Boys to Men

Boys To Men

respect fa imageIn the changing rooms on Thursday I said I would post something on my blog regarding my role as coach-teacher on the subject of learning how to be a man. There are some notes taken from Joe Ehrmann’s book ‘InsideOut Coaching’.

Here is one of my roles as coach-teacher:

  • Model and teach respect toward the opposite sex and the value of self-respect and respectful relationships

halloween 2012Self Respect And Respectful Relationships

I would like to make people aware of the frightening statistics regarding relationships. These are from Liz Claiborne, Inc’s ‘Love is not abuse program:

1. 50% of teenagers in a serious relationship have compromised personal beliefs to please a partner

2. 45% of teen girls know someone who has been pressured or forced into having intercourse or oral sex

3. 33% of teens experience some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships including verbal and emotional abuse

4. 27% of teenagers have been in a dating relationship in which a partner has engaged in name calling and disrespect

5. 20% of teenagers report having been hit, slapped or pushed by a partner

6. 20% of teenage girls are physically or sexually hurt by a dating partner

Add in the growing epidemic of dating abuse via technology, sexting and social media and the statistics are even more frightening.


Through the football we play at Collingham Football Club we need to learn to respect ourselves and others. That includes our teammates and our opposiCRFCtion.


Sport can be a powerful way in which to learn respect. This can have a direct impact on our relationships.


I will leave you with this quote from Joe Ehrmann:

“A team is defined by the quality of its relationships and the commitment to its cause. Every team has a common purpose, performance goals and objectives. In addition, every team has a mutually accountable work ethic and is built on the trust, respect and integrity of every team member” 


My Top 10 Tips To Improve Your Sport Performance

My Top 10 Tips To Improve Your Sport Performance

I have put a spin on the title of each tip to keep you interested. This is not your average top 10. You might expect eat cabbage as it is the best food or do 5 metre sprints as this has shown to produce the most improvement in speed. NO. This is not what this post is about.

Here are my top 10 tips below. They are in no particular order.

1. A-Tish-U regularly

This has got nothing to do with sneezing or getting a cold. Caught you out with that one eh! Do tissue work regularly. Do Self Myofascial Release using a foam roller, golf ball, med ball, tennis ball, pvc pipe, rumble roller. It is hard to give a recommendation as to how often. Doing this every day would be a good start. Use a good deep tissue therapist on a regular basis.

2. Don’t be a sheep 

I like to see leaders on the field, in practice and when you are socialising. Speak up if you have a point, don’t be afraid. Everyone can lead and don’t do what someone else does just because they were doing it. Ask ‘Why?’. This does not mean to ignore another leader. Don’t be awkward by doing the opposite. There is a right and wrong time to question someone’s leadership. Speak to someone in a position of authority first.

3. Be a sponge

Listen to your Manager, coaches, physiotherapists, experienced professionals. Absorb and take it on-board. Applying yourself will help you get further in your career.


Keep It Simple Stupid. How many times have we heard and/or used this acronym. How true it is. The good players do the simple things well.

5. Read

In my profession not many people actually read. This might sound daft. They can read but don’t bother. Read whatever interests you.

6. Practice Purposefully

Practice regularly, practice consistently, it should be hard work, it might not always be fun and it can be easily repeated.

7. Feedback

Having a mentor or having somebody with experience to provide you with feedback about your performance, practices and efforts will help guide you to improvement. This can be tough and your mindset is crucial

8. Mistakes

Make mistakes. We should try and learn from our mistakes. You may make the same mistake twice, three times. The point is to eradicate the mistake piece by piece.

9. Mindset

Develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset will help you achieve a greater outlook, inspire others, help in your personal relationships and help to bring up your children.

10. Moderation 

If you do too much of one thing it can become a bad thing. This may decrease your performance and maybe increase your risk of injury. My advice is all things in moderation: Strength & Conditioning, practice, rest & recover, meditate, have fun, drink, eat bad things. Whatever you do, do in moderation.

The Answers

My top 10 tips are based on my experiences. They are definitely not all of them.

Let me know what your top tips might be.

Lucky or Unlucky – Which One Are You?


Luck is something we either get or receive. Being unlucky is something that happens or doesn’t happen. In a sports setting who tends to get lucky and who gets unlucky?

Gary Player, famous golfer, once said “The harder I try the luckier I get”. This is a statement jesting the concept that luck has either got nothing to do with it or luck can be influenced.


Manchester United Football Club are lucky?

When we watch a football match do we often see a team get “lucky” with a goal to win or draw a match when perhaps to the football fan they didn’t deserve it. For those that follow the English Premier Football League know that Manchester United have dominated the premiership over the past 20 years. How many times have they won a match when not performing that well. Who can be that lucky for that long?

Its the deep, deliberate or purposeful practice concept that springs to my mind. Gary player agrees. Here is another example. When Eric Cantona made his debut for Manchester United in 1992 he brought a different concept to training. He continued to practise after the others went. This philosophy had an effect on the other players at the club. They stayed and purposefully practised. Let’s get this straight, Eric Cantona was not the catalyst for Manchester United’s success. It is Sir Alex Ferguson’s. The point I am making is the correlation of purposeful practise and luck. There is another point to my post. Feedback.

Collingham Football Club

When coaching and playing for Collingham Reserves Football Club, I have been trying to make a point of not saying unlucky when a player misses the target. This phrase is used a lot. Look at the situation this way. A player shoots and puts the ball over the bar. Someone says unlucky. Is that a question of luck when giving feedback. It doesn’t matter whether coaching children, adolescents or adults the message we convey by saying unlucky is that shooting is a question of luck. Is that how we should advocate success?

LogoAgree with me or not but I believe it is down to a growth mindset and quality coaching not luck. Feedback might be “Well done for getting into that position. However, you must hit the target”. This player will strive to hit the target. The next time he hits the target and the keeper has to make a save. The ball could go anywhere afterwards. A deflection, a ricochet or out for a corner. The feedback initially might be “Great effort. Let’s work on making the Goal keeper work hard to make a save by perhaps shooting towards the far post”. This will give the player confidence and the understanding that hard work and effort will lead to success.

The Answers

Some might think this topic or my point is just semantics. I feel it is not a question of being lucky or unlucky. The message here is practice purposefully and develop a growth mindset by providing the right feedback.

How A Growth Mindset Can Develop Your Athletic Potential


What we say is extremely important in creating a positive mindset. The feedback we give as parents and coaches can influence a positive reaction. Even if we fail at something e.g. lose a football match, a positive mindset can make you feel like this loss was a learning experience.

The Two Mindsets

According to Carol Dweck, Psychologist at Stanford University and author of ‘Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential’, she states that there are two types of mindset. A fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

A fixed mindset might be described as:

“Your qualities are carved in stone. You create an urgency to prove yourself over and over. You have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character” Carol Dweck (2006).

A growth mindset might be described as:

“The Intelligence, personality and character you have is just the starting point for development. The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts”.

A practical example and the effects on both mindsets

Here is an example where the two mindsets differ. Imagine you are a football player who has just played the away first leg of a quarter final football match that meant a lot to you. You lose the match 2-0 and you personally missed 2 or 3 good scoring opportunities. On the way back to your car you find that you have a parking ticket. Being really frustrated you call your best friend to share your experience but are sort of brushed off.

What would you think? What would you feel? What would you do?

Those with the fixed mindset might say: “I’d feel like a reject”, “I’m a total failure”, “I’m an idiot”, “I’m a loser”, “I’d feel worthless and dumb-everyone’s better than me”. In other words they’d see what happened as a direct measure of their competence and worth.

This is what they might think about their lives: “Somebody upstairs doesn’t like me”, “The world is out to get me”, “life is unfair and all efforts are useless” or “I’m the most unlucky person on earth”.

Are these just people with low self esteem? Or pessimists? No. When they aren’t coping with failure, they feel just as worthy and optimistic as people with the growth mindset.

So how do the fixed mindset cope? “I wouldn’t bother to put so much time and effort into doing well in anything”. “Pick a fight with somebody” or “break something”.

The original statement was intentionally written that was nothing catastrophic or irreversible. It was not a cup final match but the first leg of a quarter final cup match so there is chance to win the second leg. You were away and will have the home advantage next leg. It was a parking ticket not a car accident. They were sort of brushed off not rejected outright. From this statement the fixed mindset created the feeling of utter failure and paralysis.

When giving this information to someone with a growth mindset, here is what they might say: “I need to try harder and take my chances in front of goal, be more careful when parking my car and wonder if my friend had a bad day”.

How would they cope? They’d start thinking about practising harder or more specifically i.e. shooting and finishing ready for the 2nd leg. They would pay the parking ticket and find out if there was anything wrong with their best friend.

You don’t have to be one mindset or the other to be upset. Those with a growth mindset would not label themselves or throw their arms in the air. Even though they were distressed they were ready to take the risks, confront the challenge and keep working at them.

The Answers

Scientists are learning that people have more capacity for lifelong learning and brain development than they ever thought. Each person has a unique genetic endowment. People may start with different temperaments and different aptitudes, it is clear that experience, training and personal effort take them the rest of the way. Everyone can develop a growth mindset through application and experience.

Robert Sternberg, the present day expert on intelligence, writes that the major factor in whether people achieve expertise “is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement”. 

I have been employing a growth mindset with a men’s football team I coach and play for. They do not know I have done this. I have praised effort and encouraged to meet a challenge. This football team is progressing. We started out as a new team at the start of the season falling to bottom of the league. We are now mid table and have recently beaten 3rd and top of the league.

This mindset works with children, personal relationships, in business, and of course on yourself. My advice to you is to read this book and apply a growth mindset as this will develop you and your athletic potential.

*** Update on the football team ***

At the end of the 2012/2013 season the football team finished 4th in the league, made it to the cup final and we had the best run of form throughout all teams in all divisions.