Advice to young coaches (and some old coaches who need to be reminded)

Here is some advice for young coaches from my experiences. I originally posted this in 2012 but it demands to be reposted. This advice reflects lessons that I learned, no need to make the same the same mistakes I made. Read more

Respecting and exercising the power of culture

Culture. Everyone is talking about it these days. When most people think of culture perhaps it conjures up images of highly charged coaches and athletes producing lots of energy in a motivating environment. Is this the ultimate demonstration of positive culture to be aspired? Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 145: Culture shock (with Nick Hill)

When you arrive in a new situation, there can be a bit of culture shock. Even more so when it is half way around the world. Nick Hill did just that when he accepted a job to teach and coach in Chile several years ago. Throughout the journey he learned several things about getting athletes on board with your approach and developing a culture around it. That served him well in his recent return back to England as the head of athletic development at the Stowe School in England. On this episode we leverage that experience in a discussion about the process of change, how long it takes, and how it works. Read more

GAINcast Episode 107: Culture in practice

Culture is a buzzword now in the sporting world, but the increased attention rarely leads to an in-depth discussion of what culture actually means, what it looks like in practice, and how you go about improving culture. The March theme on HMMR Media is culture and we hope to help create a deeper conversation, starting with this week’s episode of the GAINcast, where Vern draws on his decades of experience to explain examples of what does and doesn’t work in the world of culture, and how culture must be adapted to the situation. Read more

Finding your team culture

Culture has been a buzz word among coaches that has gained a lot of traction over the past year, but most discussions often just stick to slick slogans and anecdotes. That’s why we’ve chosen culture as the theme this month on HMMR Media. We’re going to present some new perspectives on the topic by bringing together in-depth discussions on what a strong culture can look like and how it is developed. We’ll have contributes coming up this month a half dozen coaches on the topic. But to set the tone for the month I wanted to help get rid of the idea that culture is one thing. Culture is not some formula that can be applied on your team to automatically improve results. Like all of training, it has to be tailored to the athletes and the environment. Read more

Beyond the numbers

In today’s world of high performance sport we have the potential to bury ourselves in numbers. There is not much we can’t analyze, measure or monitor. In many ways this is a positive step forward and it some ways it can be negative. The key is keeping the numbers in context. If you are letting the numbers dictate everything you do and don’t do then it is time to reconsider. This is where I weigh in on the human element in coaching. Read more

What’s behind the medals

The bottom line is that for a long time the American “non-system” has served us quite well. What has happened? The first thing that changed was the erosion of mandatory physical education to the point where today there is only one state that has mandatory physical education K – 12. The most obvious impact is that youngsters are no longer exposed to systematic physical activity. They are no longer taught basic movement or sport skills as part of an organized curriculum. What we failed to notice is that because physical education was no longer mandatory and that less physical education teachers were being hired. The physical education teacher made up the pool of trained coaches. Then there came an increased emphasis on academic achievement to the exclusion of physical education. Read more

Some more on drills

It is important to be clear on one thing regarding drills. If you use a drill or drills know why you are using the drill. In my experience drills are most effective in closed skill activities where they can be used to correct a part of the movement or reinforce a concept. But always go back to the whole movement, remember Whole – Part – Whole. Read more

Meaningful practice

I know the term deliberate practice is the current buzzword but I don’t think it is getting the job done. Words create images and images create action, so I use the term meaningful. Meaningful clearly communicates what I want from practice, it leaves little room for nuance. Practice must have a clear plan and purpose that the athlete understands. It must relate to the competitive demands of the sport the athlete is preparing for. It must be relevant to physical and developmental age of the athlete (Adult drills and training methods imposed on children are counterproductive). Read more

Growing the athlete

Growing the athlete is an organic not a mechanistic process. For years I used the metaphor of building the athlete but over the past few years I have become uncomfortable with that characterization. Read more