Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Dozen To-Do's for Team Leaders


by Jeff Jansen

1. Be the hardest worker at practice today. Without fail, one of the quickest ways to impact a team is with your own work ethic. Choose to be one of the hardest workers on your team today. Not only does it set the tone for the work ethic of your program, it is also one of the best and quickest ways to enhance your leadership credibility with your teammates and coaches.

2. Be a spark of energy and enthusiasm today. Let your passion for the sport shine through today. Spread a contagious energy and enthusiasm amongst your teammates. Think about how lucky you are to be able to play and compete. Remember back to when you were a young child and reconnect with the joy you played with back then. Make your sport fun again for yourself and your teammates.

3. Model mental toughness today. Because your teammates will look to you under pressure, adversity, and stress, be sure to model mental toughness today. Bounce back quickly after errors to show your teammates how to respond to negative situations. Maintain your poise and optimism despite any mistakes you might make so that your teammates can trust and rely on you to get them through the tough times.

4. Connect with a teammate today. Leadership is all about relationships. Invest the time to build and strengthen the relationships you have with each of your teammates. Inquire about their day, challenges, and goals. Make a special and ongoing effort to get to know every athlete on your team, not just your friends and classmates. The relationship building you do each day will pay off immeasurably down the road.

5. Compliment a teammate today. Be on the lookout for teammates who are contributing to your team. Call out a teammate for making a hustle play, pushing through a weight workout, recovering quickly from a mistake, getting an A on an exam, etc. Praise the actions and attitudes you want to see repeated. As Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”

6. Challenge a teammate today. Challenge at least one of your teammates today. Positively push them and yourself to make the most of your workout. Make a friendly wager to see if they can be successful at least 4 out of 5 times in a drill. See if you both can improve your times in conditioning. Offer to stay after to help if there is anything they want to work on. Good leaders consistently invite, inspire, and sometimes implore others to greatness.

7. Support a teammate today. Odds are, at least one of your teammates is struggling with something today – it could be a performance slump, a rocky romantic relationship, a disagreement with a coach, an unglamorous role, struggling with a class, or a sick family member. Good leaders are consistently on the lookout for teammates who might be struggling and are ready to offer an ear to listen, an encouraging word, a pat on the back, or a shoulder to cry on.

8. Constructively confront negativity, pessimism, and laziness today. As a leader, have the courage to constructively confront the negativity, pessimism, and laziness that will crop up on your team from time to time. Instead of fueling the fire by joining in or silently standing by, be sure to refocus your teammates on solutions rather than dwelling on and complaining about the problems. Left unchecked, these problems can quickly grow to distract, divide, and destroy your team.

9. Build and bond your team today. Team chemistry naturally ebbs and flows throughout the course of the season. Take the time to monitor and maintain your team’s chemistry. Let your reserves and support staff know how much you appreciate them. Stay connected and current with each of the natural sub-groups on your team. Douse any brush fires that might be occurring and continually remind team members about your common goal and common bond.

10. Check in with your coach today. Invest the time to check in with your coach today. Ask what you can do to best help the team this week. Find out what your coach wants to accomplish with today’s practice. Also discuss if there is anything your coach is concerned about regarding your team. Discuss your collective insights on your team’s chemistry, focus, and mindset. Work together to effectively co-lead your team.

11. Remind your team how today’s work leads to tomorrow’s dreams. It’s easy to get bogged down during your season with monotonous drills, tiring conditioning, and demanding workouts. Remind your teammates how all the quality work you do today gives you a distinct advantage over your opponents. Help them see and even get excited about how today’s hard work is a long-term investment in your team’s goals, rather than just a short-term hardship or sacrifice.

12. Represent yourself and team with class and pride today. Leaders have the awesome privilege and responsibility of representing their teams. Take advantage of this opportunity by representing your team with class and pride today. Hold a door open for someone, sit in the front rows of class and actively engage in the discussion, say please and thank you, dress in respectful attire, etc. These tiny pushes represent you and your team with class and distinction. And they ultimately set you up for a lifetime of respect and success.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

5 Reasons Social Media is Dangerous

5 Reasons Social Media is Dangerous by Glennon Motley

"I've found that remarking on every remarkable thing just makes everything less remarkable."

1. Social media had transformed me into an input junkie. ...During every un-filled moment, I felt the urge to "check" something -- anything. Facebook, Twitter, my blog, Instagram -- just give me something through which to SCROLL! I had become unable to just sit with myself. I have "Be Still" tattooed on my wrist because I know that feelings, creativity, inspiration, wisdom, peace and the rest of the good stuff knock during empty moments -- and that if we're too "busy" to answer the door, they sneak into our souls through cracked windows and haunt us. We have to answer the knocks we hear in the quiet because it's our LIFE knocking. But sometimes, answering the door feels like too much to ask -- so, I log onto the Internet in order to LOG OUT of my life. I habitually log on for the same reason I used to overeat and get drunk -- to avoid what I know I'll hear in the quiet, which might be a voice that requires me to feel or do something uncomfortable. So, the Internet has become my enabler. It keeps me from stillness and discomfort, and this keeps me from growing.

2. I'd become a validation junkie, too. The hardest part of living without social media was remembering that my little life was enough, so I could just stay there and live it without asking for anyone else's permission or validation. I realized that for me, posting is like asking the world -- do you "like" me? Am I special enough? Am I funny enough, deep enough, smart enough, successful enough, love-able enough? How much do you like my opinion about this, that, and every other thing? .... It seems we're the first generation to graduate from high school -- to escape all of its competition and insecurity and desperation for belonging and attention -- and then to voluntarily throw ourselves RIGHT BACK into it.

3. Social media lured me toward shallow and rigid thinking. In order to navigate the Internet world, we learn to make things more black-and-white than they are in order to fit our thoughts into status updates and blog comments. When I was detoxing from social media, I realized that I was thinking in status updates. It seemed I had trained my brain to translate everything I experienced throughout the day into 140 characters or less. Everything complex became simple, everything beautiful became ordinary, everything three-dimensional quickly became just two. A week passed before I stopped automatically translating every indescribable moment, sunset or conversation with my kids into two sentences. I had to learn to stop shoving life into tweets and just let things be wild and big again.

4. Social media threatened my only source of real peace and joy, which is gratitude. All of this posting about my life shoved me out of THE MOMENT, which is where gratitude lives. Choosing to live my life out on social media meant that I was never truly present because as soon as a great moment presented itself to me, I jumped right out of it. My brain said, Well, this is something remarkable, and then leaped immediately to: how am I going to describe this, and where? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? With this, I moved right out of the moment, into my head and then onto my computer -- and just like that, the moment was lost. My kids might still be there, but I wasn't. The sunset might still be there, but I wasn't.

5. During my Internet fast, I learned that social media makes me feel bad. Halfway through my fast I decided to cheat, because that's just the kind of person I am. I logged onto Facebook and clicked on a post from another blogger whom I love and respect and for whom I wish All The Good Things. Her post was an announcement that she had just won a well-deserved writing award, and as I read her good news, I started to notice that my stomach was tightening up. I "scanned my body" to check for input, as my yoga teacher taught me. And I noticed that my shoulders were sagging and I felt a flutter in my chest like a low-grade panic. What the hell, I thought. What's going on here? What was going on was comparison. I was comparing my life to hers and as they say, comparison is the thief of joy. Like I once heard an Olympic swimmer say: "I swim best when I mentally stay in my own lane." No matter how satisfied I am with my stroke and my pace before I log on, Facebook shoves me right out of my own lane and back into the ridiculous hunch that I'm not good enough, that I'm missing something important, that I don't have enough peace and success and that everyone else is living a more fulfilling, fabulous life than I am. If Facebook has this effect on us, we can forgive ourselves. Because all we're doing is using it exactly the way it was intended to be used. Facebook was designed by college boys to decide how "hot" one woman was compared to another, and now we use it to decide how hot one woman's life is compared to another's. Sometimes.

When I was in college, I went out partying every night because I had a serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). FOMO is powerful and sometimes compels us to make less-than-healthy choices because we don't want to feel left out. I wonder if FOMO is what keeps many of us so closely tied to social media. On my Internet fast, I learned that I was right to have FOMO, because I was missing something, and it was my real life. These people -- the ones in my home and in the post office and in my kids' school and in my neighborhood -- they are real life, and my real life deserves my full and undivided attention.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quote of the Day

   “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

― Paul J. Meyer

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How It's Made: Hot Dogs

Hot dogs, chicken nuggets, McDonalds, fast food...what do they all have in common? They are unnatural, processed and unhealthy. Watch this 5min video from the Science Channel and think twice before you or your athletes put poor fuel in to your body!

Quote of the Day

"Push yourself now, push through your opponents later." -Nike

Monday, September 9, 2013