Category Archives: Personality tests

Bad Mojo: When A Teammate Shuts Others Out


Over the course of a season, we have the opportunity to deal with lots of personnel issues.  Some of them are easy, some of them are quirky, and some of them are tough.  One of the tough ones, in my opinion, is when a player suddenly withdraws from the team.  I saw a great article called, Shutting Others Out, that talked about the reasons that this could happen.  Read on for three of the reasons that a player could isolate herself from you and her teammates.

3 reasons a player may isolate herself from her teammates

1.      They may want something. Some of our players will be passive aggressive by nature.  They’re afraid to come directly to us, so they stew.  In the personality assessment that I use, they’d be the S…resigned that no one wants to hear what they have to say anyway, so what’s the point?  Action item: Reach out to them.  They have things on their mind that are very important to them, but don’t know how to properly assert themselves.  And when you talk to them, reassure them that they don’t have to be nervous about talking to you about anything.

2.      They may have something to hide. If your players think they’ve let you or the team down, they may withdraw.  They’re probably embarrassed at doing whatever it is they did…and they’re surely afraid of the consequences that may follow.  This player is of the “why do today what I can put off until tomorrow” mindset.  They know they’ve screwed up, they know they’re going to get in trouble for it…so they’re going to let you find out any kind of way except from them!  Action item: Get behind the scenes.  Someone on your team knows what’s going on.  So talk to your captains or talk to her bestie on the team to find out what’s happening in her life.  That way you can approach her and come up with a plan of action so that she can be herself again.

3.      They may be hurting. Something happened to them.  Whether it’s a bad grade, a fight with a good friend, or a sick relative…they’re sad, but they really don’t want to talk about it.  These are your independent players who are used to doing everything themselves…and usually they do it pretty well.  They have a tough time admitting that they’re having a problem that they can’t solve…this player will say they’re “alright” if you ask them how they are doing.  Action item: Ask once and then step back.  Alert your captains, have them keep an eye on her and chat with her.  You’ll check in with your captains about how this player is doing, because they’ll just get annoyed if you keep asking them what’s wrong.

We’ve got to keep our eyes peeled for these things…and also know our players personality type so that we can correctly address the situation.

Fave Friday!: My Favorite Five From Coach Dawn Writes


Everywhere you look today, you’re going to see Top 10 lists for this or that.  But I know that you’ve got big plans for the evening and don’t have time to sit around reading about my favorite ten posts from Coach Dawn Writes.  So in the interest of letting you get ready for that exciting shindig you’ve been invited to, I’ve got my five favorite posts that you may have slept on this year.

5 Coach Dawn Writes posts that deserve more love!

1.       This post is like a mini manifesto and the basis of the entire blog.  It’s about becoming a coaching nerd, studying up on your craft, and just immersing yourself in getting better at what you do.  I know that there are lots of coaching nerds out there.  They look like volleyball coaches, soccer coaches, basketball coaches, field hockey coaches…you get the picture.  They love their sport, they love teaching their sport, they love learning about their sport and their craft.

2.       Being a coach of female athletes has been an amazingly wonderful experience.  I love creating a community of like-minded young ladies and motivating them to be successful.  Over the course of time, though, I’d heard a lot of chatter about girls not being competitive or about the need to treat women with kid gloves and I came up with this article.  It’s about how to properly motivate female athletes for success…for now and in their future.

3.       It’s fun to talk about leadership, because I believe it’s what we do.  We are leaders, we build leaders…sports is all about leadership.  So when I saw an opportunity to pair leadership with my favorite childhood cartoon, I jumped at the opportunity!  As a kid, there were many Saturday mornings spent with me plopped in front of the television, watching Voltron…this great cartoon about mechanical robots charged with protecting their nation.  Anyhoo, there’s a strong leadership and team roles connection to be made, so check out my post about Voltron and leadership here.

4.       We all have folks on our teams whose personalities don’t fit together all that nicely and we’re quietly watching to make sure things don’t blow up on us.  I believe a good team should have all types to be successful, but having those different personalities can be challenging for the person who has to manage them…that’s you coach!  But having your teams take a personality test can help everyone get to know their own strengths and weaknesses as well as understand why certain folks act the way they do.  I favor the DISC method and I wrote a bit about it here.

5.       I loved this when I saw the original!  I wrote about the five stages of a coach’s career after seeing the bullet points on another coaching blog.  I think they’re pretty accurate (at least thus far) and it’s fun to think through what stage that I think I’m at…even more fun to ask another coach where they think you are in the continuum.

Well, that should do for now folks.  Have fun tonight and have a wonderful beginning to what is sure to be a fabulous new year!

And here’s one more click that will make your life easier.  Click here and you can get Coach Dawn Writes articles emailed directly to your inbox!  This way, you can read it on your phone while you’re out and about.   It’s free and easy…and you won’t get spammed.  Scouts honor.

Coach As Puzzle Solver: The Joys And Challenges Of Figuring Out Your Team


I sometimes think folks think this coaching gig is a walk in the park.  Learn about your sport, tell the team what to do, and sit down and let the magic happen.  But as we all know, our teams are like one giant if/then clause: you know what I mean…if A, then B.  Like: if Susie had a good practice, then her Genetics exam went well.  Or, if Susie misses her serve, then she’ll shank the next pass.  There are literally millions of different scenarios that we have to rummage through in our mental files as we deal with our teams to try and extract the best from them.  And that’s the beauty of coaching!  So let’s look at four common problems that coaches love to mull over and find answers to:

4 puzzles that coaches love to solve

  • Recruits: Every coach knows that each potential student-athlete is different and walks into their office with a different set of things that they’re looking for in a school and program that “fits” them.  Figuring out who the significant adult is in their recruits life, what makes her tick, what she’s looking for in a school is the challenge that each coach faces.  And not just that, but how that recruit will fit in with the current makeup of their team and, of course, how she will contribute on the court are all concerns of the puzzle-loving coach.
  • Individuals: Just like every recruit is different, everyone on your team is different as well.  They’ve got different outside interests, different personality types, and different motivations for being on the team.  Some of your players need you to speak sternly to them…others will cry when spoken to with that same tone.  Some of them need to watch video before they understand what you’ve told them a million and twenty five times already.  Your seniors, who’ve seen your act for three years already, know you well (when you’re serious…and when you’re really serious) so your expectation level can be higher for them than others on the team.
  • Teams: Just like every recruit and individual is different…every team is different.  Some will have amazing leaders and you can sit back and chill, while others will have poor leadership that will keep you on your toes in terms of gauging the team temperature.  Some will be super close and friendly, while others will have to manufacture their “team time”.  No matter what, though, they’re all different…even if there’s only one new person added to the mix, because each player has grown up (or not) and has new challenges in their lives that have nothing to do with sport.  As each team member grows and changes, so will your team.
  • Seasons: I’m sure you’re sensing the theme here, so you know that I’m about to say that every season is different.  Some seasons will be a walk in the park, while others will challenge you to become a better coach for your team.  Some seasons will be magical, ending with a championship just like you’d hoped and planned…while others will crash and burn, leaving you scratching your head trying to figure out what happened.  Some seasons will fly by, while others will drag on and on with you counting down the days until it’s over.  The thing that all seasons have in common is the fact that they can teach us about: our recruiting plan (what worked and what you need in the future), how we deal with our teams individually (as you learn more and more about the members of your team), and how to deal with our teams as a whole (as they change and grow, the team will change and grow).

Can you think of anything that I forgot?  What puzzles have you had to solve as a coach?

Using personality tests to increase your team chemistry


As coaches, I think we all know that we’ve got different personality types on our team and I’m sure we’re all pretty conscious about how those personalities will interact.  When we bring recruits on to campus and we sit down and chat with them, we wonder about their “fit” with our teams…how their personalities will mesh with the current players.  Sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat and try to recruit like-minded players.  Other times, we want to shake things up a bit…whether it’s bringing more toughness or more fun…we know that the team needs a different makeup.

But do you think that your team recognizes that some folks are just made differently than them…with a whole different perspective on things?  I’ve used personality testing in the past with pretty good results, because the team gets to hear about themselves and also put the people that they know into categories.  The testing is pretty informative and can help them with their relationships outside of their team as well.

There are lots of personality tests out there: Myers-Briggs, colors, animals, and DiSC…and that’s the one that I use.  DiSC breaks the personalities down into four different categories.

D’s are dominant.  They’re what folks would call Type A personalities.  They like to get immediate results, make quick decisions and love to manage trouble and solve problems.  They’re decisive and competitive…natural born leaders.  That’s the good stuff.  The down side to D’s are that they are too self-reliant, the one’s who hate group projects in the classroom (can you see how that could negatively impact your team?!), and can be so blunt that they’re hurtful to others.

i’s are your people of influence.  They’re the one’s who everyone gravitates toward, the life of the party.  They’re your players who will pull the team aside in practice and fire them up if they feel that the effort isn’t where it should be.  They’re the folks who will immediately walk up to the newbies on your team and make them feel right at home.  i’s just need to remember that life isn’t all play and no work…that they’ve got to get down to business at some point.  And they try so hard to be everyone’s friend and not to hurt feelings that their teammates may not feel a true connection with them.

S’s are Steady Eddie’s.  They’re quiet, but very loyal and love the teaminess of teams…the one’s who stay on your team even though they know that they’ll never get any playing time.  They are skilled at calming an explosive situation and calming the scene down while others are freaking out.  S’s need to learn to assert themselves in group situations so that their teammates don’t overlook their contributions.  Since they can be overthinkers, S’s should learn the difference between the time for thinking and the time for acting.

C’s are your conscientious workers.  They’ll drill all day long and never feel as if they’ve gotten it down…they’re perfectionists.  C’s are good in the film room because they’re so analytical.  Come game time, they’ll know the opponents tendencies without a doubt.  Their downside is that they ask so many questions that they may drive their coach to drink!  And they have such high standards for themselves and their teammates that they may be destined to fail.

As you were reading this, I’m sure you were thinking of your team and where they fit.  Obviously, having a strong mix of folks is pretty key…but most important is that your team understands to positives and negatives of their personality and how they can be perceived by others.  Also, it’s pretty huge for us coaches to know the rough mixes.  Your D’s are going to think your i’s are screwing around too much and that your S’s need to toughen up.  Your i’s will constantly get their team in trouble for getting practice off-track with their incessant yapping.  Your S’s will either toughen up or continually get their feelings hurt by the too-blunt D’s and the hard-to-read C’s.  Speaking of C’s, should you deign to change the lineup or change a play without significant notice, get ready for their world to be spun off kilter and they’ll be pretty useless to you for a few plays.

Do you use personality tests with your team?  How do they respond?  At what point in the season do you administer your test?

Click here to learn how knowing your personality type will help you manage your team.