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Archive for August, 2012

Training Alchemy: How Sports Teams Use Training to Achieve Success

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 30, 2012 NO COMMENTS

Sports team training is no longer limited to physical training only – corporate-type training is being used today for both professional and amateur sports teams. When we think of training and sports teams, we usually think of physical training – the intense workouts, simulations, and training camps that put athletes into peak performance condition. But sports teams, both amateur and professional, are turning to more academic training to ensure the mental fitness of athletes, as well. There are training centers springing up all over the world that cater to both physical and mental training for athletes. On the same lines, some corporate training programs, especially leadership programs, are bringing activities for sports teams into the boardroom. One of the common training elements is communications training. From the basic levels to the intricacies of game day communication, some sports teams are taking up classroom training to learn the art.

Another area of focus for sports teams is personal development training, or mental training. It was once a wide belief that an athlete’s natural talent and hard work could propel him or her into the winner’s circle. Now, performance coaches argue that a big part of athletic success belongs to attitudes, beliefs, or thought processes – some of the very criteria standard corporate training programs are built upon. Through this type of personal development training, athletes are learning better focus, game-day composure, and self-confidence through mental strength.

It would also seem ironic that sports teams need team building training activities, but they do. Just as in corporate teams, changes to pro sports teams make them go through cycles of building, infighting, and performing. Some team training consultants offer ropes courses, firewalks, board breaking, and outdoor survival-type training. And on the opposite side, corporate teams are taking part in the Olympic-style team sports games and survival activities that may have once been reserved for football or baseball teams.

Change management is another traditionally corporate course that’s being used in the world of professional sports. Think about a football game and how each person’s decisions, from coaches down to individual players, can impact the entire game and the entire teams’ success. Teams use change management courses to teach quick decision making based on individual and group needs. Through this type of training, players learn to quickly assess the situation from what they already know and can see and then make decisions.

The notion of “coaching” in the corporate world stemmed from sports coaches to begin with. The corporate world has taken coaching techniques and turned them into processes and models, such as coaching for peak performance or situational leadership. Coaches have begun to move back into the classroom to learn the new corporate techniques – peak performance can be used for athletes and employees.

Because of the unlimited income potential for pro sports teams, many are building serious training programs for their employees, as well. Sales and customer service training has become popular for the concierge staffs, ticket sales, general management, and group sales areas for many pro teams. Owners and team managers see that the experience begins before the fans sit in their seats on game day.

The next time you watch a team game, whether it’s professional or amateur, think about the types of training that may have been applied to put the teams and individual athletes where they are. Think about the similarities between your teams and sports teams – we can borrow training ideas from both sides.

Copyright 2009-2012 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– offers 25+ years of training and talent management for executives, business owners, and top performing sales executives in taking the leap from the ordinary to extraordinary. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.

Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson

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When Coaching Fails

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 16, 2012 NO COMMENTS

As a coach, you should always be aware of what other teams, both within the organization and outside it, are doing. It seems that Belichick did not want team members looking forward and outside the organization – and he took the Giants lightly because of the wide popular opinion against them. It stands to reason, then, that an effective coach will not underestimate the competition’s preparation and determination – even if they seem to be losing.

Communication within teams is extremely important. Just as Coughlin created a communication strategy, Belichick could do the same thing in the next season. Each team member needs to know his or her role in the big picture, no matter how big or how small. When a coach takes the time to communicate this, either personally or through senior team members, the entire team takes on a new life of ownership and accountability.

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The Difference Between a Coach, Mentor, and Consultant?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 9, 2012 NO COMMENTS

When determining the difference between a coach, mentor, and consultant, it is necessary to look at specific roles and functions. First, we must look at the focus or concentration – what is the specific focus of the person? Second, we should look at the type of agenda or role the person has. Third, look at how the relationship is chosen and or cultivated. Fourth, how does the person garner influence? Fifth, what is the expected return for the services of the person? Finally, we must determine the scope of the person’s work.

Coaches appear in various forms, such as professional, life, relationship, and sports team coaches. All coach types share the same criteria. The focus of the coach is in specific performance – for example, an organizational coach is usually responsible for increasing or improving performance in a given area. The agenda for a coach, then, is usually fairly specific – improve batting average, increase sales, etc.

A coach usually arrives in the relationship selected by someone other than the “coachee” – in other words, the relationship is not self-selected. Coaches also influence through their position, such as in the sports world. But what is the expected return for a coach? As we’ve already discussed, a coach is looking for performance and possibly teamwork. Finally, a coach’s scope is usually task-related.

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Role of the Trainer: Engagement

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On August 2, 2012 NO COMMENTS

Trainers can achieve engagement in many ways, from encouraging participation to sharing personal experiences and interactive activities. How the trainer encourages engagement is very important, but we can’t lose sight of the value this type of engagement brings to each training intervention.

First, highly engaged participants will have higher levels of retention. It’s easy to impart knowledge to a group of participants in a factual, or even dry, way. Some adults do retain facts and trivia, but many do not. Using engaging techniques during training will create an intellectual anchor to the material being learned. When participants go back to the job and must use the information they’ve gained, that mental anchor will kick in because of the activity surrounding it.

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