“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”
John Wooden

Saturday, November 21, 2015

U.S. weightlifter Mattie Rogers talks about body image, power

, USA TODAY Sports6:20 p.m. EST November 19, 2015


Mattie Rogers (Photo: Special to USA TODAY Sports, Bruce Klemens)

When Mattie Rogers wasn’t seeing the results she wanted in weightlifting, she knew she had to let go of something. The former cheerleader and gymnast would have to give up a seemingly perfect body and put on weight to reach her goals.
The 20-year-old from Florida moved up from the 69 kilograms (152 pounds) weight class to 75 kg (165 pounds). She became stronger, and has improved her personal best to 202 kilograms (445 pounds) for the combined total of snatch and clean and jerk. Once she did it, Rogers found herself looking at her body differently.
“When you get to weightlifting, your body needs to look like what it needs to look like for you to perform at its best. You need to fuel it the right way. You need to take care of it, recover, train the right way to be able to perform at your best,” Rogers said. “Whatever my body looks like is just a result of what it needs to look like for it to perform at its best.”
On Black Friday, when much of the country will be focusing on holiday shopping, she will be competing at the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in Houston. It’s the first time a combined worlds, with both men and women competing, will take place on American soil. Three London Olympians, Holley Mangold and Sarah Robles on the women’s side and Kendrick Farris for the men, will compete.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Changing the Game Project: Our 2015 Books of the Year

Posted In Book reviewsCoachingMessages for KidsSports Parenting

By John O'Sullivan
November 18, 2015
All great leaders, great coaches, great athletes, and great parents are lifelong learners. Every great coach I have met has been a lifelong student of coaching, leadership, psychology and more.  Here at the Changing the game Project, we are always looking for the latest and greatest information on talent development, leadership, building culture, and being a great parent. This year was no different, and it was very difficult to cull this list down to a few books.
Below are the best books I have read in 2015, divided into categories of books for parents, for coaches, and for athletes. I hope you are able to find a book or two on this list for your holiday reading, and as gifts for the coaches, parents and athletes in your life. Click on any of the images or links and they will take you to Amazon (full disclosure, they are affiliate links, so the Changing the Game Project makes about .30 if you buy a book). Also, in the comments below, feel free to share any books you read this year that you would add to this list.

2015 Book of the Year for Parents

St Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny gained notoriety in the youth sports world a few years ago with his famous 5000 word letter to the parents of a little league team he was about to coach. This book takes that letter to a whole new level, and is fantastic for both parents and coaches to read. It details Matheny’s time as a youth player and the important lessons learned from his coaches, especially those who focused on developing him as a player instead of winning a specific game. He discusses how his parents created an environment to follow his dreams, and how he took those parenting and coaching lessons and brought them to a group of youth baseball players (and now, many of them to the Cardinals as well). This book may be the single best book I have ever read on how to be a great parent and coach for young athletes, and is deserving of our book of the year!

2015 Book of the Year for Coaches

The most successful sports team in the professional era is not the Yankees, or Real Madrid, or the Celtics; it’s the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team, with an astonishing 87% winning percentage. In November 2015, they also became the first nation ever to win back to back Rugby World Cups. Their secret sauce: CULTURE! I don’t think I have ever read a book where I dog-eared or underlined so often. I eventually gave up because there is a gem on every page. Every team has a culture, whether you are coaching 6th grade basketball or college football, and coaches who intentionally create a great culture and develop good people win a lot more championships than those who leave it to chance. If you want a blueprint for success for your team, read Legacy!

2015 Book of the Year for Athletes

Jon Gordon’s books are easy to read stories that teach valuable lessons about life, teamwork, and leadership. I was introduced to Jon this year, and as you will see on the list below I devoured his work. Training Camp is the story of an undrafted rookie trying to make the NFL, a classic “little guy with a big heart” story. It is also a tale of a friendship with a transformational coach who shares eleven life-changing lessons that help take players to the next level, on and off the field.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Secret Ingredient of Great Coaching

By John O'Sullivan
November 4, 2015
Wisconsin volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield talks to his team during a timeout.

“I just can’t figure it out,” an exasperated coach said to me recently. “One day we are flying around the field, and the next it looks like we’ve never played together before. Why does this happen?”
“Do you think your players lost all their skill?” I asked? “Do you think they forgot how to play?”
“Of course not,” said the coach.
“Too many coaches think that performance is all about X’s and O’s,” I responded. “It’s much more than that.”
Many coaches think that coaching is an X’s and O’s business, but in reality it is a relationship business. The secret to great coaching and a successful performance by one’s team isn’t simply technique, or tactics, or fitness.
In fact, it comes down to a simple formula:
Performance = (Potential + Behavior) – Interference
(I came up with this equation after combining the definition of performance from two highly recommended books, Timothy Gallway’s The Inner Game of Tennis and James Kerr’s Legacy, which details the 2x defending world champion New Zealand All Blacks’ incredible success in rugby.)
Most coaches only look at potential and behavior (genetics, hours and quality of practice, attitude, coaching, fitness, etc.). These are incredibly important components, but they are not the whole equation.
Far too many coaches ignore the second half of the equation, interference.
Think of interference as the static on the radio during your favorite song. You know the song is great because you have heard it before. The lyrics are the same and the rhythm has not changed, but the song is not being heard in its best form. It is not the song’s fault- it is the radio station connection. In that moment you lose faith in the station’s ability to deliver the song in it’s best form.In other words, you no longer trust the radio station.
How does this relate to coaching to parenting, and to developing high-performing athletes?
Trust is the secret ingredient of great coaching.  
It is foundation of all great teams and all great relationships. Players cannot consistently perform their best if they do not trust their coaches, their parents and their teammates, and in-turn feel they are trusted.
Coaches cannot get the most out of their athletes and teams unless they trust them to perform and earn their athlete’s trust in the process.
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