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As coaches today, we have a problem. All of us wish we had more leaders. I hear from coaches occasionally who say, 'our team doesn't have any vocal leaders.' Of course not, in today's smartphone-obsessed society, it is the norm to communicate via text. Believe it or not,emoji's are now how most teens communicate whenever possible. Think about it; young adults don't have to speak or even write to each other they just send symbols!

It is our job to develop leaders anyway.

'A leader is a dealer of hope.' N Bonaparte.

I agree with the quote above 100%. A leader's vision and energy give his people hope for a better future. Our role as coaches is to lead our team and unit group. Another task we have is to create more leaders, but that is easier said than done. At North Forney, we do our best to develop leaders. We have a daily 'Leadership Academy,' we break out into small groups and encourage discussion, and we celebrate leaders every single day. Even with all we do it is an uphill battle to create and develop guys who are 3%ers.

So what are we going to do about this? We can't just 'hope for the best' and cross our fingers that our team will have a couple of vocal leaders. What if we focused on developing encouragers also? We tell our team they all don't have to be leaders, but they can all be encouragers!

Encouragement is a form of leadership.

Scientist, Curt Richter, conducted a gruesome experiment on rats in the 1950s. He took a dozens of rats, put them into jars half-filled with circulated water, and allowed them to drown. He wanted to know how long they could swim before they gave up, went under and died.

Dr. Richter found that, on average, a rat could swim for about 15 minutes before saying 'uncle' and sinking. However, if he rescued the rats just before drowning, dried them off and allowed them to rest for a few minutes, they would go for an average of SIXTY MORE HOURS. Yes, if the rats had some encouragement or hope they would go 240 times longer than rats without hope!! Richter stated, "The rats swam longer because they saw what hope looked like. They got a clear picture of what being saved looked like." The rats were encouraged!

What can you do to get your players to encourage each other? Periodically, I will stop the workout and ask a player on one side of the room to shout something encouraging to another player. "Tom, who is someone you see on the hyperextensions you know is busting his tail?" Tom will shout, "Keonte-I see you bringing it!! Keep doing your thing, brother!" Then I will say, "Keonte, who on the military press is someone you want to recognize for great effort?" Keonte will then pick someone out and give him affirmation. Whoever he picks out will then be the next guy to encourage someone. It gets loud, and the juice is always much higher when start back working out. "Spotters, find a goon not close to you, and let him know you see him getting better!" The guys not lifting will start yelling all over the weight room!

The truth is if we don't do this regularly, it will not continue to happen. I must make it happen each time. It gets easier the more we do it, but most guys (just like yours) are just working hard and not thinking about encouraging a teammate.

Encouragers give us hope. We all like to be around encouraging people who bring juice to the room! There is power in words. 'Leader' can be intimidating to most of us, but being an encourager is not too much to ask. Show them how to do it, model it, and you will see more juice in your program.

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