Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BUILDING TRUST, ONE PLAYER AT A TIME



    DeAngelo Wiser

Have you encountered a player or players you couldn’t reach over the course of a season? They always looked at you skeptically with locked out body language when you addressed the team, and didn’t appear to trust you or anyone else. Where does that originate? Is it essential that it should change? At that point is their attitude detrimental to the team?

We all understand that attitudes are shaped and based on life experiences, either through our family or situations with others. Often those experiences aren’t very pleasant and thus a mistrustful attitude is born. Plus, many parents teach their children to be skeptical of everyone they meet as a safeguard. I think you’d agree that’s a good approach in today’s society. The question is, should it last a lifetime with everyone our player meets? Can it be changed or altered if necessary?

Should we always be obsessed with changing the attitudes of our players to our way of thinking? I think not.

Give thought to your personality and level of trust. Can it be a benefit to have players with the opposite perspective? Without a doubt! Just by disagreeing they cause us to often rethink the activity, strategy and ways to get through to our players. The key is teaching our players not to necessarily change their attitude, but to deal with situations in a respectful and “let’s see manner.”

What is a “let’s see manner?”  Its players waiting to see how something plays out, the benefit it may have for them and that maybe it might just be a good thing. All we’re doing is asking them to change the lens they look through and be a little more flexible. Every time they are, it builds trust and over the course of time shifts the outlook from, “I hate doing this,” to “Wow! This isn’t bad,” and “I had no idea this would help me and the team so much.”

Attitudes, unlike skills, can take a long time to adjust, and very often you may never see it. Doesn’t mean you stop trying. Takes a lot of patience, and at times tolerance, to work through the lessons of a tolerant and accepting attitude. How can you get started?


        Meet with the player(s). Let them know you sense some skepticism. Ask for   
       their feedback and see if they will share where it originates.

       Let them know what kind of coach you are, and what you expect from every 
       player.

       Ask how they think attitude and outlook impacts a player and the team.

       Share your ideas on how players should address areas they don’t agree with.
       Ask their thoughts.

       Explain that your door is always open should they want to discuss anything.

       Avoid giving this player very special treatment because you feel especially bad
       for past experiences in their life.

       Be consistent with your words and actions. All players must be held
       accountable in practice and games. These individuals are especially sensitive to
       inconsistency or favoritism.

       Remember to call on them, as well as other players, from time to time with
       thoughts about what they accomplished in practice to end the day.

       Pair them up, or put them in a strong leadership group that can help with any
       issues they may be having.


We often shy away from allowing this type of player an opportunity to speak in front of the team, unsure of what they might say. How about calling on them and showing we have confidence and value their opinion as much as anyone on the team.

You may want to put them in a leadership role (as well as other players) for a day to see what it’s like. They may gain an appreciation for what you do, and see firsthand that it’s not easy taking care of so many players and viewpoints.

      Another reason behind the skeptical attitude may be boredom. They may not see     
     the justification or reasoning for many repetitions of a particular skill or play.   
     Explaining the “why” and how it will help them and the team may be all they need.

Just because they’re skeptical in the beginning doesn’t mean they need to be their whole career. Keep working to break down that barrier, it will be worth it.

      I wish you and your team the best.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

“Preparing Your Team For Success” cont.




DeAngelo Wiser

I appreciate everyone’s input and questions concerning our latest article.

Here’s our follow up. These are statements you may want to use that remind players of what it took to be successful, and ways you can bring your team back to reality when complacency shows up.


Here are some statements during the playoffs that may remind them of what it took to get there.

The road to the championship is littered with teams unwilling to work as hard as you have.

Remember those hot days of practice, what you’ve sacrificed and worked so hard for.

We always push ourselves and our teammates. We haven’t arrived. We look to improve every day.

There was no luck involved in getting where we are tonight.

We’ve practiced against the toughest opponent in the state all year long, our teammates.

Look around and know that your teammates believe in you.

Respect your opponent. Know this game will come down to a battle of wills.

I’ve never had a team that worked so hard together.

You’ve earned the right to be a champion.

I believe in every one of you. Believe in each other.

Everyone’s role on this team is important and brought us here tonight.

In our sport, a team wins the championship, never an individual.

Enjoy this championship, because on the first day of practice we begin work on the next one.

What can you do or say as a wakeup call for reality when next year’s preseason practice begins?

Set the tone on the first day with practice earlier than ever before. Work the team hard with tough team building exercises. Explain that all the other teams are sleeping and our team’s desire and determination to repeat have to be greater than any team in the state.

  On the first day of the season every team is undefeated. At this point we     
  are no better than anyone else.

 No opponent cares what we did last year.

 Every team we play has our game highlighted on their schedule.

  Our awards, trophy, rings and honors, while wonderful, won’t score a goal,
  make a save, win a ball, create an assist or win a game this season.

  There are more people in our community and area that don’t know we
  won a championship than do.

  Only you and your teammates can prove that last year wasn’t a fluke and
  this program is building a dynasty.

  Demand more from yourself and your teammates at practice.

  You can’t have the championship without sweat, aches, frustration, all out  
  effort, teammates, a few tears and the belief it can be done.

  If you’re not willing to give all you have, let your teammates know so they   
  can find someone else.

Working through success may be your biggest challenge. The key is bringing your team back down to earth from a moment they may have never experienced. We’ve all seen teams that weren’t able to wake up in time and followed a great year with a disappointing one. I believe by keeping it real and building a hunger to leave a legacy we can teach our players to enjoy what’s they’ve accomplished, and understand that today is a new day to accomplish much more. There will be time to bask in the glory, today isn’t that day.

I wish you and your team the best!









Sunday, April 23, 2017

IS YOUR TEAM PREPARED TO DEAL WITH SUCCESS?



DeAngelo Wiser

We spend a lot of time teaching players that failure and making mistakes is part of the journey when attempting a worthy goal. Our education continues with explanations of what to expect when they fail, how to overcome it and the mental toughness to work through it. Moments abound throughout a season for lessons to be taught concerning adversity.

Should they be prepared? Absolutely! Many have experienced setbacks and learned to cope or not, and in some cases even avoid situations that lead to failure. Often it’s a monumental task on our part to change that mindset, one that takes time and patience.

What about success? Has your team experienced success? Are they aware of the traps that success can present? Have you prepared your team for that moment of success and the aftereffects? Are we teaching it reactively rather than proactively?

Ask any coach who had their first banner year what the mindset of his or her team was as they reported back for the following season. They most likely will say their players can be complacent, content, individualistic, lacking in effort, not focused, and thinking they have it all figured out. Such was my experience.

We had just won the regional tournament by beating our cross-town rival in a shootout. The feeling was one you just can’t describe. I was so proud of our team and what they’d just accomplished. As we lined up for pictures with the trophy, a thought kept finding its way into my mind: “We are moving to a tougher district next year. How will that impact our ability to succeed?” The following year I did my best to remind them every day of what we were facing, but they refused to buy in and work harder and smarter to have a chance. We would exit the tournament early because our team had become complacent and content with last year’s success. As a coach, I had let my team down because we encountered a storm I hadn’t prepared my team for.

Teams who’ve won championships the year before can often lose sight of what they did to accomplish their goals. Convincing them of what it will take to repeat or motivating them to reach greater goals can be a monumental job.  Respecting success is a lesson worth teaching.

What steps can you take to put success in perspective?

·        Explain what success looks like, the glitz and glamour, how to deal with the demands and sorting through the accolades as an individual and a team.

·        Let them know many people are willing to celebrate and tell them how great they are, but few will be around should they lose or need help.

·        Remind the team that success is never a gift, it must be earned through tremendous effort and determination, and it comes with responsibilities.

·        Have them list what they think their new responsibilities will be.

·        Congratulate your team on their accomplishments and create ways to celebrate them. Moving on too quickly can diminish their efforts. Allow them time to enjoy it.

·        Ask what their feelings and reactions are to their success. Has it changed them? Have they thought about what their next goal will be?

·        Ask how they think this season could be different with respect to opponents, their mindset, makeup of the team, what is expected, etc.

·        They’re in the spotlight now. Everything they do or say will be carefully scrutinized.  Be humble, grateful and gracious.

·        Emphasize, as you see it, what it took to succeed last season.

·        Have players develop specific team practice goals to keep them focused for this season.

·        Paint a picture of what you see as possible this season.

·        Remind the team of distractions and obstacles that lie ahead.

·        End one practice a week with a team leader led meeting on a topic they see as urgent. Meet with leaders and discuss the topic beforehand.   

·        Look back on everything you did last year and draw from it.

·        Replace leaders lost through graduation with strong team leaders.

·        Be consistent with your team, and don’t let success change you.


We are always aware of failure and do our best to prevent that mindset from dominating our players’ thoughts. Success seems to be different. We work toward a championship building on all the efforts and accomplishments along the way. But we seldom mention the other side of success to our players until we experience a banner year. It’s then we see it in our complacency and lack of effort when the following season begins.  Could we have prepared them for these moments? I think so.

In our follow up blog on preparing for success we’ll look at statements that remind players of what it took to be successful, and ways you can bring your team back to reality when complacency shows up.

I wish you and your team the best!