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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Old school" people say high school athletics have changed, it all about recruiting and transfers, not about communities anymore. Others say it is just old coaches complaining and not keeping up with the times. Read this article from the Sun- Times....   critics are saying there are 8 transfers going to Homewood-Flossmoor, the coach responds it is only "like 5 or 6."  If this happened at Rock Island, Moline, Alleman or Galesburg--- what would the IHSA do???

Do you want to give new Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball coach Anthony Smith a good laugh? Ask him about the eight transfer students rumored to be practicing in his gym this summer.
‘‘Eight? Ha, ha, ha!’’ Smith said. ‘‘You got more than I heard. I heard it was more like five or six. .?? 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Music at Practice

The rage in college football is a sound system which coordinates the practices. The system plays certain music as "cues" to the change of practice periods and to set the tone for that segment of practice. Coaches don't have to look at their watches, they can hear the changes in practice. And then they can select specific music to get the players up for certain periods of practice. And finally it forces the players to be better communicators- just like in games- over the sound level.

When legendary Texas A&M coach Bear Bryant dragged his men into the unforgiving desolation of Junction, Texas, for training camp, the only sounds you could hear were the dithering slithers of rattlesnakes and the ominous cries of circling turkey buzzards. The real men, the Texas A&M football players he wanted to mold at his famous practices, toiled in silence, save for the occasional snapped bone.
All the above was fine for 1954. But now?
"I go through a practice without music and I think that's really weird," says first-year Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Component of Toughness- Trust

After reading Jay Bilas book, I was struck then as I read how one coach is building the foundation for toughness with the development of trust. This is an article from the Wisconsin State Journal by Tom Oates....

Trust is a big word in Gary Andersen’s personal dictionary.
After he was hired to coach the University of Wisconsin football team in December, Andersen knew nothing substantial would take place with the Badgers until a circle of trust could be built between himself and a group of players who have endured enough coaching turnover to be skeptical of the new guy.
Well, time’s up. With fall camp set to start Monday, the meet-and-greet session is over. From now on, the focus will switch to football and getting ready for a season the Badgers hope will end up with a fourth straight Big Ten Conference title.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Success & Failure

From Fitness Girls

Toughness by Jay Bilas (The Book)

Several years ago Jay Bilas wrote an article on toughness which went viral in the basketball world. High school and college coaches all reprinted the article and shared it with their players. (I have it reprinted on this blog.) Bilas said the motivation for writing the article was a reaction to how a commentator used the word "tough" to describe a physical and perhaps a dirty player. The basic premise of the article was "toughness" is more about an attitude and a self-discipline vs. a physical characteristic.

In his book on the same topic, Bilas looks at the characteristics of tough people. He seeks out people in sports and business who are tough in their approach to sport and life.

Toughness Can Be Learned
"Toughness isn't physical. It has nothing to do with size, physical strength, or athleticism. It's an intangible, an attitude, a philosophy. Some people may be born with the aptitude to be tougher than others, but I believe that true toughness is a skill that can be developed and improved in everyone."

Friday, August 2, 2013

One Word by Jon Gordon

Even Willow knows the concept of One Word.
One of the best courses I ever took was Behavior Modification at the U. of Wisconsin-Madison. It was one of the most practical courses I have had. As anyone who is familiar with operant conditioning can attest- a lot of behavior modification is pretty common sense. The course provided me as a young teacher with ideas to make my classroom, my teams, and myself better.

One of the topics was on self-modification. The professor claimed self-modification is much harder to accomplish than the modification of other people. He went on to claim the problem for most of us when it comes to self-modification is we start out wanting too much change in ourselves. We know the target we want to reach and we try to get there today. So we have not been reading but we want to get to where we are reading 100 pages a day- we start with a plan of reading 50 pages. We want to lose 30 pounds so we set out to lose 5 pounds per week. Usually with the plans we start out great but we cannot maintain. This is the problem with the classic New Year's resolutions. The lesson was keep it simple and be patient.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

American Cemetery in Margraten Holland

Rubbing sand from Omaha Beach on William
Allen's stone. 
In World War II American military leaders made a promise that no American soldier would be buried on enemy soil. Most American soldiers were buried in cemeteries near the battle field where they were killed- many in France. As the War ended, American soldiers had invaded Germany and were fighting on German soil, in some cases approaching Berlin. The soldiers who died in Germany were all removed and taken back to Margraten Holland.

Each family of the fallen soldiers was given the choice to have the soldier buried in Margraten or to be returned to the United States to be buried in a private or national cemetery. Once the decision was made by the family, the decision was considered final and could not be changed.

At one time there were over 17,000 soldiers taken to Margraten. Today the cemetery holds only American soldiers, and it has over 8,000 fall US soldiers from WW2 buried there.

William Allen's grave.
My wife's uncle, William Allen was killed at the end of WW2 and is buried in Margraten. We had an opportunity this summer to visit the cemetery. The assistant supt. of the grounds took us to visit William Allen's grave and to also visit Bob Arnold's grave. Bob was Bill's brother in law. We were escorted by Frans and Pauline Roukins. Pauline's family has cared for Bill and Bob's graves for over 60 years.

We had the opportunity to place flowers on the grave. The Supt. then explained a special practice they do with families of the soldiers. The stones of white marble with engraving are very difficult to photograph. To help them be more photographed, they provide sand for the family members to rub over the name so it can be seen. The sand is shipped in from Normandy beach. The significance of the the sand is that the soldiers who are buried in Margraten all started their invasion of Europe at Normandy beaches in France.
Over 8,000 fallen US soldiers are
buried in Margraten.

Our visit was a very emotional experience. It certainly makes one appreciate the sacrifice made by these soldiers.