high school football

Book Review: You Win in the Locker Room First


In this new series, the GSC team will review some of the top coaching books on the market today and hopefully encourage you to read or even to share books or other materials that have impacted you and helped you become a better coach.

The first book that we are reviewing is "You Win in the Locker Room First: The 7 C's to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life" by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith. Mike Smith is the current Defensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Atlanta Falcons head coach. Jon Gordon is a consultant to many businesses and sports teams.

The first C that the book tackles is "Culture." Culture is an important piece of any team's winning strategy. We've talked about creating a positive culture in previous blogs.

Jon and Mike talk about how important it is to involve the entire organization in building a great team culture, not just the players and coaches, but everyone in the training room, on the administration side, assistants and supporters. John and Mike talk about how important it is to get everyone to share the same beliefs, values and goals. One of the ways to do that is to get people to read the same materials and share messaging. 

One of the interesting things about this book is that Mike Smith talks about his successes, but he also talks about his mistakes. He talks about how it's important not to focus on goals for the team, but on achieving milestones and focusing on the process. He also talks about how quickly culture can change and how it's up to the coach to make sure that maintaing culture is more important than the outcomes.

The second C the book talks about is "Contagious." This refers to energy levels and how both positive and negative energy can affect the entire group. Jon Gordon talks about how important it is to stay positive and share that energy constantly with the organization. Contagiousness can be shared verbally and non-verbally.

Two of the themes that are addressed in this book and developed further in additional books by Gordon are those of Energy Vampires and the No Complaining Rule. Both concepts help teams stay positive by recognizing team members that tend to go negative and sway the positive focus of the group. The No Complaining Rule changes the team mindset to be one of appreciation and forward progress as opposed to being stuck in negative and limiting behavior.

In our next blog, we will touch on the next two C's from "You Win in the Locker Room First": Consistent and Communicate. 

Learning Styles for the Student Athlete

4 learning styles of student athletes

Great coaches know how to get their athletes to do more than perform. As a coach, your job is to teach your players how to become better and smarter after every rep, after every play. And teaching your players successfully can be a tricky business, especially since everyone has a unique learning style.

Researchers in Britain named Peter Honey and Alan Mumford categorized four different learning styles in order to assess and recognize the way people learn the best. 

1. Activist
Activists need to dive right in and start doing. They learn best by experimenting and trying things out. They tend to be pretty outgoing and get excited about doing new things.

On the field, consider having activists try out several different options when it comes to a play. Or consider having them adjust each rep slightly. They tend to be fairly open-minded and can learn through the experience itself.

2. Reflector
Reflectors are analysts, looking back on past experiences for their best information. They also do well watching others and then analyzing their activity for the best learning experience.

On the field, consider having Reflectors watch your Activists try different approaches for each play. They can see what works and learn from watching.

3. Theorist
Theorists like to know the whys and the hows about things. These are your athletes who like to know why certain drills are being used and what strategies are in play on the field.

These are the guys who enjoy doing research on other teams and understanding the theories behind the plays. They also have a tendency to understand the opposing team as well can can be very intuitive on the field.

4. Pragmatist
Pragmatists like to know how what they are learning will benefit them in an actual game experience. 

On the field, it's important to run scrimmages similar to what they'll be experiencing on game day. While open to new ideas and experiences while learning, they prefer to rely on what they've mastered in practice on game day.

While there are four different learning styles, Honey and Mumford insist that there are more than one way people learn. Most of us learn in several different ways and blends of those styles.

The key to successful coaching is to figure out the way your athletes learn best. And then teach them how to learn.