Category Archives: Movies

3 Lessons Your Team Can Learn From The Movie Hoosiers

source

In Effective Use of Films For Goal Setting, I talked about the movie Hoosiers and how it can be used to challenge your team to blow past preconceived notions of how good they can be.  I haven’t used the movie as a rah-rah “let’s beat the dominant team” motivator, because I don’t want them to be that fired up about one team.  I talked about it in the post linked above…you should check it out.  It’s such a good movie that I’ve come up with more topics that you can use with your team during the season. Here are three ways that you can discuss Hoosiers if you decide to watch it with your team.

3 amazing lessons from Hoosiers

It takes teamwork to make the dream work
Ideally, your team is highly motivated and focused on what they want to accomplish personally as well as corporately.  It’s our jobs as their coach to push them along the way…reminding them that accomplishing goals and dreams shouldn’t be easy.  It will require hard work and perseverance.  Most times, the dreams that keep your team up at night will be bigger than their britches…accomplished only through the power of the group.  After all, is it really a dream if you can do it all by yourself?

You gotta play the game
To me, this is the major lesson of this movie.  You’ve got to lace up the shoes and give yourself a shot.  If you learn anything from Hoosiers, it’s got to be: the court is the same size, the hoop is the same height, and the rules are the same for both teams.  Sure, one team is favored over the other…but nothing matters until you play the game.  If your team can get to a place where they believe they have a chance to win (even when no one else shares that belief), then guess what?  They’ve got a chance to win!

Sometimes things work out just how you want them to
Every now and then, you’ll have a magical season.  Your seniors will step up, your freshmen will play over their heads…all culminating with winning the big game.  Sometimes it’s nice to let your team open up their brains to feeling good about the team and the season…to the possibility of everything working out.  It may not, but I think it’s more likely to happen if they’ve got a vision of what it’d look and feel like in their heads and hearts.

This is a great movie to get your team fired up about working hard.  Hoosiers is exciting, dramatic, and emotional…sounds a lot like the sports season, right?

Using The Movie Hoosiers As A Teaching Tool

source

In Effective Use of Films For Goal Setting, I talked about the movie Hoosiers and how it can be used to challenge your team to blow past preconceived notions of how good they can be.  I haven’t used the movie as a rah-rah “let’s beat the dominant team” motivator, because I don’t want them to be that fired up about one team.  I talked about it in the post linked above…you should check it out.  It’s such a good movie that I’ve come up with more topics that you can use with your team during the season. Here are three ways that you can discuss Hoosiers if you decide to watch it with your team.

3 amazing lessons from Hoosiers

It takes teamwork to make the dream work
Ideally, your team is highly motivated and focused on what they want to accomplish personally as well as corporately.  It’s our jobs as their coach to push them along the way…reminding them that accomplishing goals and dreams shouldn’t be easy.  It will require hard work and perseverance.  Most times, the dreams that keep your team up at night will be bigger than their britches…accomplished only through the power of the group.  After all, is it really a dream if you can do it all by yourself?

You gotta play the game
To me, this is the major lesson of this movie.  You’ve got to lace up the shoes and give yourself a shot.  If you learn anything from Hoosiers, it’s got to be: the court is the same size, the hoop is the same height, and the rules are the same for both teams.  Sure, one team is favored over the other…but nothing matters until you play the game.  If your team can get to a place where they believe they have a chance to win (even when no one else shares that belief), then guess what?  They’ve got a chance to win!

Sometimes things work out just how you want them to
Every now and then, you’ll have a magical season.  Your seniors will step up, your freshmen will play over their heads…all culminating with winning the big game.  Sometimes it’s nice to let your team open up their brains to feeling good about the team and the season…to the possibility of everything working out.  It may not, but I think it’s more likely to happen if they’ve got a vision of what it’d look and feel like in their heads and hearts.

This is a great movie to get your team fired up about working hard.  Hoosiers is exciting, dramatic, and emotional…sounds a lot like the sports season, right?

3 Ways The Effective Leader Builds Confidence Within Each Team Member

source

Remember the movie Inception from last summer?  I wrote a post about it back then wondering aloud what would happen if we could create confident athletes.  Check it out and then come back and read this post because it’s the next step.  The first step is agreeing that we should try to Jedi mind trick our athletes into having confidence in themselves…and this is the next step.  Here are three tangible ideas coaches can use in order to create self-assured athletes.

3 gifts the forward-thinking coach can give to instill confidence within their athletes

1. Give them words and actions for when they fail.
For our athletes to truly believe in themselves, failure can’t sway their confidence.  In my mind, there’s nothing more empowering than knowing why I did something wrong.  If I know why I did it wrong, that means I know how to do it right and I can correct it.  I remember on my first interview to be a college coach, the AD asked the typical “what are your strengths and weaknesses” question.  I’ll never forget what I said: I talk too much.  And it was true!  While there’s something to be said for explaining the ins and outs of your sport, we’ve also got to train our athletes to respond to key corrective phrases.  “Platform to target”, “eyes up”, “finish”: those are all power phrases to guide corrective behavior in game-like and stressful situations.

2.      Give them opportunities to be successful.
This means practice, practice, practice.  Obviously, opportunities for success are also opportunities for failure, but we’ve already talked about how to handle those situations.  Too many times, our athletes are results-focused rather than process-focused.  I’d rather my athletes perform an activity technically correct and fail than perform it poorly and “succeed”.  It all comes down to defining what success means to you.  Success means being technically correct, success is repeatable, and it’s understandable.  Success is perfecting the process and believing that the results will be positive.  Do you see how that’s a different mindset than just trying to get it done…no matter what?  Once our athletes understand this principle, their opportunities for success will skyrocket!

3.      Give them the knowledge that is in your head.
One of the things I say to my team a lot is that I’ve finished my playing career.  I had my chance to be a collegiate athlete and now it’s my turn to give them everything I’ve learned over the years.  If the players are willing to put in the time, I am too.  There are some coaches who feel their status as “coach” comes from knowing some secret technique that others don’t.  I disagree.  I think it comes from sharing what I know with my athletes!  My ideal athlete is autonomous and doesn’t need me…but I know that takes time.  Though I like to speak in power phrases with my team, that’s the end and not the beginning point.  I typically explain the physics of how things in our sport work and why doing the right thing consistently will consistently yield positive results. Hopefully after their time with me is finished, they are equipped with what they need to know to be a coach of their own team…or at least feel confident that they achieved their highest potential.

Now let’s all go out and give our athletes some Inception-style confidence!

How The Mighty Have Fallen (Or Pulling Off A Surprise Victory)

source

If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in Him.
There will be blood in the water,and the sharks will come.

–Ivan Vanko, Iron Man 2

This year, the Penn State volleyball team lost their first match in almost three years.  That’s 109 straight wins, thank you very much.  That is quite the streak and I’d imagine that their uniforms alone have won a lot of those matches for them…meaning that the intimidating force of their streak caused their opponents to falter rather than fight.  It’s from that vantage point that I’m writing this post while sitting on a bus coming back home from a road trip…and as you may have guessed from the quotation at the beginning, we’re watching Iron Man 2.  I heard the villain in the movie say those words and I thought about the impact of doing the unexpected…how to accomplish the upset and (on the flip side) how to bounce back from a significant loss.

Upset special: How to beat the team you’re not supposed to beat

Prepare: To pull off the big win, everyone needs to know what the streaking team wants to do in every situation.  Your players (and coaches) need to be able to look at the opponent’s personnel and know exactly what they will try to accomplish.  Preparation breeds confidence and I’d say you’re going to need confidence in copious amounts in order to pull this one off!

Believe: At the heart of the matter, your team needs to believe that the task can be accomplished.  The coaching staff needs to point out at least three tangible ways that your team can defeat the streaking team.   Every Goliath has its weakness and your team of Davids needs to be equipped with knowledge of where they should aim their slingshots.

Respond: The streaking team has crazy swagger because all they do is win, so your team has to be prepared for battle…the other team won’t just lie down.  What does your team need to do when the streaking team makes an amazing play?  Answer back.  Again and again, until the mission is accomplished.

It’s not the end of the world: How to rebound from a significant loss

Perspective: In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal.  Everyone’s healthy and whole right?  No one’s dead, all limbs are attached.  You lost a game…that’s all.  The fact is, for a sixty to ninety minute period of time, your team wasn’t as good as it needed to be and the beauty of sport is that they get another chance to compete and play better.

Believe: The coach needs to remind the team of their goals and remind them of what they’re trying to accomplish over the course of the season.  As long as everyone continues to believe in their goals and in each other…the team can rebound.

Respond: The next opponent had better watch out, because your team is fired up about kicking some tail!  It’s not just their skill level that’s high, but their energy and intensity had better be like you’ve never seen before.  Not only to prove it to yourselves that you can return to dominance, but because now every team believes that they can beat you…at least they think that they have a shot.  It’s your team’s job to snuff out any glimmers of hope that they see in the opponent.

No matter what side of the coin your team falls on…hopefully this helped to show you what they need to do in order to accomplish the big win or rebound from the surprise loss.

Using the movie Inception to build confidence in your athletes

source

I went to see this movie a week or so ago because I’d heard so much about it and none of it was negative.  Every single review and every single person I talked to loved it.  So I was all prepared for it to be a letdown when I saw it, but the movie certainly lived up to the hype.  The basic story line is that Leonardo DiCaprio leads a group of folks who can break into people’s minds while they’re dreaming and steal whatever secrets they’d usually keep protected.  That’s cool enough right there, huh?  Then they’re challenged to not steal an idea, but plant an idea…the key is that the person has to believe that the idea is their very own.  Now don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away here…that sentence is the premise the entire movie kicks off from and then you’re on a wild ride from there.

And as is usually the case, I got to thinking about coaching and how “inception” is what we do!  Have you ever had your team run a clinic or camp and hear them coaching?  Don’t they usually parrot off things that you’ve said to them over and over again?  Like the same phrases and everything?  I’m sure they’d credit you (or previous coaches) with a lot of what they say, but there’s probably some things that they take as a given…things they think they believe about their sport that come directly from you.  You know what I mean, things like the “right” way to shoot a basketball or hold a bat or set a volleyball.

Then I took that idea of inception a little bit further and thought about how to plant the idea of belief and confidence in an athlete.  I’m sure all of us coaches talk about those intangibles and we may even have our athletes read books about the mental game or go see the sports psychologist…but that’s just getting us close, not all the way there.  Remember for inception to truly take place, the athlete has to believe that the idea is their own.  Their confidence can’t come from us coaches (though I’m sure they appreciate our confidence in them) and it can’t come from their performance (because that’s bound to let them down at some point), but an inner belief in themselves.  I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’m sure willing to try!

As coaches, we spend so much time being intentional about the physical aspect of our sports.  Whether it’s practice planning or skill development, we’ve figured out what to put in to our teams to get the desired outcome.  What if we were just as focused on building the intangible side of things?  What if we worked that stuff right into the core of our practices so that eventually our teams thought the idea was their own, but really we’d created a group of confident ballers with high self-esteem?

I’m going to keep thinking about this idea, but I’d love to hear your thoughts…how can us coaches be as intentional about the stuff we can’t see as the stuff that we can?

How watching toy story 3 can teach the essentials of teamwork

source

So I went to see this movie the other day (what?  I’ve got a seven year old stepdaughter) and really liked it.  I’d heard so much good stuff about it, from kids and adults, that I figured it was a must see.  While I was watching it, I just thought of how applicable the plotline was for sports teams.  Now I certainly don’t want to spoil the movie for you, because as you can imagine, this movie was just full of unexpected plot twists and story lines (that’s sarcasm folks).  But I’d like to talk about a few of the overarching themes of the movie that you can highlight and use with your team.

Loyalty The movie hit this subject from a couple of angles.  The boy who owned the toys for years, Andy, is heading off to college and has to decide whether he’s gonna trash his toys or put them in storage.  All of the toys, but especially Woody (the cowboy in the picture above), are adamant about wanting to stay with Andy…to remain loyal.  Fast forward to later in the movie, Woody (who happens to be Andy’s favorite toy) chooses his toy friends over his own personal glory and happiness.  Lots of clips that can be shown to your team!

Cooperation To overcome their major challenge of the movie, Woody and his friends had to work together and trust that each would perform their jobs well and to the best of their ability.  They shared in adversity and put their heads together to figure out the solution.  There’s an about fifteen minute scene of how each of the toys had different jobs to do and while it’s very funny, it also highlights that every job on a team is important.  Mr. Potato Head didn’t think that his job was less important than Buzz’s, even though they were very different duties.  That’s a great lesson for teams!  Whether you’re a starter or reserve, or you’re the star hitter or an overlooked defensive player that never gets the glory…your role is vital and important to the team.

Friendship None of it would have worked without their friendship with each other.  Over and over again in the movie, they talk about staying together.  The movie is aimed at children, so subtlety isn’t on the menu.  Obviously this is something that they thought was important…we’re friends, we’ve been together all of this time and we’re going to stay together.  And isn’t that what we preach as coaches?  No matter what, we stay together as a team.  We support each other, we believe each other, and we make each other better.  This movie was like a sports season with its ups and downs, belief and doubt, and smiles and tears.

So I really enjoyed this movie and thought it had so many life applications for our profession.  As I was thinking through the themes of the movie, I started thinking that it sounded an awful lot like the Pyramid of Success.  So of course I went back to my book and it’s true!  Those three themes are part of the base of John Wooden’s idea of what made his teams successful…not bad for a movie about toys that come to life.

Hopefully you’ll check out this movie and when you do, come back and tell me about it.

Effective use of films for goal setting

source

I’ll be seriously shocked if I actually have to write this down, but that picture above is from the movie “Hoosiers”.  Really, if you’re a coach and you didn’t know that, then you have my permission to stop reading this post, put the movie in your Netflix queue and watch it right now!

I’ve watched parts of this movie with my teams before and the results are always good.  I haven’t used it as a “fire up to beat the big team”, because I worry that I’ll get them too riled up for one game.  But it’s great for an “us against the world” kind of thing.  And that mantra works whether your team isn’t very good and no one expects much from you or you’re expected to win it all.  The beauty in the movie is that it truly is a team that makes it happen.  Hickory’s new coach has a shady past, one of the player’s dad is a drunk, and their best player quits in the middle of the season.  Not exactly how you’d write up a successful season…but they are.  Together.

And that’s the lesson.  From the best to the least of them (remember when little Ollie had to get in and shoot free throws?  Movie magic, I tell ya!), they are vital to the team’s success.  I’m always shocked at how many of my players haven’t seen or even heard of this movie.  We don’t watch the whole thing, but usually just the last hour…that’s where all the good stuff happens.  Without fail, after they win a couple of games along the way to State, one of the players will nervously ask out loud, “I wonder what happens!  Are they gonna win?”  And they look at me and I give them the I don’t know shrug and encourage them to keep watching.  If you’re able to finish this movie and not feel like all is right with the world, then something is wrong with you.

It’s a good time to talk to your team about goals.  The sky’s the limit, right?  It’s all about blowing past preconceived notions of how good your team can be.  And make no mistake about it, they have a happiness ceiling in their head.  Like, they’d be happy if you were in the top half of conference…or if you won conference…or if you made it to your regionals.  They may not say so, but it’s in there.  What if that happiness ceiling were removed and they just played hard and worked hard in practice and rode the wave?  What if winning it all were a possibility?  It’s our jobs as coaches to challenge our teams and make sure that they end every season knowing that they did all they could do to be the best they could be.

Do you have any movies that you use to motivate your team?  What situations do you use it in?