coach is fantastic. However, it should not be an expectation for senior administration to provide mentoring opportunities for coaches.

Stuff Worth Reading

A New Format for the College ExperienceAquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI, is joining fewer than a dozen schools in the United States that allow a select number of students to enroll in one class at a time. The program will allow about 80 students — or roughly 5% of the school’s total enrollment — to take one class at a time each weekday for three and a half weeks. At four credit hours per course, students will gain 32 credits throughout the year.

“If you want to take a creative writing class, then for three and a half weeks, you are a creative writer,” said Aquinas Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Stephen Germic. “You will live in that area of that discipline in a deep and intensive way.” READ MORE

I find this approach to education intriguing. I hope there is associated testing to see if this type of learning environment is more productive than the traditional class that meets 2-3 times weekly.

Universities Embracing Gambling Sites Might Have a Cost – I always thought it was a “head-scratcher when both Michigan State University and the University of Maryland entered into sponsorship agreements with gambling sites.

“Michigan State’s athletic department announced it has signed a multi-year deal with Caesars Sportsbook to become “the Official and Exclusive Sports Betting Partner and iGaming Partner of MSU Athletics.” Financial details of the arrangement were not immediately available. and Maryland) entering into agreements with gambling sites.” In addition, the University of Maryland “announced Wednesday the signing of a multi-year partnership with PointsBet USA. The agreement is the first sports betting partnership within the Big Ten Conference and will feature fan-facing in-game and campus activations in and around Maryland’s XFINITY Center and Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.”

Should it be a surprise that the baseball coach at the University of Alabama and athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have recently been suspended or fired for suspicious gambling activity? Alarm bells go off for me when any company promises to create a fund to deal with any adverse consequences of using their product.

Your Brains Aren’t Wired for Multitasking

I wrote an article about how your eyes only see one thing at a time. When teaching visual cues to the players, coaches need to know what cues and in what order they want their players to focus their attention. A recent article in the WSJ pokes holes in the concept of multitasking. “You can’t multitask,” says Earl K. Miller, a neuroscience professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. He says that our brains are wired to do just one cognitively demanding thing at a time. We tell ourselves we’re multitasking when we’re actually doing task-switching, rapidly shifting from one thing to the next.” Learn how you can become more focused and produce work of higher quality. READ MORE 

A Game Plan for Better Practices

My book is for coaches of all levels. I organize skills presentations into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels. Each level of play has different requirements relative to skill, system, and knowledge. The focus of each level is to develop a checklist of requirements to assist the coach in organizing their daily practice sessions. Along with written drills, the book contains approximately five hours of video detailing the skills and systems at all levels. I make an extra effort to provide visuals of games to assist the young players to learn the concepts of the game. You can see the book at A Game Plan for Better Practices

That’s all for this week!