Friday, February 6, 2015


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Friday, January 23, 2015

Nuisance (by Coach Ryan)

Grant Wiggins writes a blog about education and just a few months ago posted this -- an account of a veteran high school teacher who decides to shadow two students for a day to get a better feel for what it's like to be a HS student.

The post is a terrific read for any educator/Coach, and I won't give it all away here.  But the writer describes her 3 Key Takeaways from the experience, and they are worth paying attention to.  Thinking on these points has caused me to slightly alter the lens through which I look at my students.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Want to Connect? Tell a Story (by Coach Ryan)

So after nine years away I am back in the classroom again.  And after 8 years of teaching high school in my past life, this time I find myself teaching 6th grade.  To begin the day I put the 1st period schedule on the whiteboard.  I want my students to know what to expect during our 50 minutes together.  It usually reads something like this:

1. Welcome/attendance
2. Review yesterday's assignment
3. Today's lesson
4. Today's assignment

It's all fairly predictable most of the time.  What also has become predictable is that sometime before the class begins, someone will go to the board and squeeze in an extra agenda item that reads

"1.5 Storytime"

Friday, December 19, 2014

Give Generously (by Coach Ryan)

On the surface, this post might not seem to have a ton of direct applications to coaching, but it does.  It does because the idea of generosity gets right to the heart of why we exist.

We see needs all around us.  This time of year we hear the bells ringing outside of the stores, and the toy drive containers call out to us as we walk inside.  You have probably received dozens of appeal letters from various charities in the past month -- pretty much all of which are doing important, valuable work that helps people.  With all those people and organizations asking, what are we supposed to do?

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Wrong Kind of Praise? (by Coach Ryan)

For years I have believed telling children how intelligent they are boosts their self-image and enhances their ability to learn new things.  As a Coach, praising my athletes for their talent seemed like a good way to motivate them to achieve at an even higher level.

While I'm not going to lose sleep and beat myself up over it, I think those ideas may be quite mistaken.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Where Have All the Leaders Gone? (by Coach Ryan)

I hear this one all the time from Coaches, especially at the high school level.  "We just don't have leaders on our team this year."  Hmmm.  How do you measure that?  What marks a leader?  What makes a leader?

For those of us who grew up at least a couple decades ago, the skills that people in the athletic culture might consider those of leaders were often born out of necessity.  We made up our own games to play.  We didn't play on organized teams until we were 7-8 years old, maybe older.  Our parents dropped us off at practice and picked us up when it was over.  I know that's a generalization and there are certainly exceptions, but that's what life was like for many of us.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Grrrrrr.....(by Coach Ryan)

In the fall of 1993, I guy I only knew by his radio call-in name of "Dan from Calhoun", identified himself as a major Philadelphia sports fan.  As the story goes, when Joe Carter hit the home run to win the World Series over the Phillies, Dan punched a hole in the Hitachi big-screen in his dorm's TV room.  21 years ago, that seemed like a pretty funny story, and maybe it was (for everyone other than whoever ended up footing the bill for a new TV).  However, in recent weeks that story has come home to roost in my house, and it's got me thinking.