Weekend Links



To Outlast Duke’s Youthful Exuberance, UNC Needed Senior Moments


“I made a big time turnover that I needed to make up for, and I’m going to be honest, I was like, you’re making these two free throws,” Pinson said. “Like, you just almost blew the game for your team, so you have to make them.”

Spoken like a senior.

When Did Filling Out a March Madness Bracket Become Popular

Sacramento Hires Jenny Boucek As Assistant Coach

DePaul’s Doug Bruno


Homegrown Players


Groundbreaking Women’s Football Conference Highlights Buried Stories

Be Like Ronaldinho

Dash Told Press Will Not Join Club


How to Balance Your Media Diet

The Courage to be Yourself

Extreme Frugality Allowed Me to Retire at 32

Start Lifting Weights and Don’t Stop

f you can do just one thing, assuming you’re already eating reasonably well and sleeping okay, it’s lift weights. “Start lifting weights and don’t stop.” This is a habit that can set you up for a lifetime of avoiding the sort of injuries that lead to permanent decline (broken hip, back problems). There’s no need to spend 20 hours a week competing in grueling endurance competitions, just lift weights and do strength training a few days a week, consistently, no matter where you are – hotels, at home, etc.

The Future

Your Next Car Might Be A Subscription

Luke Romano’s Journey to the All Blacks

A Late Bloomer

I love it when we come across an example of a successful late bloomer in sports.

Few stories are as inspiring.

Along the way are different coaches and influences who play a significant role. Some who turn him away, some who inspire and some who push him. All matter.

Luke Romano of the All Blacks exemplifies the athlete who struggled early, but did not give up on his dream. It was not an easy journey.

He was a little guy and as a result was never selected for a contract to an academy as a youth. He got his first real shot at 23 and was woefully unprepared when it came.

But, now he is a ‘lock’ with the All Blacks and just played his 100th game for his professional team.

free play versus coach led training



How to be a successful late bloomer in sports

How did he do it?

What led him to succeed well past the point many would have quit or shifted their goals?

What can we learn to be late bloomers ourselves?

Believe in Yourself

When nobody else will believe in you you have to manage to keep that faith.

Even when the doubt creeps in –and it will– you have to keep moving yourself forward toward the dream.

“I just had that belief that I could get there. It didn’t matter, my age. I kept banging on the door, so to speak. The door got opened a little bit, I stuck my foot in, held it open. And with hard work and determination I managed to kick the thing down.”


Enjoy the Game

Loving the game and the people you play with can go a long way to staying the course.

At the time he was just enjoying playing some code with his mates. “That sort of attitude allows you to play your best footy; when you are having fun, it’s a pleasure to do,” Romano says.

A Coach who believes in you

Someone who believes you can get to the highest level can make a big difference. In sports it is often your coach.

For Romano specifically he impressed an opposing coach who gave him his shot.

His own coach kept encouraging him to battle for it.

Encouraged by HSOB coach Duncan Doig, Romano kept battling, and when Penney contacted him he was unaware he was about to take the first tentative steps to eventually earn a big wage as an All Black.

Each coach has a strong opinion of the way the game should be played. You might not fit that coach’s plan.

You just have to still be playing when the opportunity does present itself.


Late Bloomer Scott Romano

Luke Romano Hits 100 for Crusaders

Other rugby article

You Have to Earn the A

You have to earn the A.

The video is courtesy of UCTV Sports.

The tweet is @UCTVsports



Weekly Life and Links: Get Creative

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading this week.

Rest and Recovery Matter in Performance:

Learning from Alan Webb

“One of the lessons that I’ve learned in coaching elite runners is that when you are riding the razor’s edge of stress and recovery, when you have a phenomenal day, that isn’t a signal to push forward, it’s a signal to pull back.”

4 Recovery Tips for Maximal Performance

Speaking of Rest

You’re most creative when you are at your groggiest



Get out of your head

Games Approach to Coaching

People Don’t Know Themselves Very Well

Grit and Grace

So as a manager, what’s the best way to instill grit and grace in your team? My research shows that it’s about cultivating three specific emotions: gratitude, compassion, and pride.

More money

Check out the Sports Fitness Advisor Website

They have in-depth guides to many sports.  They also have information on  sporting equipment. There’s a lot there.

Get Creative

I bought this rooster in upstate NY and found this old screen in a dumpster. I put them together for a bit of yard art on one of my garden boxes.

What do you think?

Get Creative





You can contact me at info at the coaching conversation d0t com. Or leave a comment below.

Be a great coach

Speaking  of Being Creative:


Ron Adams: The Warriors Wise Assistant Coach

Ron AdamsGreat article in the New York Times about Ron Adams assistant coach for Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors.

The article describes so many great attributes (“professorial, bookish and hard charging”), but what is clear is just how complementary his strength and style are to the great Steve Kerr.

The culture of the Warriors shines through as well in the article.

What makes Adams special?

The Right Role:

Prior to joining Kerr he had been the assistant in Boston to another great young coach, Brad Stevens.

To this day, Stevens credits Adams, whom he calls “my editor,” with helping him establish the habits and expectations that have come to characterize the Celtics, now one of the best teams in the league. It looked like Boston would be his last stop.

He makes clear he is in the exact right role

“I try to be an artisan,” he adds. “There is a purity to teaching as an assistant — a virtue in being a craftsman and having a craft. It’s the nuts-and-bolts stuff that appeals to me, and the relationships.


He teaches all the time. About life off the court and the details that matter on the court.

At the same time, his reputation for teaching the game kept soaring. He grounded his players in the same minutiae he now preaches to the Warriors: angles, foot positions, how to spread their hands, how to be an instigator instead of lying in wait, how to be flexible enough as a unit to protect multiple positions.

Truth Teller

He’s the coach who can tell Kerr the truth. Hold feet to fire. Fend off complacency.

Kerr has discovered that Adams’s truth-telling doesn’t show itself in dramatic confrontation but in the steady grind of the day to day. Even during a winning streak, “Ron will tell me, ‘We stunk last night,’” Kerr says. “He will say it to my face. He does not get fooled by our record. He’ll walk into practice and tell me we have to do a certain defensive drill, we can’t forget the fundamentals, because we’ve been awful.’”


One thing I love about the culture of the Warriors — they are engaged in the greater conversation beyond the sport.  Adams fits right into that and is a strong proponent of that ethos.

What of Curry, Durant, Green and all the other Warriors who are growing more and more comfortable with speaking out? “All of that makes me much prouder than anything they have ever done on the court,” he says. “We have players speaking truth to power.

The quality of the Warriors’ culture shines through in this article.

Read the whole Ron Adams article. Well worth your time.

The Inner Game of Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr’s Coaching  Priorities

The Smart Take from the Strong


5 Keys to Manage Stress Like an Olympian

Have you ever thought about how to manage stress like an Olympian?

It would be a good skill to have throughout the work day? Or, during a highly competitive game.

manage stress like an olympian






The NY Times has a wonderful article up about biathlete Clare Egan and how she manages to balances the physical output and incredible calm required to succeed at her sport. It’s an incredibly demanding sport physically–you are racing others on skis–and demanding mentally–you have to stop and calmly shoot a target.

It’s hard!

It reminds  me of this time I was at a party right after the 2011 World Cup finals. One of the guests was incredulous that any soccer player would miss a penalty kick even in the World Cup Finals.

After all she made her penalty kicks all the time.

On the other hand, she probably doesn’t compete for 120 minutes against a great team and then have to calm herself down to execute the skill. In front of 60,000 live fans and millions watching on tv at home.

In the biggest event in her sport.

But still “how could you miss?”

The article does a great job of addressing the intensity of the moment and the incredible physical and mental skill required.

The incredible preparation.

The biathlete trains for this rigorous dichotomy all the time.

Here are Clare Egan’s 5 Keys to manage stress like an Olympian:
Be prepared

Egan checks out the course the day before any race so she understands it well.  In particular she looks for markers on the race that indicate it is time to  switch from racing to shooting.

I bet you do the same yourself  at times. Like before giving a big speech I always try to check out the room and the  lighting. I want to know what it will feel  like to speak so that I can get through jitters at the beginning quicker.

Work on your breathing

“Mindful breathing” can help transition from a high intensity experience to the more focused skill of shooting. It can also help all of us in a stressful moment when we need to be able  to respond.

In a New York Times article on the benefits of breathing author Belisa Vranich explains,

“Breathing is massively practical,” says Belisa Vranich, a psychologist and author of the book “Breathe,” to be published in December. “It’s meditation for people who can’t meditate.”

Be mindful

Like Ellen Langer the Harvard professor who specializes in mindfulness, Egan equates mindfulness with paying attention to what is going on around you.

Train yourself to notice things. Simply take note of changes or variables.

She then takes it a step further.

Use mindfulness to accept the distractions and then shut them out.

Mindfulness practices have taught her to accept the distractions.
“For shooting, you need to remove any kind of emotion from what you’re doing,” she says. “There’s my target, here’s my trigger, this is my process, now I’m going to make the shot.”
Focus on the task not the results

Process, process,process. This is what you can control, not the outcome.

She uses “cue words” that help  her focus on the process. Like “follow through” or “breathe.”

“You have to eliminate all of that noise in your mind,” Egan says. “I have to use some kind of process-oriented word about how to shoot well.”
“Even if you’ve only done mini-golf, you can understand the concept of following through,” she says.
Compete against yourself nobody else

I love this. Just compete to be your best.

You will always find  people better and worse than you if you get into the comparison game.

That can be motivating, but also demotivating at times.  It can distract you,and subtly turn your focus to the result, which in turn reduces focus on your process.

“I think such a big part of this is focusing on what you are doing. You have to let go of how everyone else is doing, and focus on your own work.”
“If you can do that,” she adds, “you’re going to have a performance you can be proud of, whether it’s giving a presentation at work or a piano recital or biathlon.”


Be a great coach

Related Adopting An Olympian’s Mindset from Positive Coaching Alliance

Quiet Power: Teams Need Followers Too


Teams need followers too in order to perform at the highest level. That’s the case Susan Cain is making in a recent NY Times article.

team need followers too






Cain makes a compelling case that schools and colleges emphasize leadership requirements for all applicants and students while ignoring the obvious–not everybody can be the leader.

Thinkers, doers, poets, scientists and artists also belong on our teams.

Yet a well-functioning student body — not to mention polity — also needs followers. It needs team players. And it needs those who go their own way.

It needs leaders who are called to service rather than to status.

Define Leadership

Part of the issue is how we define leadership.

Cain argues we need to expand the definition beyond the vocal leader and include those who lead by doing.

This change would also reduce the pressure on creative and curious students who do not lead in the traditional manners, but feel pressure to do so in order to be accepted into our most prestigious institutions.

Teams Need Followers Too

She evokes the beauty of a team where each member plays her role while she also extols the individual who goes off alone to forge a path.

Team players are also crucial. My sons are avid soccer players, so I spend a lot of time watching the “beautiful game.” The thing that makes it beautiful is not leadership, though an excellent coach is essential. Nor is it the swoosh of the ball in the goal, though winning is noisily celebrated. It is instead the intricate ballet of patterns and passes, of each player anticipating the other’s strengths and needs, each shining for the brief instant that he has the ball before passing it to a teammate or losing it to an opponent.

The Meaning of Leadership

She also makes a great point that we are reorganizing our selves around a “hollow” version of leadership.  People are trying to lead to stuff their resumes and applications and not for the right reasons. We are losing sight of a sense of purpose and a pursuit of excellence.

Perhaps the biggest disservice done by the outsize glorification of “leadership skills” is to the practice of leadership itself — it hollows it out, it empties it of meaning. It attracts those who are motivated by the spotlight rather than by the ideas and people they serve. It teaches students to be a leader for the sake of being in charge, rather than in the name of a cause or idea they care about deeply. The difference between the two states of mind is profound. The latter belongs to transformative leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi; the former to — well, we’ve all seen examples of this kind of leadership lately.

She has written two books as well.

Quiet and Quiet Power. I have read and recommend the first. Quiet Power is new and on my list.


“Not Leadership Material? Good the World Needs Followers”  (NY Times March 24)

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