July 22, 2021

Offseason Talks, Volume 7 – Commitment to Communication

Offseason Talks, Volume 7 – Commitment to Communication

In Episode 39, we continue our Offseason Talks series with our co-host, Paul Jobson, talking about why a commitment to communication is a critical component of any healthy team.   Resources and Links from this Episode Phil and HSEL on...

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In Episode 39, we continue our Offseason Talks series with our co-host, Paul Jobson, talking about why a commitment to communication is a critical component of any healthy team.  

Resources and Links from this Episode


Paul:[00:00:00] Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. We are mixing things up a bit. I'm your host today Paul Jobson. You're used to listening to Phil Darke host these shows and he's done an amazing, amazing job. And he has turned over the mic to me for today. So hopefully I can bring you some amazing content today.

Something that you can enjoy and something that you can benefit from. I know personally, I enjoy being on the other side of this listening because Phil does such an amazing job with some amazing interviews that he's done over the past couple of seasons. Right now, what we're, what we're doing is between season three and season four we are taking a little bit of a break and we are doing what we're calling our off season talks, where we're kind of getting away from the interviews that we normally do just for this time.

We're going to get back to that when we get to season four. And I know that Phil already has some amazing things lined up that you're really, really going to enjoy. And if you've missed any of these off season talks to just encourage you to go back. The great thing about this podcast is those things are going to be there for a long time.

So go back and listen to those. [00:01:00] Just some great, great content. I just trying to give you guys some, some nuggets, some things to put in your toolbox in what is, you know, my off season be quite honest, and this is a great opportunity for me to listen to podcasts and read and really focus in on getting prepared for my upcoming season.

And the thing I wanted to talk to you guys today about is commitment to communication. You've heard on this podcast, maybe from, from everybody that's been on here, especially us coaches is that communication is key, you know, a great quote from Sir Alex Ferguson, he says the task of building and maintaining a team is never done.

And one of the great pieces of that maintaining and building is communication. I remember when Marci and I got our first coaching job at Northern Illinois University. We walked in there with really not much college coaching experience. We'd coached club and all kinds of different ages and individuals and things like that.

So we were, you know, we were just thrown into the water and I remember getting to the [00:02:00] end of that first season and going to of the year meetings. And to be quite honest, there was just a cryfest, you know, you know, players, I thought this, and, you know, as, as coaches, we thought something totally different.

And we realized in that moment that while we thought we were communicating through the season very well, we actually, we were not. And Marci and I made a commitment in that moment that moving forward, we were going to make sure that we were extremely intentional to our commitment, to communication with our players.

And I want to share with you a little bit what that looks like for us and go through some of the things that I think are valuable. In that, one of the things we committed to early on is we, we would almost rather over communicate than under communicate and listen. First of all, don't think that I've got this completely, right.

You know, I make mistakes in this all the time. You've heard it on one of the, one of the podcasts that I did with Phil talking about how I miscommunicated through a text, something that should have been communicated in person and. And I think, you know, if you're not learning, you're dying, so let's continue to learn together and would love to hear any of your feedback you have on any [00:03:00] communication tools that, that you use.

And you can touch base with us on our Facebook site. We have a Facebook group, how soccer explains leadership, join in the conversation there. And let's talk through some of these communication things, cause I'm always looking for, for new ideas. Well, one of the things we committed to is we were going to over-communicate rather than under communicate.

And when we did that, our end of the year meetings just became review. And it was amazing. The difference from year one to year two, just in our end of the year meetings and what that looked like. One of the things we committed to is we, we met with every player once a week. And I remember talking to some colleagues like, man, that is a lot of time that you put into your players.

You know, if you've got, you know, in, in, on the college ranks, we're going to have anywhere. You know, 28 to maybe 32, sometimes 35, which is a lot, but let's just say 28. Yeah, that's a lot of time. And at the time there were only two of us up there in our first job. Now I'm here at Baylor and we've got a few more staff, but that commitment to meeting is important.

And yet it's a lot of time, but you know, what, what are you putting your [00:04:00] time in? Well, you're putting in your time to connect to your athletes. And I think I firmly believe that the better I know my athletes, the better I can coach them the better they know me, the better they're going to know my expectations.

Now in a group setting, we're going to communicate, you know, mission, vision, and value. We're going to talk about our goals for the year, and we're going to talk about our goals as a team and the things that are valuable and important to our team. As a group, but how do we reinforce those things? One of the ways is individual meetings.

Yes, you can communicate on the field. The communication on the field is very important. But I firmly believe that the communication on the field is a lot easier when the communication one-on-one is present. I think for a lot of programs and maybe a lot of leaders, we neglect that one-on-one communication because we feel like we just don't have time.

It's one of those things that when you get busy, those things get pushed away and we've gotten to where, you know, we have it on our schedule, you know, and we've gotten to where I'm not meeting with every player every week, personally, but they're going to [00:05:00] meet with somebody if not every week, every other week, depending on the time of year to make sure that we're communicating.

And I probably meeting more with my younger players and more consistently with my younger players. Cause there's more to get to know that maybe my older players but that intentionality and that commitment to communication has been critical. I think in our success on the field, you know, and I mentioned that a minute ago, it's going to be important for me.

I need to know what motivates a player. You know, I need to know what motivates them. I need to also know, what are the things, what are the triggers that I'm going to say that might attack insecurities, that they have, you know, and these are things that I need to get to know so that I can get the best out of my players.

And the one of the best ways to do that, is it through trial and error on the field? I know that's where, you know, we're in our element, we're on the field, we're coaching and you say something like, oh man, I probably shouldn't say that to her ever again. Or, oh man. I just said something that highly motivated her.

I pushed a button that really got her to understand. It's not through trial and error on the field. I [00:06:00] think personally it's in the office. It's one-on-one meetings in the office or one-on-one meetings on the field, wherever you're most comfortable, comfortable having these meetings, but getting to know those players and listen, we're not just talking soccer, we're going to talk.

Hey how's how are your grades? You know, I want to hear from my players, not just from my academic coach, how are, how are their grades how's class going? Are they getting the support they need in the different areas? On campus and in the athletic department, are they getting the things that they need? Are they, do they feel like they're getting the things they need and training for me?

And obviously the more comfortable we get, the more comfortable they're going to be to tell me what they really think. And honestly, by the time kids get to their junior and senior year where I have some really, really honest conversations where kids and they're not even kids or adults come in and feel like they're comfortable enough to tell me things that they wouldn't have been comfortable telling me in year one, how he coached, you know, this was set at practice.

It didn't go over well, or this is going on off the field, and these are things we need to adjust. That communication early on really opens the door for later communication, which is important [00:07:00] to help you build your program to grow your program or your, you know, your company, whatever it is that you're running, that communication with your employees is very, very important.

I've talked about this before on this podcast is that I view my players not only. Just employees, but also employers, you know, they're, they're working both sides of this thing. And I find that very important that I'm communicating to make sure that I understand what their needs are. And also as a staff that we're communicating to understand what are our expectations are for them as players.

And again, the best way for me to understand them on the field is to understand them off the field. So from a coach or player perspective, you know, I'm going to try to meet every every week or every two weeks, at least with these players so that we can just have some good conversation, get to know each other.

Understand the expectations, understand our communication styles in languages. You know, one of the things that we're going to do this year is we're gonna bring Phil in, you know, he's he does the DISC assessment. You've heard him talk about it here. We're going to do it here. Baylor and preseason just [00:08:00] another way to help us communicate as a team.

You know, find out the best ways to communicate with each other on and off the field. So finding tools and finding ways to learn more about your players and your coaches. This goes for staff to people that you work with so that you can communicate well and understand. Expectations now that's just player, player, coach relationships.

Also think it's important to encourage player, player, relationships. You know, we do things where we're encouraged and we call and talk coffee talks. They can go meet one-on-one and we, we will set up, Hey, you're, you know, this player is gonna meet with that player. And then we have a list and a schedule to be intentional with it, to make sure that it happens because it's easy for players to meet with the players they're most comfortable with..

Right, but for us to be a great team, we've got to encourage players to talk with players that they're not as comfortable with because they've got to get more comfortable and always say, you don't all have to be best friends. You have to want to have to be teammates for sure, but you don't have to be best friends, but you at least have [00:09:00] to be able to communicate with each other, understand what makes each other tick so that you can be the best for each other on and off the field.

Again, you don't have to be best friends, but you do have to be teammates and that communication piece is it going to be critical for them to also understand what makes each other tick? What are the things that they're going to say to each other on the field that are going to motivate them and what are the things they need to stay away from that could cripple their teammate and, and maybe push the button of insecurity.

So we need to make sure that we're having those conversations. The last thing that I'll leave here with, with this in communication is I think sometimes as coaches, we feel like, and I think I'm doing it right now, because this is a one-way conversation where we're communicating. We're just talking, talking, talking, sometimes you just need to stop,

and make sure you're listening. That is a hard thing for us. Sometimes as coaches and as leaders is to understand that we have a lot to say, and we have an opinion and we have a drive and we have a mission and we're trying to go head to head on to that. [00:10:00] But the biggest piece of communication is to understand that it's a two way thing.

You've got to stop and listen. So I wanna encourage you, coaches leaders, make sure when you're sitting down with your players, that you're listening. They're while they're talking. You're not trying to think of the next thing that you're going to say that you're actually listening and processing what it is that they're saying.

What is the tone that they're saying and how they're saying it? What is their demeanor, you know, start to learn, you know, personality traits and how they communicate. But if you don't. And listen, you won't ever pick up on that. If you're trying to get to the next statement that you need to make to this player while they're talking, you're not able to listen to what they're saying.

So the feedback that you're going to probably give may not be as good as it could be, but I think to, to build that relationship, you've got to communicate and to communicate, you've got to be able to talk, but more importantly, you've got to be able to listen and I would highly encourage you to pass that onto your players as well to encourage them.

[00:11:00] Communicating with each other. They're having their one-on-one talks. Hey, don't forget to listen, don't forget to listen. So folks, I really appreciate you joining us today on this off season talk. I hope that you'll continue to, to, to join us in the next couple of weeks as we continue our off season talks, as we prepare for season four, I know that Phil's got some amazing, amazing interviews lined up in season four.

That you're going to absolutely love again. I'm getting a ton out of this. I love listening to the podcast. I love listening to the interviews. I'm always got my notebook out. I'm taking notes and learning a ton. Please stay involved with us, download these episodes get on our Facebook group and join us in the conversation there.

And again, we just hope that we're bringing value to you. And if we are, please share it with, with your friends so that they can gain value as well. thanks so much for being a part of our group here and being a part of this, this organization and group that we're putting together here. we hope that what we're doing provides value.

We hope that you will join us again. And thank you. We [00:12:00] know that soccer really does explain life and leadership.