Thursday, January 9, 2014

Outside the Box, Passion and Teamwork in Odd Places....

Coaches look for examples of what makes their teams and players great in all sorts of places. We come across examples of these characteristics in places we may not expect but with open eyes and open minds we can use these examples to help us, our athletes and even our parents better understand those characteristics.

Take this video entitled Pro Infirmis.  It’s outside the box in it’s thinking to be sure. But it’s also an example of empathy and compassion. It’s an example of how athletes and sport isn't a cookie cutter industry. Of the top 50 golfers in the world, how many have the same swing? We are all built differently, have different dimensions and have physical strengths and weaknesses. This kind of outside the box thinking is a great lesson for coaches, athletes AND parents.

Rich and Tracy live in Colorado and one night a week, they gather around the kitchen table, civil war history books and scripts in hand, and they record a weekly podcast about their favorite subject: the Civil War. They spend vacations taking pictures and studying the landscape of battles. They are on podcast 57, with each one going between 15-30 minutes tackling subjects such as artillery of the war, the ammunition and of course battles and famous generals and personalities of the war. They spent 38 podcasts before they got TO the war talking at great length about what led to the Civil War! They have recommended book readings at the end of every podcast, a blog  that offers up pictures and videos and articles and a face book page. It will be a wild guess to think how many total podcasts Rich and Tracy will do before they get to the end of the conflict.

Why talk about this; Passion. The passion Rich and Tracy show for this subject is epic. It’s not the most polished podcast you’ll ever hear and the jokes are often times awful in both content and delivery but it’s hard not to like this podcast with two people, who are so obviously passionate about this subject.

How often are we as coaches, looking to impart that passion we have for the game on our players? Or perhaps you are the coach that has lost some passion for the game or for coaching. Can you get it back? Maybe sitting around your dining room table once a week with a tape recorder will do the trick!

Ever heard of the International Consortium for HealthOutcome Measurement (ICHOM)? Chances are probably not, but it’s maybe one of the greatest examples of team work we have seen in the medical profession in some time. 

Co founder of ICHOM, Stefan Larsson spoke at length about the idea and implementation of ICHOM in this Ted talk

From their own website, “ICHOM organizes global teams of physician leaders, outcomes researchers and patient advocates to define Standard Sets of outcomes per medical condition, and then drives adoption to enable health care providers globally to compare, learn, and improve.

Egos are put aside and a common goal is put front and center. In just its first year, ICHOM has tackled hip replacements, local back pain, localized prostate cancer, cataracts and coronary artery disease and has put together recommendations for each. Team work has trumped ego and profit and every coach in the world of sports longs for this kind of team first mentality.

Sure, these are outliers, but there are these kinds of examples all over our world. Pull them out, let us know about what you’ve come across so we can share with other coaches. E mail us at

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