Quotes from the NFL’s Greatest

MandyAntoniacci of Inc. magazine provides some inspirational quotes as the NFL opening weekend kicks off on Sunday.

28 of the Greatest Quotes From NFL Legends
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Don’t Be Chicken?

With the baseball season officially underway, I thought today would be an appropriate day to share an article penned by Matt Hickman in 2012 that discusses some of the most superstitious baseball players ever to play the game (see Hickman article).

I’m happy to say that #1 on the list is Wade Boggs. Boggs, a MLB Hall of Famer, is going to have his number 26 retired by the Boston Red Sox on May 26th and is only one of eight Red Sox ever to have this honor.

I mean what other players beside “The Chicken Man” have earned the right to have an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episode made?

This kind of got me thinking, what are some of the strangest superstitions in basketball? It seems that baseball has so many more. It probably has to do with all the down time in the game but still basketball has a few.

We have all heard of players changing shoes or shoelaces at halftime and who can forget the 2007-08 Boston Celtics peanut butter and jelly pregame meal, but can you think of any others?

Please post your comments below and share what you or some of your players have done in the past!

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Finding the Positive: Why Coaches ‘Spin’

I recently I went to watch a practice of a program and head coach that I highly respect.

I arrived at practice just as the team was entering the floor and began to take notice of their body language immediately.

As I watched practice unfold, it was clear to me that the head coach was in charge of the practice and it was organized. The assistants also did a nice job meshing with the team, owning certain drills and staying on task. In addition, I noticed that the team was pretty loose, got to work (even when the coaches were not present) and competed throughout the entire practice. There was a level of respect for the coaches, each other and had a focus in the scouting report portion of the practice. More importantly, they were enjoying themselves and seemed to be genuinely having fun.

After the practice, as the players made their way out of the main entrance where we were chatting, they were all smiles and seemed energized. Many came to say hello to me and they were excited about a student development lecture that had just taken place for them (to fill up some of the free time that the had because school was not in session yet).

All in all, I think the atmosphere was very friendly and outgoing.

The coach and I spoke about a variety of topics, most notably how they were “right there” and did not feel as though their record reflected their actual reality. The coach mentioned how as coaches we get associated with our teams and that people taper their interactions with us based upon the performance of teams. For instance, if the team is struggling the general sentiment is “how are you doing, okay?”, or if the team is doing well the greeting is usually “Things are going well!”.

One thing we agreed upon is that especially when your team is doing subpar, we as head coaches feel the need to “spin” the conversation. As the coach said “I feel like I am constantly spinning it to land on a positive truth.” I responded with, “It’s almost like we are politicians to a certain extent.”

It’s true that coaches are many things. Coaches, trainers, psychologists, custodians, van drivers, father figure/mother figure, academic counselor, nutritionist, etc. The most important thing that we may be though is an optimist.

Being a optimist is imperative for coaches concerning:

1. Your program’s vision

2. Your team’s progress (in the current season)

3. Your career path

4. Most importantly, your current (and former) student-athletes state of being

Not only do we have our emotions to juggle, but we have a responsibility of balancing the desires, hopes and dreams of our administration’s, coaching staff’s and student-athlete’s as well.

Therefore, the head coach feeling that they are “right there” was accurate in my opinion, because I saw her student-athletes respond to them in a positive manner, despite a record they all wish was better. The head coach had a true pulse of their program.

However, even if they weren’t “right there” and were not capable of competing each and every practice and game, the head coach still is right because they are being a optimist for their team — although they just may be inaccurate of the reality.

If a coach has to be more patient, then they have to be more patient. If a coach has to allow more freedom, then they have to allow freedom. If they have to pull in the reins, then they have to pull in the reins.

The point is that a head coach is whatever their team needs them to be. It is up to the head coach to figure out what exactly that is.

Spin it coach, spin it.

(FYI – You aren’t spinning…It’s real!)

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo






Holiday “Returns” for Coaches

‘Tis the season…to return all the clothes that don’t fit, the Blu-Rays that you already have or that one thing that you will never, ever use.

To keep with the spirit of the holidays, here are three things that coaches should return for the holidays:

  1. Poor free throw shooting: This is an easy one. It is the only shot in the game that the defense can’t play defense on your shooter and your end of game players can’t make it? Even if it is not an end of the game player, free throws missed in the 1st half matters just the same in the final outcome of the game. Come on! Get your players the gym, try new techniques and work on this skill so that opposing teams do not have a distinct advantage throughout the contest.
  2. Play players who know your system: How much does playing a player who does not know the sets/schemes hurt team chemistry, compromise your authority and build a culture of excuse making? Ask yourself, “Is it worth playing this player?”
  3. Exhibit enthusiasm: It can be a long season…especially if you are not winning your share of games. As a coach, it is your responsibility to energize your group and set the tone for the final stretch. You will be surprised by what some positive energy can bring to your bunch.

What I like about all of these “Returns” is that YOU can control all of them. They don’t require a budget, just a little bit of creativity and some mental toughness.

What would your three “returns” be?

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

PBL’s Jamestown Jackals Use Thankful Approach in Their First Season of Play

Jamestown Jackals owner Kayla Crosby, who leads one of the newest franchises in the Premier Basketball League (PBL), shared this Michael Hyatt article with me on Thanksgiving Day.

Hyatt’s article “Why Giving Thanks Gives You An Edge“, describes why being thankful is important and can help parents, leaders, athletes, businesspeople, etc. in their daily lives.

What stuck with me was Hyatt’s notion that, “positive emotions like gratitude help us become more resilient. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met anyone who wins at very much for very long without resiliency.”

Resiliency is a must in every level of athletics and in life. I think most would agree with this sentiment. However, using positive emotion as the primary means to becoming more resilient can be disputed I suppose.

Nevertheless, Crosby, the 20-something owner of the non-profit Jackals, has already adopted a unique positive approach to build resiliency in her organization.

Her #IntegrityFirst motto is “Stop Surviving, Start Thriving”. This slogan is meant to be a way of professional conduct and life for the fledgling Jackals.

It is refreshing to see a young entrepreneur adopt such a positive approach in the competitive world of professional sports.

At the professional level especially, wins and losses can be the difference between players and coaches losing their jobs, franchises remaining afloat, and leagues being profitable. Undoubtedly, the Jackals will have quite a task ahead of them as the need for positive energy will be tested throughout their first season.

However, this resiliency will manifest not due to creative slogans but because of Crosby, her coaching staff, her support staff, the players the Jackals sign and the Jamestown (NY) community. It will truly be about the people in the organization and the community and their ability to be grateful, positive and enthusiastic no matter what the situation may be.

Hyatt notes, “we feel better, perform better, and respond to life’s ups and downs better when we’re grateful.”

Now to find people who can actually do it on a daily basis.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

The Positive Dog – Book Notes

I recently read Jon Gordon’s “The Positive Dog: A Story About the Power of Positivity” and wanted to share my notes from his quick read.

Enjoy these book notes (The Positive Dog – Jon Gordon – Book Notes) and I encourage you to check out Jon Gordon’s website at www.jongordon.com and sign up for his free newsletter.

As always I appreciate your comments and would be interested to find others ways in which you practice the power of positive thinking.