IMPORTANCE OF BODY LANGUAGE AND EYE CONTACT

 

In a previous ‘Factory’ I discussed our system for leadership development and mentioned one of the lessons we taught was on ‘body language and eye contact’.  I have received several requests to share the power point so I am putting on hold part 4 of ‘Programs Systems for Success’ and dedicating this edition of ‘The Factory’ to how we taught it to our guys.

We spent four days teaching on body language and eye contact and it was one of the best topics we have led in recent memory.  Every coach reading this has dealt with bad body language and/or eye contact with athletes.  If you are committed to teaching leadership to your team start with how leaders carry themselves.  At North Forney, we spent time on this a couple of weeks before we started our boot camp so we could emphasize leadership response after a mistake under pressure.  Bad body language will always cost their platoon and lower their score during boot camp.

LET’S GO.


John Earle is a good friend of mine and he once told me a great story about how Tim Krumrie got up very early and played a serious mind game with him and it has stuck with me.  John is a former NFL player, CFL player and Grapevine football team chaplain.  When I was trying to come up with a good story on body language this one came to mind.

“I always got to the facility very early.  Free agents were always the last to get into the training room to get taped so I would get there before anyone else and take care of getting my ankles taped and any other treatment I needed to have done.  One morning during the first few days of training camp I walked into the locker room so early the lights were not even turned on.  I made my way to my locker and could tell there was someone sitting across from me even in the darkness.  As my eyes adjusted I quickly made out who was sitting across from my locker, it was Tim Krumrie (perennial pro-bowl nose guard).  Tim was dressed for practice in full pads, he even had his helmet on.  Tim didn’t say anything, he just sat there chewing on his mouthpiece for a few seconds and stared at me before slowly getting up and walking away.  I knew I had a long day in front of me”, John Earle.   Tim Krumrie used some strong body language to let John know he would be coming at him that day in training camp.  *If you want a great tough guy story google how Krumrie handled breaking his leg in Super Bowl XXIII.

 


“Body language provides a window into your confidence and your character.”  Michael Jordan

“Negative body language is cancerous.”  Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach Mike Brey


 

4 WAYS WE TAUGHT BODY LANGUAGE AND EYE CONTACT TO OUR GUYS AND HOW THIS EDITION OF THE ‘FACTORY’ IS ORGANIZED

Part 1

I. WHAT IS BODY LANGUAGE AND ITS IMPORTANCE

II. HOW YOU CAN USE BODY LANGUAGE TO GAIN CONFIDENCE

Part 2 (the next edition)

III. WHY THE FIRST THING THE MILITARY TEACHES NEW SOLDIERS IS HOW TO STAND

IV. PREY VS. PREDATOR EYE PLACEMENT

 

HOW DO WE COMMUNICATE?

Verbal makes up only 7% of our overall communication with others….7%.  This is a great reminder for all of us when dealing with our spouse, administration, officials, and parents.  It’s what we project with our body movements and tone that will decide if our interaction is a success or not. The generation we are teaching this lesson to spends more time looking down on their phone than looking people in the eye.  Heck, they break up with their girlfriend with a text!  It is worth spending a few minutes also teaching your guys how to shake a hand and look them in the eye (most parents are not teaching and we have to help raise them).

So what is body language?  It is defined as ‘the process of communicating nonverbally through consciousness and unconscious gestures and movements’.

 

GENO AURIEMMA ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BODY LANGUAGE

There is an outstanding video of Coach Auriemma speaking on body language and the difficulty even they have at UConn recruiting players who understand it.  “Me, we, my coaching staff, we put a huge premium on body language,” Auriemma said. “And if your body language is bad, you will never get in the game. Ever. I don’t care how good you are. If somebody says, well, you just benched (Breanna Stewart) for 35 minutes in the Memphis game a couple of years ago. Yeah, I did. That was to motivate her for the South Carolina game the following Monday? No, it wasn’t. Stewy was acting like a 12-year-old. So I put her on the bench and said sit there.”

 

ALWAYS ADDRESS BAD BODY LANGUAGE 

“When a baby is hungry or tired what does it do?  It screams and cries.  When a teenager is frustrated or anxious what do they do?  They cop an attitude, the body language goes bad.”  John Calipari

A great culture is not for the faint of heart.  You must address bad body language with your team everytime you get it from an athlete.  Coach Calipari’s quote above is from a story he told to parents at a basketball camp about his own son during a game.  He said he never speaks to his son at a game, but could not hold his tongue when he saw bad body language.  We should not either.

Mike Brey, men’s basketball coach at the University of Notre Dame, who is quoted above has a great strategy to help his athletes’ awareness of their body language.  His solution?  Have players watch film to see how they communicate on the court, and then correct it.  This is a terrific idea we can use while not in season.  Video your athletes in drills (offseason competition, boot camp, etc.) and coach both the good and bad body language in a team film session.

 

YOUR BODY LANGUAGE CAN TRICK YOUR MIND INTO BEING MORE CONFIDENT

The video below is one of my favorite all-time teaching videos I have ever used with a team.  George St. Pierre is an MMA legend…some would say the ‘goat’ of the octagon (greatest of all time).   Here, GSP is a guest on Joe Buck’s show ‘Undeniable’ and talks about how nervous he gets before a fight.  The entire interview is uploaded below, but I have the video starting around minute 17 of him talking about how his body convinces his mind to be confident on the walk from the locker room to the octagon.

Watch from 17:54 to 24:00 for body language/mind comments from GSP

I shared our lesson and this video with good friend John Perry, head coach of 6A Mississippi state champs Pearl High School, and he hit the nail on the head with this comment to me, “I have always heard how the mind controls the body, but I haven’t heard about how much power the body has over the mind.”  Science has proven that big body language changes the mind as it releases a chemical called serotonin.  Serotonin is a compound present in our blood and is responsible for several functions including our mood.  Just standing up straight increases our serotonin levels.

If I were a college coach I would always attempt to find a way to watch him/her at a practice without announcing my presence.  How do they handle coaching?  How do they handle adversity?  I would look for chin up, eye contact and shoulders back.  Anything else would be immaturity, selfishness, and someone I am not sure we would want to deal with.  Help your athletes and your team by teaching them the importance of BIG BODY LANGUAGE.


“You are either coaching it or accepting it.” 

“As I’m walking to the octagon my body is telling my mind it is impossible for me to fail.”  George St. Pierre


 

In the next edition of ‘The Culture Factory’, I will finish our lesson on body language and eye contact.

III. WHY THE FIRST THING THE MILITARY TEACHES NEW SOLDIERS IS HOW TO STAND

IV. PREY VS. PREDATOR EYE PLACEMENT

 


Please join the discussion and comment on this ‘Factory’ on Twitter or Facebook.

 Twitter – @CoachJacksonTPW                         Facebook – Culture Defeats Strategy 

 

WHO I AM 
 
I am a proud 28-year veteran coach and educator and am the head football coach and campus coordinator at North Forney High School in Forney, TX.  NF is a 5A school with 1,600 students that was opened in 2009.  This past season we finished 10-3, the best record in the history of the school. We achieved a few milestones; defeating three teams they had never beaten, avg. 53 points a game (top 10 in 5A Texas history), won first 5A playoff game and advanced to the third round for the first time.  None of this would have happened w/o great players, coaches, and administration support.  But, it also would not have happened if we would not have changed the culture, a holistic approach and a commitment to the mental game.
I will share some of the things we did this season but am also excited to learn from you out there who are also on this journey.  The bottom line for me is I love coaches and believe in our great profession.  I want to contribute and writing CDS has allowed me to do in a small way.  This blog will also, but I hope will also connect like-minded leaders.  I plan to learn as much as I give by doing this.

 

2 thoughts on “IMPORTANCE OF BODY LANGUAGE AND EYE CONTACT”

  1. Good stuff Randy! Thanks for sharing! In a time when so many people try to hide what they do, it’s a blessing to have someone share the great stuff they do! You are definitely trying to serve others, which is what we were put in this earth to do! Thanks

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