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Reflections After Attending the Way of Champions Coaching Conference

way-of-championsThis past weekend I made a last minute decision to head out to Boulder Colorado for the Way of Champions Conference, a conference for coaches (130 attendees), all about transformational coaching philosophies. Over the 2 days I laughed, cried, meditated, shared, hugged, self-reflected and dug deep into my why… as it was one of the most emotional, enlightening, inspiring and transformational experiences I have had in my coaching journey.

As I sit at 35,000 feet and reflect on my way home, the one word and theme I would use to characterize the essence of what this conference is about and the #1 element of what makes a good coach in general is: LOVE.

There was so much love in the room at the conference. All the speakers at times got choked up as they dug into their stories and opened up about their experiences in sports and coaching. I was surprised

I am no writer, but am feeling inspired and wanted to unpack and share what I learned with the local baseball community. So here I go:

Ideas For Practice

  • Set the tone: with upbeat music playing in the dugout as the kids arrive

  • End practice with some “Me, We, You’swhere 1 or more kids say 1 thing he did well, someone else

    did well and the team did well.

  • Silly games to get kids moving/laughing: Rock, paper, scissors tournament and losers become

    cheerleaders for teammate they lost to. Dancy party. Funny face game. Zip zap zop/tip, tap, top

    Ideas for Culture

  • Main points for Coyle’s new Culture Code book: Great cultures involve 3 things: Safety, vulnerability

    and a share purpose

  • Setting Values: Have THE KIDS decide on their values and sign values sheet (then send to parents)

  • Circle up at the start and end of every practice to talk/check in/team build

  • Post it notes: What are the characteristics of your favorite coach? What are the characteristics of your

    favorite teammate?

  • Create safe conflict: Literally practicing having kids holding other kids accountable.

  • Instead of setting goals, set character habits/identity goals. What do we want to stand for

  • Implement personality or strengths finder tests to understand your players personality types and

    learning styles

  • Being a traditional coach whistleblower can create fear. Utilize the whistle but use it to stop practice

    when your catching someone “doing it right”

    Concepts/Share Language for your Team to Understand

  • L.U.V. = Listen. Understand. Validate.

  • NeverNeverLand: Never give up. Never defeat my spirit. Never lose confidence. Never scared.

  • Win the Day. Control the little things

  • 1 and done!? No! Dance and advance! Jerry Lynch advised Steve Kerr with that this year

  • Showing up to Win vs Showing up to Compete. Focus on the little things, attainable goals, and SHOW


To love an athlete (especially the challenging ones) is to see the light in them: Loving them for who they are not their behaviors. Love their intentions. They all want to do well and feel accepted.

GREAT Questions for your team to answer:

  • What is working?

  • What do we need to start doing?

  • What do we need to stop doing?

  • Why are we a better team because of that game?

  • Why are you a better athlete/person because of that loss?

  • What are the little things we can control which result in success?

  • How will you give to the team today?

  • What is the one thing you wish your coaches knew about you which could help you grow?

  • What is your biggest fear? Have them put in hat, then read and then destroy

  • What is like to be coached by me? Great for exit meetings or post its

  • What is your life’s defining moment?

    Ideas for Performance/Development/Improvement/Feedback:

  • Performance = potential interference (take away distractions and that equals performance) More

    interference slows down reaction time

  • Parent meeting idea: Demonstrate Stroup effect

  • Positivity Sandwich baby! PCP Positive, Correction, Positive

  • Teach kids how to shake hands properly, how to great people and how to introduce people

  • Basic meditation structure: Deep breathes. Notice breathing. If wandering, come back. Get them to


  • Get on their level and get in their head: Learn the latest dance moves and bust them out (ex. “The

    Floss”). Learn Fortnite? Teach yourself to hit again?

  • The Rule of One: Positively impact one person, one comment, one player at a time…

    Powerful things coaches can say or do:

  • “Thank you for letting me coach you”

  • “I screwed that up” demonstrate accountability

  • We will miss you here” if not complying with team values and culture

  • “If we win, that’s your doing. If we lose, that’s on me”

  • “This is how we do things here…” or “In our culture we…”

  • “Help me understand why you are doing that…”

  • Action: Letting them know they are important

  • Action: Take off your sunglasses when talking with a kid 1 on 1

    Powerful quotes from the conference:

  • “Everything I know about myself right now has come from failure”

  • “Failure is our greatest teacher”

  • “The 101st arrow that hit the bullseye is the result of 100 prior misses”

  • “Thoughts based on fear create weakness” – literally. And I have proof…

  • “Fear is the absence of love. Love is the absence of fear.

  • “Fear happens when you are worried about outcomes and results. You cannot control outcomes” just

focus on competing/the process and let the results take care of themselves!

  • “Thank God for our great competition! They give us their best blow and an opportunity rise to the occasion!

  • “You’re a coach. Don’t go in their trying to fix them. Listen and observe first. They will tell you what they need”

  • “If you measure your self worth by your win loss record, then unfortunately, you’ve already lost”

  • “The war is won before the battle has begun”

  • “Culture is a process. Not an event. Takes time and is the result of the day to day”

  • As a coach, your impact is never neutral”

  • “Good coaches are great noticers. They don’t just notice performance. They will notice effort.” (great coaches praise it)

  • “If you are not getting resistance from your kids you may not be doing enough for your culture”

  • “When you look back at your season, you want to say, we worked hard, competed until the end and

    created something worth missing”

  • “Feeling is function”

  • “The scoreboard means nothing. Your teammates mean everything”

  • “Soft yet strong” – Motto on how some coach

  • “When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive”

  • “Almost all conflicts and complaints from kids/parents boil down to only 2 issues: 1. Playing time 2. Recognition”

David Klein is the Founder, Executive Director and Head Coach of Menlo Park Legends Baseball, a holistic development program and non profit located in the San Francisco Bay Area. A 2018 Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Award Coach National Winner, David focus much of his coaching around building the complete athlete and is currently the Head Coach of Menlo-Atherton High School.

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July 19, 2018

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