In Episode 59, our first off-season talk between Seasons 4 & 5, Phil and Paul talk about how we as coaches (and parents) can cultivate environments where our players can flourish, in an effort to counter the toxic cultures in youth soccer that...
In Episode 59, our first off-season talk between Seasons 4 & 5, Phil and Paul talk about how we as coaches (and parents) can cultivate environments where our players can flourish, in an effort to counter the toxic cultures in youth soccer that wreck our children. We are hoping to be part of a movement that encourages a lifelong love for the game, leadership development, and human flourishing, rather than stress, burnout, and mental unhealth.
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Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. We are again, we're in another off season. And so Paul and I enjoyed, and we we've heard some good feedback from, from you folks out there that you enjoyed our last off season talk. So we thought we'd do another couple off season talks and maybe bring it into the, new year as well.
But we're definitely going to do a couple off-season talks to round out 2021. I'm Phil Darke. You're a host and heat with me is my co-host and brother and arms. And now he's just like in his off season, first off season for a very long time where it's really an off season. So how are you doing Paul?
[00:00:42] Paul: Doing well? It is a very different off season for sure. It's normally a downtime. The normal fall season ramping up into recruiting, but now obviously not doing that. So yeah, it truly is a, an off season and trying to focus in on, on what's coming next, but it's been some great time with the family the last couple of [00:01:00] weeks.
[00:01:00] Phil: Yeah. And, and for those of you who don't know what the heck we're talking about, cause you just saw this title of off season talk wreck soccer and you're like, oh cool. Paul, if you go back to last week's episode I was able to do an exclusive, I'm going to remind you again, it was an exclusive interview, maybe the only exclusive interview we ever do on how soccer explains leadership.
with Paul. And if you, if you've interviewed with somebody else, Paul don't tell me because then I'm telling the truth and this was exclusive. Okay. Okay. Okay, good. But he talked about his stepping down from his head coaching position at Baylor over, I mean, almost, almost two decades.
It was really 14 years, but that's okay. I'm saying almost two decades, right? So, but just great, great career and just make it a step. And I'll let you listen to that, to get all that info about why and what's going on and all that stuff. Cause Paul was really raw and vulnerable in that because that's what we do here.
And that's what we're going to do today. Talking about this idea of "Wreck Soccer." I'm going to pass it back to you, Paul, [00:02:00] to kind of introduce the topic and then we'll, we'll going to go for about 15 minutes or so today. So you guys can, we could talk for hours as we could with pretty much anything, but at least I could, I mean, you'd probably go for a half hour and then I just keep talking and you go to sleep and stuff and we just keep talking, but whatever.
Why don't you just kinda introduce the topic and then we'll, we'll go.
[00:02:19] Paul: Yeah, just kind of came to mind from, from one of our previous episodes that, that you did an interview, you did, Phil, and, you know, your guests talked about, getting to be an adult and working in his career now and didn't play soccer for, for much of his life, but did very early on in life.
And the comment he made to you kinda stuck with me. And he said, you know, I wasn't wrecked by my coaches and that really hit me. I went, I actually went back and rewound it to make sure I heard him correctly. But it makes a lot of sense. No. He was able to do things later in life because his coaches didn't wreck him with soccer.
He still liked the game. Didn't have a bad taste in his mouth from the game. And as I thought about that, I think at every level, there's a point where as coaches, we have an [00:03:00] opportunity to not wreck somebody's experience through soccer. So I think the topic or the title of this is rec soccer. It's not just about rec or select or college or pro at any level coaches.
We have to be careful. Not to wreck someone's experience with soccer, because it's such a, an amazing sport and let some great things to be learned from it. I just wanted to kind of, riff with you a little bit today on not really going through the negative side of what are things that can, wreck a kid's experience or a person's experience with the game, although I'm sure we'll touch on some of it because you've got to compare and contrast, but I want to talk about the things that are the positive things that keep kids from being wrecked. some obvious, low hanging fruit for me would be, just that positive coach, you know, the one that's looking to encourage, and of course, things are going to vary from, levels. Well, let's start with a young kids, you know, let's do it by a young. They're just getting introduced to the game with my kids, you know, I'll, I'll say this with me and Marci, we've been able to coach at every level, we've [00:04:00] coached youth.
We've coached collegiately. Our kids are playing recreational soccer. They've been coached by us. They've been coached by others. So we've seen a lot of different things, whether it's on our sidelines or the sidelines of others. And I feel like that the kids that are coming through that are having the best experiences, have the coaches that are building more than just a soccer relationship.
Right. It's a personal relationship. That is one of encouragement but also training and learning. to contrast that you've got the, the yellers and screamers that are negatively pushing kids kind of the wrong way. Maybe that's what's wrecking kids and the dropout rates hitting around that 13, 14 year olds.
So. Yeah. What kind of, what are your thoughts on that? What have you seen in your experience? You know, Phil, you've got a bunch of kids too, and you've been at every scene every level. And even you've got kids on the other end that your own kids are on the other end of it now. But what are some of the positive things that you see that have kept your kids from being wrecked?
Because your kids, you know, you've got a daughter who's been all the way through, played a bit in college. Has that college experience, what kept her. Or the, the great things about the [00:05:00]coaches that kept her competing all the way into the college ranks
[00:05:03] Phil: It's interesting you phrase the question that way, because I was going to start by saying, my oldest who went to college to play was wrecked.
I vividly I can close my eyes and picture her on the ground in a fetal position, not wanting to go to practice literally. and I don't say literally to mean figuratively, literally in the fetal position on the floor. because again, I talk a lot about personality styles. her personality style is not one that loves to be yelled at.
And she doesn't get motivated by being yelled at and being demeaned and being like put in this cauldron of you have to be in this cutthroat competition to thrive, you know, and that's why I do law school interviews. And it's not just soccer, right? There are law schools that are cutthroat and they actually weed people out on purpose.
You accept a ton and weed people out. And when I do my interviews for Vanderbilt, which is not that it's a very collegial [00:06:00] environment. I tell the people I say, look, if you're the type of person that thrives on cutthroat competition, this isn't the place for you. And if it's not, if, if, if you are like me, where you need a collegial environment, you're going to be competitive with yourself and you're going to demand excellence with yourself.
Then this is a place that you can thrive. So that's something that I say that, and I use that example because there are some players who totally thrived in that situation that Malia left her on the fetal position on the floor. Right? When we talk about wreck soccer, there are coaches who only stay in one area, one personality style, their's they don't understand. Right. And that old adage, most of the people, I think, who are wrecked by soccer coaches or whatever are the very people focused people, particularly the ones who are more sensitive, but [00:07:00] also the ones who need fun and whatever. But the reason being is in, and also the C personality styles, which are.
Focused on task and reserved. They're very hard on themselves too, but the people who are hard on themselves, then the coaches basically pile on to them. And so all of their insecurities, all their fears, all their, negative self-talk is reinforced by these coaches. And they're wrecked. So on the flip side of that, What can we do?
It's why I focus so much of DISC in, in the context of talking to coaches and coaching coaches, if they don't understand themselves and how they're perceived by others. And they don't seek to understand the other, the other, being the people that aren't like them, they're going to wreck people. And I think it's more and more and more important at every level for the little kids.
It's why we talk about just make it fun. Because little kids err, on the side of, Hey, let's just have fun cause you have [00:08:00] no idea who's going to enjoy the game and who's going to be good. So just have a fun time, right? The ones who are super competitive, they're going to get the ball and score 25 goals.
Right. The other ones, Hey, if they're ever going to have chance to succeed in that game, you better, you better make it fun. So that's kind of my, I don't want to talk the whole time and I know we only have 15 minutes, so that's something I've talked a lot about over the episodes, but that, for me, if there's one thing that you say, what's the one.
It's understanding self and understand the other so that you can make sure that you are coming in and engaging these players as they need to be engaged and not how you think you need to be engaged because they'll engage the same. Right, right.
[00:08:46] Paul: Well, I think that's yeah. Yeah. I think that's important. And I think we've talked a lot about that through a bunch of different episodes with different people.
And I think maybe the assumption can be well at a high level, You've got these kids taking these assessments and DISC assessments [00:09:00] or all of these different things to find out the best way to communicate with them, but it really does filter down to the younger kids. I won't say more importantly, it probably just as important to be able to engage with them.
And I think. When you're coaching young kids, part of the first thing you do on the first day of practice is you're trying to pinpoint kind of what you just said. Who's the kid who loves being out there just wants to score a ton of goals. And who's a little kid that's out there because his or her best buddies out there.
And they're just going to stand over on the sideline and chit-chat, and figuring that out, you know, in our Warrior Way program, we see that across every age group from two-year-olds up to the 13-year-olds, those different dynamics of the different levels of kids. Soccer skill, but what's their personality style?
And it's interesting even watching our coaches who were also training these, these young coaches and these environments too, of, pulling guys and girls aside and saying, Hey, you're not really connecting with this group very well. Maybe one or two kids. Why is it. And kind of hitting those hot buttons [00:10:00] of, Hey, Johnny wants to run away because you're on his case a little bit because he didn't dribble correctly.
Well, he just wants to follow his buddy around. He wants to get to the end of the line and score a goal, you know, let him do that. And then maybe we'll come back around and do something better as opposed to trying to force that square peg into the round hole and never getting the result that you want. How do you massage that by learning that kid's personality to eventually get that kid to be able to dribble properly or whatever the skill is you're teaching on the day.
So you're right, but. Back to your point too. We've talked about this as well. If you don't know yourself and you don't know your own personality style, you don't know how you're coming across to others. That's one thing that, I know we talk about disc a lot and that's your fault. We talk about this a lot, but since you came to Baylor and talked to us, I learned a lot more about it and was able to utilize some of.
I'm like, okay, how does my personality relate to this other player's personality? And what are the best ways to communicate through that? And I think the more you like you don't have to be a DISC expert to [00:11:00] analyze, an eight year old. But I think knowing yourself and what, where you kind of, how you communicate to different people is really important.
And not wrecking a kid's experience at whatever level they're at, because you can even get the kid who trends to be a really, really good play, right? The kid who wants to score the goals and trends to be the most athletic and most into it. And they get to a point where they're wrecked, because then the expectation is that they're always going to be the best player, maybe they get to a point where that becomes too much pressure on them at a certain point. You know, how does that coach take on that responsibility? Not to wreck the really good players from, from trending out of the game as well.
[00:11:38] Phil: Yeah. And I, and I think on that point, you need to know your kids too. So for parents listening right now, know your kid. And don't go to the ENL team or the MLS next team, just because you have the opportunity, make sure your kid is ready for it.
Make sure they have the maturity. Make sure that they're, if you go look at that coach and you see that, that coach who is the type that will ruin your kid [00:12:00] because you know your kid and you know that coach, I'm not saying don't put kids into uncomfortable situations, but make sure your kid is ready for it.
Otherwise that could ruin the game for them. for Aaron blue, who that one you referred to that said I was not wrecked. That is the, kind of the, inspiration for this episode he was on the spectrum. He was a kid who was staring at the sky, as he said. And he's like in the coach, just accept.
And you can ruin it for that super driven person too, by making it too much. Oh, let's just have fun. And we're in LA LA land and who cares? It doesn't matter about winning. We just don't care at all about winning, right? Like that may be okay when you're four. But if you're saying that when you're a high school team or a college team, you're not going to have any people who are driven for results.
Which is what's going to make a team push themselves to be better and to flourish, right? So I look at it and go coaches, [00:13:00] I'm going to venture to say, most coaches who are struggling with this episode are going, oh, it's too touchy, feely, and whatever your task-focused. Okay. And I will say two task focus, coaches, John Maxwell's old adage.
I think he stole it from somebody else. People don't care how much, you know, until they know how much you care. People over process. Those things are said to the task focused people and the task focus leader. Cause people focused people don't struggle with those things. But I will say if there's one.
Going back to knowing self, knowing others. This is absolutely related and part and parcel with the same thing. There's one thing it's to care about the people. Understand your people. Know your people. And I see the coach that thrives the most, which with my kids at least, and he's been the coach through all of them.
There's two of them, but they're, they're both S/C [00:14:00] personalities are both people focused, reserved. They are empathetic. They care deeply about these kids to the point where we were talking to one of the coaches about our kid. Who's the high I goof ball. He's struggling in school. He's super smart, but he's getting like Cs and Bs and in fifth grade and I'm like, dude, you're beat in high school and college kids in chess.
I know you're smart, right? It's not an intelligence thing. It's a he's bored. And he doesn't care. You saw a season like, oh, that's pretty good. I'm like, no, it's not, it's not right. He would never accept it a soccer, but the coach cares enough to say if he doesn't get his grades up, he sit in the bench and he didn't get his grades up.
And he said, all right, he needs to come this Saturday and sit in the bench in his street clothes 'cause he knows, he knows Justin, and he knows that that is going to bug him more than anything, because he cares about what his people, what people think about him. And he goes, can I just wear my uniform? Nope. Yeah.
Come your street clothes. Cause I know that's what's [00:15:00] going on. So that's knowing him well enough to know that. Cause some other kids they're like, oh, who cares? No big deal. I'll just come and sit my street clothes.
[00:15:05] Paul: and we get back to that, you know, the coach, this task focused or oriented. One way that can help those coaches is to have someone come alongside them.
That's not that, not that way, because I think that's okay. You know, there's plenty of successful coaches that that can, not, that they don't care for the kids, but sometimes the task where you're saying to the task gets in the way. Cause that's what their mind is thinking of. As the task is at hand, we've got to get to this.
We've got to get this done. We're going to get there no matter what, but if they've got. A team manager or another parent that maybe I've seen it in the rec leagues where you've got the parent who's convinced to volunteer. They're happy to do it. All of a sudden they're task focused. They need that other team manager or another person to come alongside them.
They kinda not pick up the pieces as they go through and making them sound like awful people. But somebody can kind of come in and, and recognize like, Hey, you know, things are okay or we need to pick up this or Hey, recognize that johnny's over there digging [00:16:00] on the ground and he's crying because it kind of steamrolled through him on that last, that last time thing.
So let's go back and pick up the pieces. So, which I know most coaches that are doing that, it's not that they don't care about the kids. They absolutely do. And when told and when put it into focus like, oh man, I can't believe I did that. You know, and I think we'd go back and, and pick up the pieces.
And I think that's important to have people alongside you. that they can. Kind of pick up those pieces a little bit. I think Marcy and I are a good team in that our personalities are totally. And we've been able to partner collegiately and with the youth that we're working with now and the coaches, anybody we interact with, it's a good balance of having two different types of personalities, but being able to kind of be a check and balance for each other, you know, you missed this or you miss that.
But I think a coaching partnership is great too. And again, we're not talking high level. This can be in the recreational leagues where you've got, you know, two parent coaches, they just can't be. Both, task focused because I think there are a lot of kids who would get missed in, in that, in [00:17:00] that scenario.
[00:17:01] Phil: Yeah. I agree. And I think both of them to on that same point, both of them shouldn't be people focused either, right. Because they'll miss the details and you'll miss the fundamentals. I mean, if I was doing it and I was coaching, I get bored doing the same, you know, the dribbling and they'd gone through the cones.
I'm like, okay, let's can we just do something fun? Let's just scrimmage. But they're four, they don't know how to do that. Right. So, yeah. So it's critical to have both. And that's the high school I coach at. I mean, you had that at Baylor, the coach that I coach with is all task and I'm people and tasks, but I'm, I err on people and it makes a great team.
We talk about it all the time. He loves the D he can run the same drill for the entire practice, and it doesn't bother him. And they will do it until we get it right. And then we see that coming to play in the, in the game. And then I bring the fun and I bring the leadership development and I bring the disc stuff and I bring the people side.
And if there's an issue, and then I see that he kind of said something that rubbed the kid the wrong way I can come behind it and be like, Hey, just so you know, like he does care. He cares deeply. [00:18:00]Cause I talk with him about it and, and he just sometimes doesn't know how to communicate it. And that's fine.
So absolutely. Teamwork on the coaching staff teamwork to help you understand people, teamwork, to help you understand yourself. That's what we're talking about here. Any closing thoughts, Paul?
[00:18:16] Paul: Yeah. I just think I would encourage, some coaches that are listening to this might be a little uncomfortable.
It hits, it hits to their core a little bit. That's great. You know, as coaches, we want to be challenged. There's there's ways that I've been challenged over my career. But the best thing to do is then reach out from a resource stand up. And figure out ways to, if you, if this is striking a chord with you and you don't know where to go from here, feel free to reach out to either one of us.
I know Phil, I'm speaking for you, but definitely feel free to reach out to me just to talk through resources. I don't have all the answers, but I think that, you know, Phil and I can be great resources for anybody. Who's like, man, I I've picked up. I kinda got thrown into thrown to the wolves with this recreational team or even a select team maybe.
Cause you you're the nice one who wanted to do it. And now you feel like, oh, what do I do? Hey, we'd love to be a resource for you to help [00:19:00] help you maneuver that. Cause you know, great coaches are needed for sure.
[00:19:04] Phil: Absolutely. And, if you're at a level yourself or you have the ability to do the DISC training with your teams.
I've done it with my daughter's 13 year old team. I've done it, obviously with college teams, with high school teams and with organizations all around the world. So I would love to talk with you about. Lot of some, you know, some of you're like I don't have the resources for that. I get that. We also have this Coaching the Bigger Game program that will incorporate all these things and a whole lot more on self-leadership and leading the individual, leading the team that we're going to be launching in early 20, 22.
So, and then Paul has the Warrior Way program as well, which is something that you know, we're here to help people and to help people flourish. That's what we want to do. And that's why we're doing this show. So with that, Thank you folks for being a part of this show. Thank you for engaging it. And I love doing what I get to do, and I know Paul does too, and I just hope that you're taking everything that you're learning from the show.
And and we [00:20:00] both hope this and you're using it to help you be a better leader, to be a better spouse, to be a better parent. And that you're always using it to help you remember the soccer does explain life and leadership. Thanks a lot. Have a great week.