Thursday, December 31, 2015

Quote of the Week

Michael Jordan, Luc Longley, Steve Kerr, Chicago Bulls, teammates

"The one thing I believe to the fullest, is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves.  I'd rather have five guys with less talent who are willing to come together as a team than five guys who consider themselves stars and aren't willing to sacrifice."
- Michael Jordan

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Leading with Confidence

Michael Jordan, Jordan, game winner, utah jazz, confidence, leadership
Michael Jordan hits game winner over Utah Jazz in
Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals
Have you ever seen this?  Have you ever seen the best athlete on the court, the field, the pitch, the pool.... Have you ever seen them just stop leading when they're having an off-day?  We know the image: athlete isolates himself/ herself, head hanging low or resting on the gutter.

Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers (4x Super Bowl champion) admits, "Confidence is a fragile thing."

For better or worse, within every season -- even every game -- there are countless highs and lows.  Inherently then, there is a great deal of failure built into every sport.  But the very best leaders are those who are capable of combining sincere optimism with a solid belief in oneself.  They develop self-confidence that helps minimize the effect of failures on their ability to lead.  

Michael Jordan says, "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

We believe that every athlete on the team carries leadership responsibility.  Here are some pointers to help our student-athletes develop confidence necessary to lead:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Helium Stick

team building, vocal leader, leadership, helium stick, activity
Have the group divide into two lines and face each other.

RULE: everyone's index fingers must remain in contact with the stick at all times, and the stick must rest on top of their fingers at all times (no grabbing, finger curling, etc.)

Have the group extend their index fingers at their waist level.

Lay the stick across the group's fingers.

At that time, the group must work together to lower the stick to the ground.

Inevitably, the stick rises almost instantly! The rise is caused by the small ripples of upward pressure as individuals each try to remain in contact with the stick.

After refocusing, the group should be able to lower the stick to the ground.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Leadership: Leader by Example

Leaders by Example lead not by what they say but more in how they conduct themselves.
lead by example, leadership, leader by example
 These are athletes who consistently work hard in every drill, play with pride, keep their cool in pressure situations and do the right thing in and out of the water.  
There are four main characteristics: commitment, confidence, composure, and character.

Which of your teammates is best in each category?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Marshmallow Telephone

Marshmallow, Toothpick, Sculptures, Team Building Activity
When information is passed from one person to the next, things can become confused and distorted. This is especially true when we are in a hurry or we don’t know the whole story. If we are in a hurry, we leave out important facts; if we don’t know the whole story, we may fill in the blanks with information that may or may not be true. Either way, the story becomes farther and farther from the truth.  If someone wants to know the truth, they need to go to the original source and find out what they want to know. We should never completely believe anyone who is relating information to us second or third hand unless we can verify the information in some manner.

Materials for each team:
  •          20 miniature marshmallows
  •         20 toothpicks for every three people in the class.
  •         A lunch sack or plastic bag

Time Frame: 
30 minutes plus discussion time

Monday, November 23, 2015

Quote of the Week

St Louis Cardinals, Manager, Whitey Herzog, Topps baseball card, baseball card
"The one thing I've decided after looking at baseball from top to bottom is that unless the whole organization is working together for one common purpose and under one philosophy, the club isn't going to win..."
- Whitey Herzog

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Few Words About My Dad

In his 20-year N.F.L. career, Junior Seau established himself as one of the game’s greatest linebackers. He committed suicide in 2012 at age 43 and was subsequently found to have had a degenerative brain condition linked to repeated hits to the head. Before his death, Seau told his daughter Sydney that she should speak on his behalf if he made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the Hall, citing a five-year-old policy of not letting others give full speeches for deceased inductees, did not allow Sydney to deliver her speech.


First off, I would like to thank the generous people of Canton, Ohio, for opening up their homes for this event, the Pro Football Hall of Fame committee for voting my father into the Hall, and of course the other seven deserving inductees.

Before I start thanking communities, teams, family and friends that I do know and many others that I have yet to have the pleasure of getting to know, I would like to say that this is not my speech to give. This speech was meant for a man that worked 20 years within the sport he loved most in this world.

I cannot speak for him because I am not him. I have not played in the N.F.L. for one second, let alone 20 years; I do not have past seasons to reminisce about or hilarious locker room stories to joke about. But I do have one thing, and that is unconditional love.

Your Junior Seau, your No. 55 and your buddy, was also my father. And although I didn’t know every aspect of his life, I did know one particular part very well. His athleticism and talent made him extraordinary enough to make it into the Hall, but it is his passion and heart that make him truly legendary and deserving of this tremendous honor. Tonight I would like to honor him and his legendary heart.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Consistency: Mentally Tough or Mentally Moronic?

Weathering the highs and lows of sports is a serious challenge, even for the most experienced athletes.  Unfortunately, some athletes never seem capable of escaping the roller coaster of mental performance -- playing like champions one day and mental morons the next!
mental toughness
 Ndamukong Suh stomps on the body of Evan Dietrich-Smith

Here is a simple team-building activity designed to facilitate discussion with an individual athlete or your whole team that is working toward improving their mental toughness.

Have athletes think of moments in their sport when they were frustrated, mad, discouraged or disappointed.  Then have them come up with a mentally moronic response to each moment.  Finally, have athletes develop a mentally tough response for each moment.  Athletes should record all their responses in a worksheet they can save for future reference.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Quote of the Week

Pat Riley, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Magic Johnson, Showtime Lakers, Lakers
Pat Riley coaches Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabar and
the Los Angeles Lakers Showtime to Back-to-Back
NBA Championships
"The most difficult thing for individuals to do when they're part of a team is to sacrifice...  The Lakers made a covenant with each other to put aside selfishness so that the team can achieve it's goals, saying, 'Whatever it takes for the team to win, I'll do it."
- Pat Riley

Monday, May 18, 2015

Temperament Test

Temperament Test, Keirsey, teamworkThe Keirsey Temperament Test is the most widely used personality instrument in the world. It is a powerful 70 question personality instrument that helps individuals discover their personality type.

It is important that you answer all the questions from the perspective of what feels real for you and not try to give answers that you think would sound like how you should behave in any particular situation.  The objective is to understand yourself as you really are – not the way, for example, you must react at school, or others expect you to behave.  Effectiveness as an individual or leader is not based on any particular personality style.  It is really about how well you know yourself and others.

There are two choices for each question. If both seem to apply, choose the one that feels most comfortable to you. There are no right or wrong answers – about half the population agrees with whatever choice you make.

Team Building Activity

After taking the temperament test, gather your teammates into a circle.  Ask the person to your right what their test results were.  Then look online to read and learn about what type of person they are.  Go around in a circle and introduce your teammates to one another as if you all were meeting for the very first time!


  • What new things did you learn about your teammates?
  • Describe any "AH-HA!" moments you had while hearing the description about a teammate.
  • How might not knowing your teammates impact your team?
  • How might truly knowing your teammates impact your team?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Quote of the Week

Mia Hamm, World Cup, Soccer, Champion, inspiration
Mia Hamm & USA Soccer, 1999 World Cup Champions
“Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back... play for her.”
-Mia Hamm

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Winners vs Losers

UCLA Water Polo NCAA Champions 1999Winners are always part of the solution;
Losers are always part of the problem.

Winners truly believe;
Losers only hope.

Winners have a mission;
Losers have excuses.

Winners maximize their strengths;
Losers dwell on their weaknesses.

Winners commit to improve every day;
Losers just go through the motions.

Winners make sacrifices for the team;
Losers care only about themselves.