Book Review: You Win in the Locker Room First--Connect/Commitment

There are many great books about coaching and team building on the market today. We thought we would showcase some of them and give our thoughts on how to build a successful program both on and off the field.

Our review of the book, "You Win in the Locker Room First" by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith continues with the next two C's: Connect and Commitment.

Connect:

Jon Gordon says that connection between players is the key to success. "Team beats talent when talent isn't a team."

Mike Smith echoes the importance of connectivity. It's hard to be connected when one part of a team is doing well and another part is struggling. He says that teams should ban finger pointing when things go badly and instead support each part of the team no matter what.

In order to develop connectivity, Mike Smith talks about the importance of face-to-face and heart-to-heart communication. He suggests (depending on the team) a "No Phone Zone," so the team can spend time communicating with one another instead of being tied to their mobile phones. There are benefits to unplugging a bit and shifting the team's focus on strengthening their personal relationships with each other.

Technology does have its place though. It can strengthen and reinforce relationships that have already been developed in-person. Coach Smith talks about how texting a player about a great performance or tweeting words of encouragement can really be helpful.

Make time to connect. Jon gives several examples of team-building exercises that teams have used. Some are internal, and some are external and tie in community service or fundraising events.

Commitment:

Commitment is a full-time thing. Your team needs to know that you are committed to their success. It needs to be shown, not just talked about.

Both Mike and Jon talk about focusing on the "We" not on the "Me." Do the little things to let people know how committed you are.

Both men stress that commitment starts at home. Make sure that you're putting in the time for your family. This will help your life be more balanced and actually reduce some of the stress in your life, when your foundation knows you're committed.

Commitment can be shown in doing what you don't have to do, but you do anyway in order to make the team better. When you help the team get better, you automatically get better.

Commitment is tied into sacrifice. Sacrificing something for the greater good of the team is the ultimate way to show your commitment.

Next week, we wrap up our series with the final C: Care and recap our thoughts of the book over all.