Synopses & Reviews
Chapter One The Double-Goal Coach:
"Beyond the Win-at-All-Cost Mentality
Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.
-- Carol Williams
A fictional 11-year-old character in the film "Trouble Along the Way (1953)
From "When Pride Still Mattered by David Maranis
My 50th Birthday Party
When my wife, Sandra, turned 50, she decided to do something dramatic to commemorate the event. She decided she would climb Half Dome at Yosemite. A year or so later, I became 50 and wanted to do something less demanding, so we celebrated by having a party.
We invited people from all of our various lives: her job, my job, coaching, church, etc. Because so many people at the party wouldn't know one another, I created an "ice-breaker" exercise: a quiz with an interesting fact about each person. During the first hour of the party, everyone would try to find out which fact went with which person.
My mother, Marjorie, was visiting us from North Dakota. While I was putting together the quiz, she hovered behind me reading the clues. When I got to "This person danced with my mother in a strange place," she couldn't contain herself. "Who could that be?" she wondered. I offered that she'd just have to wait and see who showed up!
This was a particularly mystifying question to my mother because she hadn't gone dancing for a long time. My step-father, Orville, had died the previous year, and he had been ill for some time before that, so my mother's opportunities to dance were few and far between in recent years. And whoever this person was, she must have been wondering if he traveled from North Dakota to California for my 50th birthday party.
A few weeks earlier, my mother and Iattended a high school basketball game coached by my friend, Ron Rossi. Marj and Ron's wife, Amy, sat together and had a great time talking. One of their topics of conversation was how much they liked to dance and how little chance they got to do it.
After the game, the three of us waited to go out to dinner while Ron talked to his team in the locker room. The next thing I knew, Amy and Marj were doing the jitterbug on the basketball court.
But now, several weeks later, Marjorie had forgotten this. I was sure that she would remember as soon as Ron and Amy came to the door. Because my mother didn't know most of the people at the party, she lit up when Amy and Ron arrived. It didn't take Amy and Marj long to relive their dancing experience on the basketball court.
Halfway through the party, it was time to identify which person went with which clue, and my mother still hadn't filled in her sheet with the person who danced with her in a strange place. How could this be? How could she not know the answer when this person was literally sitting in front of her? (Take a moment to see if you can answer this question before reading any further.)
The answer is that my mother worked from what Peter Senge in "The Fifth Discipline calls a "mental model" in which women dance with men. Because of her mental model, she didn't even consider that Amy might be the person in question.
The Power of Mental Models
Mental models determine how we think and how we act. They even determine what we see. An inappropriate mental model could cause my mother to be unable to see what was staring her in the face.
As I started developing the ideas that became the foundation of Positive CoachingAlliance, I became convinced that training alone was not enough to transform the culture of youth sports. Just as my mother was blinded by her model of male female relationships, a mental model of coaching that considers winning on the scoreboard to be the only goal blinds many well-meaning individuals to the incredible opportunities to use sports to build character and teach life lessons to young athletes.
A Positive Coach might recognize that a tough defeat is a teachable moment in which a lesson can be taught that simply can't be communicated after a win. A coach who thinks only about winning, on the other hand, will often totally miss the teaching opportunity because the only thing that really matters is the scoreboard.
The greatest training in the world will fall on deaf ears if youth coaches are operating out of the wrong mental model. And for the most part, they have been, which brings us to the villain.
The opposite of Positive Coaching is not, as you might expect, negative coaching. Rather it is "win-at-all-cost" coaching, an unrelenting focus on winning without regard for the athletes or the game.
Competition and trying to win are not the villains in youth sports. The enemy, the source of negativity and virtually all problems in youth sports (and I realize this is a sweeping claim), is the win-at-all-cost mentality.
NASO also reports that 76 percent of the 60 high school athletic associations surveyed said that many officials are quitting because of increased spectator interference.
“This is really a book for all ages, whether youre a parent, teaher, counselor, manager, leader, or friend.” John W. Gardner, author of Self-Renewal and On Leadership
There is a nationwide epidemic of poor sportsmanship at all levels of youth sports, by the parents, the coaches, and the athletes. To counter this negativity, Jim Thompson, executive director and founder of the Positive Coaching Alliance has written The Double-Goal Coach, which provides parents and coaches with a new foundation for youth sports.
The Double-Goal Coach draws from current sport psychology and proven coaching techniques to give coaches and parents the practical tools for putting the fun back into youth sports. Thompson replaces the "win-at-all-costs" attitude with a culture that honors skill and the game, but also provides an enriching experience. Sports give children a chance to learn important life lessons about determination, commitment, hard work, teamwork, and empathy. In addition, research has shown that kids who stick with sports do better academically, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and feel better about themselves.
The Double-Goal Coach
is filled with powerful coaching tools based on Jim Thompson's Positive Coaching Alliance. These strategies reflect the "best-practices" of elite coaches and the latest research in sports psychology.Hundreds of workshops have shaped these tools for maximum effectiveness and ease of use. The lessons and activities can be used in the very next practice to make sports fun and to get the best from players.
The Double-Goal Coach provides the framework for coaches and parents to transform youth sports so sports can transform youth -- allowing young athletes to enjoy sports while learning valuable life lessons.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 311-318) and index.
About the Author
Jim Thompson is the founder of Positive Coaching Alliance, a national nonprofit organization based at the Stanford University Department of Athletics. He is the author of Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Sports and Shooting in the Dark: Tales of Coaching and Leadership. He teaches courses in leadership, coaching, and sports and spirituality at Stanford University.