Athlete Advantage: ' Blog '

Monday, March 24
The Zoo

 By all accounts, animals raised in a zoo live a pretty comfortable and secure life. They are almost entirely dependent on the zoo staff to provide their basic needs for food, shelter, and protection. Fortunately for the zoo animals, they will never have to leave the safety of the zoo because they would be ill-prepared to survive in the wild. The same can’t be said for our children. They don’t stay sheltered by us forever. In fact, whether we like it or not, much of their learning experiences will take place away from our protection. So what seems very rational at the time, protecting  them, creating a dependency on us, doesn't develop a sense of responsibility within them. It fails to equip them with the skills and instincts to deal with life in the wild. Author Tim Elmore refers to this result in our youth as "artificial maturity". It applies to youth sports where growth and maturity are often measured by physical prowess. It is a false sense of overall maturity. Like the zoo animals, our youth are vulnerable, not prepared to survive and thrive in the real world. 




Here is just a little bit of Introductory content from the book I hope to release before Christmas. If it catches your interest, let me know.Here are a few  



As a volleyball coach and instructor for the past 20 years, I am not the same coach or instructor today that I was 5 years ago let alone what I was 20 years ago. I’m still discovering and learning how to help young athletes benefit from their organized sports experience. I confess that I don’t always do it right. I fail but I don’t give up.  I know that I have something to share. How? Over the past few years in particular, many people have sought me out for volleyball training and have encouraged me to share with others what I have shared with them. Much of this is not about physical skills and it is not about volleyball.


The tagline for Athletic Athlete Advantage, is “Training for Success”.   What does it mean to become successful or achieve success and just as importantly, why am I choosing to begin with a discussion about success?  I believe that meaningful success doesn’t come about by having a self serving, winner take all  attitude where you have to do whatever it takes, and use any means necessary to get what you want. Success is not what you see with professional athletes seeking to be the center of attention, full of themselves and oblivious to anyone else around them.  Webster defines success as “achievement or attainment of something you set out to accomplish”.  I have always admired John Wooden, the former great basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins. He said, “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” A friend of mine once said that he doesn’t believe that any of us were created to be mediocre. I agree. Whatever we are gifted to do or become, whatever our purpose, we should want to do our best. Does that mean that we won’t experience setbacks and get discouraged from time to time? Of course not. It happens to all of us. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb said ” I haven't failed; I've found 10,000 ways that don't work!" Eventually, Edison was successful. I’m sure at times  he got discouraged and thought about giving up.  I think it’s inherent in us that we all want to be achieve something that has a purpose, value and is rewarding and satisfying.      

During my business career, I spent time as a project manager. In developing the project plan, we started with the end in mind and worked back step by step until we were at the beginning, the present. It served to connect and provide a line of sight from where we were to where we expected to be. So it seemed logical to me to start with the end in mind and work back toward the present. 

I grouped the material for this book around five key themes.  

  1. Achieving meaningful success requires purpose, passion and goals with a plan. Whether as adults looking for a job or young athletes looking for a program to play a sport, having a purpose and goals will help you to find the right fit for you. Without them, all opportunities will seem right.  You have to be able to paint a picture of what purpose and success looks like for you and define how you intend to achieve it before you go after it. 
  2. To achieve success, you’ll need talent for sure but you’ll also need to learn how to learn so that you can further unlock the talent potential. This will allow you to develop competencies that are required in order for you to learn, train and apply in the competitive arena. In other words, you’ll need to be able to turn all of your potential into reality.
  3. Athletes can no more rely entirely on their physical athletic skills than a business leader can rely entirely on their IQ. They alone will not lead to success.  You need to develop emotional and intellectual skills.  
  4. Sports are played as a team. Success will depend on the entire team and your ability to adapt your strengths for the benefit of the team as well as for yourself.  You’ll need to comprehend the difference between a group of athletes and a team and how to achieve success as a team.
  5. As parents and coaches, we influence young developing athletes. We need to also understand the challenges athletes face as they strive for success and how we contribute to their success.    


This is a different type of book on sports than what most of you may have read before because it deals very little directly with the physical skills that we associate with playing sports. It has more to do with other key factors to consider and incorporate as you or someone you know prepares for sports training and competition.

Inspiration rarely comes ahead of the effort but rather it comes while you are in the midst of it. If you wait until you feel something you may be waiting a long time.



10/29/2011   Characters & Values   

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. "
John Wooden

Many things change. It's a fact of life. It is often good and right. What we can't do is to compromise our character based on well grounded values for anything or anyone. Be vigilant. You can want something and if you're not careful, you can begin to let means that aren't aligned with your values seem plausible. I challenge myself to "keep my eyes on the prize" 

10/14   Teaching the Game   I just participated in a USA Volleyball webinar on LTAD, Long Term Athletic Development. I was particularly interested because about 2 months ago while surfing the web for volleyball "stuff", I stumbled on LTAD. The main point that I want to emphasize here is that there are some things that we should be aware of as we teach youth sports. What are the phases? What should be emphasized at each phase?  Keeping in fun and engaging at each level. If you would like to know more, feel free to contact me at . You can also go to the CanadianSport For Life website.  I still plan to talk more about the concepts from 10/9 in a future entry.

10/9   Concepts to Explore   As I mentioned on the Athlete Advantage Facebook post, recently, I have been continually reminded of the importance of mental focus and preparation. As an instructor and as a coach, I've paid attention to it but more often to a lesser degree than I do for the physical skill training. This week, through observations made during HS matches, during lessons, and as I read articles and viewed videos for my leadership consulting business, I wrote down several words that represent concepts that I want to explore deeper over the course of the next few weeks and months. I think they're going to have an impact on my coaching, instruction, and business consulting. As I unpack and reflect on these concepts and the applicability, I hope to share more and welcome your feedback. Here are just a few of the concepts; Ø      validation Ø      mastery Ø      self-directed Ø      purpose Ø      failure Ø      confidence Ø      fun Ø      teamØ      self-sacrificeØ      unitedØ      responsibility