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Mental skills

How NOT to communicate: The irony is in his name!




Relating class to my weekend at Big Tens

This past weekend I travelled to Penn State for the Big Ten track meet. While I was there, I couldn't help but make connections with our coaching class. Here are a few of the experiences that I had:
• I was in the elevator with a random woman and my teammate. She found out we were in track and she said, "Oh my son is in track. I really hope he can run in college." I wanted to ask, "Does he hope that?" I held my tongue and she proceeded to say, "He doesn't really like it, but I hope he can get a scholarship." I got out of the elevator and told my teammate, "that child has no hope!" I saw the probable lack of education that the mother had. I also saw the extrinsic motivation and the lack of self determination.
• Our coach really made an effort to make sure we were having fun on the trip. He had a magician come to one of our team lunches. Also, the captains had each of the event groups present a joke or a skit before the team meeting. I was reminded of the Inner edge triad that balances development, performance and experience. These activities reinforce the importance of the experience.
• Our coach always gives us a pump up speech before big tens with some sort of theme. This year he gave each of us a bottle of Powerade that said, "FunnyBone Electrolyte." He told us a story about how he overheard one of our teammate's conversations. One girl was having a bad attitude and the other was teasing her that she needed some "FunnyBone Electrolyte." He went on to say that when we are getting ready to compete and are feeling nervous or not having fun, we need to take a swig of this drink and remember that we just need to do what we know how to do, and to do it naturally while having fun. The idea is to help us relax and enjoy the process and to put positive thoughts into ourselves. This again made me think about the importance of emphasizing the experience and allowing the performance to come naturally. Also, his speech reminded me of the Jug and Mug myth. Although coaches cannot pour motivation into us, I think all of my teammates enjoyed his speech. We did not rely on it to receive motivation, but it was a great reminder of why we are competing and provided a great visual to constantly remind us of the mentality we need to approach the competition with. In this instance, the coach can facilitate constructive thinking, but ultimately, the athletes have to take responsibility and respond.

Reflection on Transformative leadership

A transformative coach is a "coach that alters people's frames of reference or ways of thinking so as to produce profound shifts in their perceptions and ways of being, living, and responding" (Vealey, 2005). After viewing the multiple websites on coach education and recognizing depth of information a coach needs to be aware of, and learning about the variety of "hats" a coach must wear in order to be a transformative leader, I was overwhelmed and felt insufficient. A transformative coach uses GAP thinking: "where they can Risk more than others think is safe, care more than others think is wise, dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible" (Vealey, 2005). I questioned how a coach can do this without fearing failure, and my answer came from Vealey. She states that "skilled leaders water themselves daily," a reference to Marlene Dietrich's quote about Orson Welles which said, "When I have seen him and talked with him, I feel like a plant that has been watered" (Vealey, p. 75, 2005). After reading this quote and reflecting on it, I was reminded that everything comes back to a coach having confidence in his or her own identity and personal philosophy. Additionally, I was excited by the idea that a transformative coaching philosophy points to a mastery motivational climate.
If you are going to take a risk, you must know that if you fail, your identity will not be ruined. I believe that this comes from deciding that your purpose is beyond how you perform as a coach. Anderson and Aberman state that you need to define yourself as a person before you can define yourself as a coach (Anderson et. al, 2006). The handout from LGE Performance Systems called Identify Purpose (Ultimate Mission) asks questions such as, "How do you want to be remembered? What makes your life really worth living?, etc." This worksheet reminds me that people want to live a fulfilling life and winning a game at the cost of hindering an athletes well being is not what anyone wants to be remembered for. It also reminds me, and hopefully others, that I need to decide what my real motivation and reason for coaching is. If one can remember the true motivation for coaching, they will recognize that if they take a risk that could fail, it is ok and the only way to reach new levels that others never even thought possible. I am incredibly encouraged by the idea that a transformative coach needs to begin somewhere, and that they begin by knowing themselves and taking care of themselves. I feel a little at ease knowing that to be the best coach possible, I must take care of myself and know my purpose in life so that I can have confidence in my coaching philosophy and be willing to take risks and live with GAP thinking.
I was also amazed that transformative coaching points to a mastery motivational climate. LaVoi, Shields, and Prettyman all point to evidence that such a climate leads to all three aspects of Vealey's Inner Edge model: development, experience, and performance. It is incredibly encouraging that focusing on development will in turn influence an athlete's experience, which will increase intrinsic motivation and ultimately influence optimal performance. A focus on using sport as a mode for developing character by encouraging perspective taking, using a democratic approach, etc can lead to a mastery motivational climate and therefore will again contribute to an "inner edge" (Wiese-Bjornstal et. al, 2008).
Although it looks incredibly challenging to be a transformative coach, if a coach can remain focused on foundational ideas including who they are as a person and what their philosophy is, they will be able to coach with GAP thinking and will ultimately become a transformative leader and will experience success; Success, as John Wooden says, is "peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

Elizabeth Yetzer

Works Cited
Anderson & Aberman (A & A) (2006). Why Good Coaches Quit.
Prettyman (2006) If you beat him,you own him, he's your bitch. Coaches, Language &
Shields & Bredemeier (2006). Sports and Character Development.
Wiese‐Bjornstal, LaVoi, & Omli (2009). Moral Development In and Through Sport.



I'm not posting a blog for Motivation today, just testing to make sure I have this figured out. I think I do.

First Class!


Hi Class,
I think we're off to a great start and I'm very energized by the breadth of experience you bring to the class. I look forward to class #2 next week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Dr. LaVoi

Welcome to the KIN 5136 class blog

Hi Class,
I hope you will enjoy this format for demonstrating your learning and engaging each other is discussion. You can post links here to stories you see in the news, blogs, or other materials related to class. For example check out my blog entry on sport parents paying young athletes to score goals.

The more you use this, the better it will be.
Dr. LaVoi