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Top Coaches Share Formulas for Success

By Hal Tearse, 02/20/14, 11:00PM CST

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At the PCA Breakfast with the Champions Jerry Kill, Cheryl Reeves, and Mike Grant share their secrets for success.


Photo credit to Periscope.

Well known coaches Grant, Reeve, Kill and the founder of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), Jim Thompson, shared their formulas for creating a successful program at the professional, college and youth levels at a Postive Coach Alliance (PCA) breakfast meeting on Feb 14th at Target Field to a sold out event. 

With Randy Shaver moderating, a number of topics were discussed by the coaches, all of whom have had very successful careers. They all had specifics to their sport but much more in common. 

Each coach took over programs that could be considered broken and have had to repair the culture and rebuild their organizations. They each emphasized the need to have the right culture and committment by the players.

Coach Kill insists on being on time, do what you are supposed to do every day, do well in school and do your best on the field every day. 

Coach Grant has a wonderful group of assistant coaches, and they make sure practice is fun and useful. The staff spends a great deal of time making sure all players feel like an important part of the team and that the coaches really care about them. 

Cheryl Reeve, from the World Champion Lynx, upon taking the job had to rebuild the roster and develop a team environment that keeps players focused and competing hard in practice as they prepare for games. She uses three key players on her team to lead by example every day. 

Here are are some additional take aways from the terrific event: 

  • The magic ratio: five postives for every criticism. Keep the emotional gas tanks of your players full
  • Be sure to publically acknowelge your assistant coaches and thank them. 
  • Managing relationships is critical to success. Get to know your players as people. 
  • Hockey (football/basketball) is what they do not what they are. 
  • Have big team goals but focus on small victories every day. Control what is in front of you.
  • Each athlete has a different idea of what they think the ideal experience is for them. Make sure to know what each player wants from the experience. Do not assume winning state is the most important goal for every player. Some players just want to be part of the program and some are super competitive. Know your players so you can coach them accordingly. 
  • Pick the right challenges for the level of talent on on your team.
  • Your best player must be the hardest worker on the team. 
  • Establish expectations for each person and for practice. 
  • Three things you must do every day as a leader:
  1. Smile and mean it
  2. Everybody needs a victory every day
  3. Hug/em up!
  • Be a noticer. Focus on their emotional tanks and let them know that you appreciate what they are doing. 
  • The closer you get to people, the more you will get out of them.
  • Be consistent
  • Excuses are for losers
  • Set higher expectations. Hold players accountable. Raise the bar.
  • On Jerry's team only the strong willl survive. 
  • Culture: How to establish? 
  1. Set the table through message bombardment
  2. Fix the broken windows as soon as the culture in broken
  3. Build it into a consistent and constant way of life
  • Focus on doing the things every day, and the wins will take care of themselves. You need talent to win games, but great coaches win every day in the hearts and minds of their players. 

Jerry Kill says football saved his life, and they believe they are saving the lives of each player on the Gopher squad by teaching life lessons and holding them accountable every day.

These great coaches are from football and basketball, but they would be successful in any sport or in business for that matter. These are universal principles.

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