Tuesday Tips for the Coaches of Chaos

March 01, 2011, 8:18 a.m. (ET)

Greetings. In meetings with our Region Services staff, I have been expressing my desire to help the teachers of sport in separating the wheat from the chaff. There is so much information out there, that great reads, videos and ideas get lost. So this weekly blog is simply done to help those of you who care to be lifelong learners to have a place that you can come visit and find out about the new things that we have learned about over the past week. Sure, those of you who twit, jing, moodle, ning, meebo, facebook, skype or other wise share, might have already heard about it, and congrats to you. Heck, some of you may have heard about one or two of our Chaos Coaches tips months ago. What I find more often in my travels to teach, is that when I show a clip or share an article, that over half of our coaches have never heard about it. So this is for those of us who need a digest, and a place to “hear about it.”  

We chose Tuesday so that you have had a day or two to reflect on your team’s weekend performance, and to give you time to perhaps weave in a new idea or two into this week’s preparations. Some of this material you will no doubt see move over to a new button in grassroots – which you might have missed in the chaos – the “I’m a New Coach” button.  Some will find its way into next year’s IMPACT manual, for we want our new coaches to have the best information possible to help make them the best teachers of the game – so they are never a child’s last coach.

I will include what books are on my nightstand – for I always have more than one read going. There may be a link or two to cartoons or something humorous, for everyone knows how much I enjoy laughing while learning. Let’s not forget video too. My PR department notes that some of the links we share here may go bad in short order, as some sites keep a link open to all for just a short time before putting it behind a paywall.  Let me know if that has happened, but that is why we are doing this weekly.

So, without further ado – here is our first set of tips to help you enjoy the chaos of coaching, and not be as fooled by the randomness.

Scorecasting – This is my latest read. Its by Univ of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz and long time Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim. Best chapter for me is the re-confirmation of the "Myth of Momentum - or the hot hand, and why so many fans, coaches and broadcasters ferverently subscribe to it." My favorite magazine WIRED, said the book is “another salvo in the revolution, ” in the article Scorecasting Tackles Sports’ Biggest Myths

Steven Levitt, in the Freakonomics Blog in January shared the guest blog called “Why Black NFL Coaches Are Doing Worse Than Ever, and Why This Is a Good Thing.” You might have seen the book referenced with regard to the  “Curse of the Number One Draft Pick” in this Sports Illustrated article.

Go put it by your nightstand too.

Jessica’s Affirmations

I work with 14s. I choose this age in no small part as the middle school years are when I too often have seen strong, powerful confident elementary school kids, fade out, becoming doubters of their own unique and independent talents. As my main goal for teaching volleyball is to develop amazing leaders, I showed this recently to the team, and they all loved it – so of course that means I need to share it with you, even if you are one of the over 7 million who have already viewed it on YouTube…

Trouble Tree – No link here, just google it and you will have some 10 million options to read, even songs and lyrics to perhaps share.  I took my team outside last week to the tree in front of the gym, and told my version of this tale – as we all know we want our players to be able to spend the whole time in the gym in their best state of learning – of being intent and deliberately practicing. The trouble tree ritual helps me, and the 14ers liked it too.

Nerve – This came from Scott Buss, a member of our Diversity Commission and strong advocate for Special Olympics Volleyball throughout our nation. Thanks Scott.  As he noted, this great Slate article reinforces the benefits of a competitive caldron during practice to shape the reactions of players in game situations.  Read the rest here:  http://www.slate.com/id/2287216/

There's Real Labor Involved in Sports – This SI Steve Rushin blog tip from the chaos came from Manny Johnson, noting well that this is a “great message about mindfulness and the hard work people never see.” Thanks Manny. 

Excelling at Averageness – I will let Agnes have the last words today….

So there you have it. Share your reads and links from out there in the chaos so we can grow the game together. We can’t control the chaos, but we can control ourselves, and better deal with the randomness of sport.  Email me at john.kessel@usav.org and thanks for caring enough to be a better teacher of the game.