CREATE A 'MEMBERS ONLY MENTALITY' FOR YOUR UNIT GROUP
I have known John Weaver for several years, so I knew our ELITE COACHES' MASTERMIND session would be amazing. It was even better than I had hoped! Coach Weaver is the wide receiver coach for the Madison-Ridgeland Academy in Jackson, Mississippi. Like many of you reading this, he is an assistant coach who has his group but is not the head coach who has the authority to create team core values, a mission statement, or an intentional culture. But... John's head coach, Herbert Davis, told him to be the 'head coach' of his position group. John takes it to the 'Nth degree' and makes them feel like they are in an exclusive club! His receivers are members of the 'ARB'; 'Air Raid Brigade'! "When John started the ARB, a few of our coaches honestly 'rolled their eyes' a little. John didn't care one bit. He stayed the course and has created a monster of our receiver group. Now, every member of our staff sees the value and has gotten on board", Coach Davis. What does being a member of the 'ARB' entail? It means being in an exclusive club with rights, privileges, and responsibilities. "Last night, we had receivers from 2019, 20 and 21 teams all gather at a players' house. We had dinner and swapped 'ARB' stories for a few hours. It was like a reunion of a fraternity", Coach Weaver told us in the session yesterday. If you tried to gather your position group like this, would it be a reunion of players who feel like they are in an exclusive club?
Coach Weaver laid out his systematic approach to creating a 'membership mentality' all of his receivers at MRA have, and it is outstanding. This April, I will travel to Potsdam, Germany to be the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in the German Football League. I was taking notes like 'nobody's business' during this session to use with my unit group.
Step 1 - Create a name for your unit group. Allow your athletes to be a part of this. (what you are 'in on', you are 'in with') I am now thinking of possible names for the Royals' OL - The Grunts, etc. When we begin meeting in April, I will have a few to discuss as a group. Step 2 - Core values must be created. Make them position-specific and straightforward. Core values for the ARB are 'LED'; a. Lightening rod-bring the juice b. Effort - total effort in every drill, every play, every day c. Detailed - its all about the details
Everyone in an organization, a team, or a position group must all point to 'true North'. This means all know where the group is heading and what it stands for. Core values give your group the road map! Step 3 - On game day, write each member a hand-written note on a 3x5" index card. The power of the hand-written note is undefeated! In a recent session on' getting the job', coach Wager, Arlington Martin, spoke of sending written postcards to interview committee members. We all get text and emails; write out individual messages to your position players each game day, and they will love this! Step 4 - Give each player a nickname. This is a massive part of the 'exclusive club mentality'! Nicknames are the love language for most athletes. Do you remember a coach using a nickname for you? If so, you know it brings back great memories. Coach Weaver calls this a 'call sign' using his fighter pilot theme. This is powerful! When they complete fall camp, each receiver is given a call sign by other members of the ARB. This could also be boot camp, spring practice, summer workouts, or something similar. After we complete training camp in Potsdam, we will all give each other a 'Grunt name'.
Step 5 - Have a cool name for where your group meets. The ARB doesn't have a meeting room, they meet in Coach Weaver's classroom but it is called 'the hangar'. Step 6 - Create a patch for each member. Like the 'call sign', a patch is vital to making them feel a part of the club. Although they do not put them on the uniform, each member of the ARB carries his patch to each game. The patch is something 99% of them will keep for the rest of their lives. Coach Weaver says these patches are $10 each on ETSY but priceless in creating a membership mentality. Step 7 - Social media hashtags. Let me be a little blunt here; it doesn't matter how you feel about social media. It is another love language for your athletes. Your 16-18-year-old players want to be recognized on Twitter, Instagram, or whatever is the next one. Create, with their help, a hashtag for each season. The ARB has used;
2019 - Take Fl19ht 2020 - neXXepisode 2021 - Invas21on 2022 - First Cla22
So good! Have your players help you come up with a hashtag. As the OL coach for the Royals, I will also video a drill or a play in practice each day with my phone and post it on social media. Although they are professional players in their 20's and some with a family, my Grunts will still love it! Step 8 - T-shirts are printed. Yes! T-shirts are 100% the most cost-effective way to achieve buy-in! I firmly believe if you have enough t-shirts, you could get one state to invade another state! :) 'Brand' and celebrate what you want to be created! Make sure the yearly slogan/hashtag and core values are included. Use both sides of the shirt. Step 9 - Jersey legacy. Coach Weaver is just starting on this concept, so I started not to include it, but it is another excellent step in creating a bond of his receivers. Coach Weaver will create signs for his office with jersey numbers from the ARB.
Each sign will have; a. jersey number b. name c. call sign d. years played e. one favorite memory I will use Coach Weaver's system to make my guys feel like they are in 'the club'! I will make them feel so special that every other player will wish they had this type of connection with their unit group! You can create this for your players, and you should not be able to sleep until you do now that you know the steps!