We, as coaches, learn from other coaches. Be it from the one’s we played for or the speakers at a clinic. I love listening to Coach Danowski. As do most. He mentioned one time about “Non Negotiables” with his team. Got me thinking, what are mine? Mine; Compete. Always. I want players to out work the other team. We may not be better but we will play harder. Be on time! If you are not dressed and ready to go at the time practice starts, you get sent home. The right number of balls in the bucket. I hate spending time looking for balls. Why waste time in practice finding balls. The bucket starts with, let’s say 50 balls. At the beginning of the next practice, there had better be 50 WHITE lacrosse balls in the bucket. If there are more, which there will be, then that becomes the new number. At some point, we end up with two buckets filled. If we are short, and that has only happened a few times in 20 years, we run till I feel the message has been sent. It’s not about the balls. It’s about responsibility. Is that old school or new school thinking? Have you figured out what type of coach you are? Are you the loud, abrasive type who feels getting in a kids face is the way to go? Or, are you the type who thinks of the practice/game field as more of a classroom? Either way, you were influenced by your past coaches and those you coached with. I know I was. Early on, I was loud and abrasive. I had no problem letting anyone know what the issue was or why I was not happy with the performance. Some teams it worked for, some it did not. I felt when I was younger that teams should adapt to me. It’s my way or the highway! Now, I am someone who really doesn’t enjoy yelling at players. They don’t get yelled at when they make a mistake on a math test. So why yell at them when they throw the ball away? It wasn’t done on purpose. I want to improve the lives of the young men that play for me. And, yes, there are times when I get upset and “blow up”. But, few and far between. This is not to say that a team should not be disciplined or have a free for all. The only teams that win are teams that are disciplined. Meaning, on time, in uniform, having whatever practice items that are needed and so on. I had the pleasure of sitting in a lecture given to our coaching staff by Joe Erhman. During which he asked us to right down our purpose for coaching, our core values of coaching and what success meant to us. Below are the three ideas Joe asked us to expand upon and my responses: Purpose: To teach young men to be committed to a cause outside of self, loyal to one another and work toward becoming productive members of society. Core Values: Commitment – Show by example how to be all in. Loyalty – Give my players more off the field than on Service – Teaching that giving with no expectations is more satisfying than receiving. Success – To see my players become strong husbands, fathers and people. After that meeting, my style changed for the better. I now look at every opportunity with the players as a chance to get to know them better and to help them. It’s no longer about winning games for me. Yes, I love to win. I have been a part of four state championship teams and many state semi finalists. It’s about getting better. It’s about being a part of a program and it’s about having a relationship with the players that will last long after they graduate. So, after reading the above, are you old school or new? Either way, determine what is your purpose, core values and how you define success. This can only make the program you are a part of better.