I thought I would share this short video which talks about the career of Tom Brady, the multiple Super Bowl winning quarterback of the New England Patriots. Brady's story is pretty familiar to most people with even a passing interest in American Football. It is the true hollywood underdog story of a player that was never identified by scouts as being particularly 'talented' because of his lack of physical and technical prowess and as a result was drafted very late in the NFL draft programme and yet has become one of the greatest quarter backs of all time.
The piece illustrates nicely one of my central principles about the weakness of talent identification systems in that that they are very inefficient at making predictions of who might 'make it' at the top as they do not allow for accurate asessments of the true drivers of high performance which eminate from what I call the 'internal factors' of drive, dedication, determination.
The section that really stands out for me is when one of the contributors of the piece states that Tom Brady understands that the game is a struggle and he epitomises someone who loves the struggle. I think that this has to be a message that we get across to our players...if they can't learn to love the struggle and embrace the challenge of trying to continously improve then they should understand that they are not likely to reach their true potential.
As most of you know I spend a lot of time in the car (mostly schlepping up and down the M40 to Twickenham and back) and podcasts are my saviour. Not only are they a great way of passing the time but they are also an excellent way of me keeping up to speed with new research and also provide me with my own personal self development radio station.
I thought I would share a few of my latest favourites...
The 'Coach Your Best' podcast by Jeremy Boone has had some excellent guests on it in the last few episodes. The latest offering featuring Amanda Visek that looks into some research which categorises how children define fun within their sporting experience was particularly interesting http://www.athletebydesign.com/avisek1/
I really enjoy the 'Sports Coach Radio' podcast hosted by Glenn Whitney he has had a number of excellent guests but my favourite recently has been Dr Ross Tucker who has a fascinating discussion on the limits of human performance http://sportscoachradio.com/sports_science_ross_tucker_28oct14/
Ari Meisel is a productivity expert who runs a brilliant website called 'Less Doing - More Living' his podcast is pretty eclectic covering a range of subjects from productivity to health to fitness. This interview with Nina Teicholz exploring the misinformation that we have all been sold around dietary fat for the past 20 years is a real eye opener (her book is on my Christmas list) http://lessdoing.com/2014/11/10/podcast-99-with-nina-teicholz-of-the-big-fat-surprise/
That's enough for now but there will be more to come...
All the best
Some of you may have seen on Twitter recently that I was fortunate enough to be able to host a conference at the RFU where the keynote speaker was Professor Carol Dweck who was talking about her life's work which centres around the concept of developing a 'growth mindset'. For anyone that needs a quick recap, this article does a great job of summarising Professor Dweck's work http://www.fastcompany.com/3039181/why-determination-matters-more-than-smarts-in-getting-ahead
Something Professor Dweck said during her keynote presentation really struck a chord with me, she stated... "We should be having struggle conversations all the time..we would never get home from work and say 'honey, I have had the most fabulous struggle!'". It really made me think about how young people today are surrounded by people with fixed mindsets that are creating a culture that is 'failure averse'. It also made me reflect on how much work I do to create environments that are full of challenge and where failure is part of the daily language.
This has really prompted me to go further with my feedback where I have resolved to started talking about failure and struggle much more..."what was the best failure team?" "What did we learn from that?" Or "who wants to share the struggle they had today".
I have often said that I evaluate my sessions not by the smiling faces and 'great session' comments I get from the players but by the air of 'slight disgruntlement' that is in the air. Ideally I have got the the players to a place where they love the struggle and the challenge and so they still recognise the value of the session and have enjoyed it but I definitely don't like seeing players that are totally comfortable as I know that I haven't stretched them enough.
I like to use words like 'stretch', 'reach' and 'strive' liberally to surround the players with language which points towards the process of learning and really try hard to avoid giving outcome based praise like 'that was brilliant' or 'awesome skill' which feels nice short term but creates a world where the players are only interested in the outcome and avoid failing for fear of not being identified as successful.
I came across the video below on the blog of Simon Nainby (well worth a read) which I think is very apt within this discussion it gives an amazing insight into the corporate culture within the music streaming service, 'Spotify' where the word failure is in everyday use and the corporate culture reinforces this on a regular basis. I have to say that it looks like a fantastic place to work!
Spotify Engineering Culture - part 2 from Spotify Training & Development on Vimeo.
I think that this is a really great piece which really challenges the prevailing culture within most spors organisations and corporate entities. I certainly think that in the world of coaching we are too often reluctant to deliberately engineer failure and struggle for fear of the potential consequences of how we are perceived either by the players, parents or others.
I will be sharing some of my best failures in the coming months and hope you might do the same.