Regardless of whether they’re working with athletes in a team setting or clients in a gym, the best coaches in the world know strategy is only half of the equation when it comes to helping teams, athletes, and clients perform their best and succeed.
The other half? Culture.
Stack good coaching strategies on top of an intentional effort and plan to create the right culture and you make the move from good to great. Ignore culture in the pursuit of more X + Os or more drills and you’re setting yourself up for a long walk on the road to mediocrity.
Today, I want to share a strategy you can use to build the right culture within your team.
To begin, I need to introduce you to MPM Certified Coach, Co-Author of The Mental Game of Lacrosse and Marquette University Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach, Joe Amplo. Coach Amplo led the Golden Eagles to the Big East Conference Championship in 2016 and 2017.
He was also an Assistant Coach for Team USA Lacrosse during their 2018 World Championship Gold Medal run. Amplo is one of the top coaches in the country when it comes to establishing and enhancing the right culture in his program.
During a recent visit to Marquette University, I had the privilege of sitting in one of his team meetings where he had each utilized an incredibly simple, powerful strategy for cultivating the right culture.
Coach Amplo had assigned each of his current players the “homework” of connecting with a past Marquette Lacrosse player. Each player stood up and reported back to the rest of the team on a conversation they had the previous week with an alumnus from the program.
This is a great strategy that any coach can use to help connect the past to the present, to engage alumni, and to help current players understand how participation in an athletic program can prepare them for success later in life.
Here’s what Coach Amplo said about this MPM strategy:
“It’s important for our current players to engage our alumni and it’s important for our alumni to also share their experiences with our current players. Our alumni are the best ambassadors of our program. For them to share a little of their Marquette Lacrosse experience and most importantly how that experience has prepared them for success after lacrosse is invaluable for the growth of our current players.” Amplo said. “It’s important that as coaches we are intentional about educating our current players on how what they are going through as an athlete will not only help them to win lacrosse games, it will also help prepare them to win in life.”
The idea here is to provide you with a simple strategy you can implement immediately with your team or organization.
As a coach in an athletic setting, you can simply “copy and paste”—meaning, how coach Amplo used this strategy is exactly how you can use it for your team.
If you are a trainer in the fitness industry or a strength and conditioning coach, you could utilize this strategy by connecting newer clients/athletes with past or more experienced people you’ve worked with. Think of how powerful it would be to have a client who is just starting out—dealing with doubt and struggling to get in the groove—connect with someone who has been where they are and can encourage them.
This would have a HUGE impact on the buy-in and confidence these new(er) clients and athletes will have in themselves and in your coaching! And that will go a long way in cultivating the kind of culture of support and connectedness that breeds long term success.
Take a few minutes to work out the details, and put a plan in place to try it out this week!
Further reading: If you’re interested in learning more about developing the right culture, check out this article I wrote on HOW TO BUILD A CHAMPIONSHIP CULTURE (PLUS THE TOP 3 MISTAKES EVEN SMART, HARD-WORKING COACHES MAKE).
YOUR NEXT MOVE: IF YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR COACHING TO THE NEXT LEVEL, YOU NEED TO MASTER THE MENTAL SIDE OF PERFORMANCE
Knowing the what, when, and how of coaching mental performance—and trying to fit all of the pieces together on your own—can be burdensome.
That’s why I created the Mental Performance Mastery (MPM) Certification. Inside the MPM Certification, I’ll teach everything you need to add this crucial skill set to your coaching toolbox.
You will learn how to help your athletes and clients overcome mental barriers that trip them up and build the habits, mindset, and behaviors they need to be at their best when it matters most.
Not only will you develop a deep knowledge of the ten most valuable mental skills needed for peak mental performance, but you’ll also have a proven method for consistently and predictably developing these skills in those you coach.
The MPM Certification will open to new students for a limited time this