“Intentional Team Culture and Climate” - Theresa Beeckman (Episode 6)

May 23, 2017

In this episode we meet Coach Theresa Beeckman from the great state of Michigan. I first met “Tree” when she presented at the Michigan HS State Volleyball clinic this spring. She's about “team culture” and all of those things not associated with X’s & O’s (you know…most of the important stuff). I was so impressed with what she said that I asked her to be on the podcast! She is currently working as a speaker/consultant for teams interested in trying to establish a winning culture. Tree has worked with volleyball and football teams (some college) and draws her knowledge from many sports and coaches (PJ Fleck of Minnesota is a big one).

 

In the first part, we discuss the importance of culture and its status in a winning program. Tree talks about the 2 roots of culture, connection and expected behavior, and what they mean. For example, if someone came into one of our practices or games, could they be able to tell what our values are? Sometimes coaches speak the words, but don’t back up the talk (YES!). We then look at how she tries to implement her culture using her season calendar, much like Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Such days as “Maturing Monday” and “Take Over Tuesday” are discussed. Tree feels that a coach should, as author Tim Elmore believes, stain the brains of their team.

 

In the second segment we finish up the week calendar before going on to discuss the current climate of coaching in today’s world. Too many coaches are exiting the job robbing us of the development of “master” class of coaches (the wise ones). Outside pressures are causing this and it is tougher to coach today.  Tree tells a story of her own high school football career (yes…she played football!) and how one day changed her life forever. It seems that today, society is robbing many of our younger players the chance to have the same experience. We end up commenting at how important athletics is to the development of people and hopes that saner minds prevail.

 

This was a joy to do.  I have gone to many of clinics in my career, but 98% of the speakers focused on X’s and O’s. But deep down, I would have to say that the most important aspect of a successful team is CULTURE! Give it a listen!!!!

 

Theresa Beeckman’s website:  http://www.theresabeeckman.com/

 

Thanks to Audio Out Studios (Peru, IL) www.audioout.org (815.343.9484 or jeff@audioout.org)

 

 

GUEST: Theresa “Tree” Beeckman

 

HOSTED BY: Scott Olson

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“Leadership: Not taught…but caught!” - Pat Sullivan (Episode 5)

April 18, 2017

In this episode we meet Coach Pat Sullivan, who I consider a true scholar of the game of basketball and of coaching. He has won over 500 college games, been the director of Medalist and Milwaukee Bucks camps, written a book on leadership, and is currently publishing a blog and is a speaker for business, school, and athletic organizations. Over his career Pat has rubbed shoulders with the likes of coaching greats John Wooden, Gregg Popovich, Al McGuire, Rick Majerus, Dean Smith, and the like (great list, huh?).

 

In the first part, Pat discusses his views on the current state of the game of basketball. He shares with us what he sees are the positives and negatives of basketball, and goes on to detail the 3 biggest challenges coaches face nowadays (I would guess one of them won’t be a surprise). Pat also looks at some of the rule changes and how they affected the strategies that are employed by teams. He then addresses the “essentials” that are still true in the game, past or present. During this section Pat also drops nuggets he learned from the coaching and player greats who he had the chance to work with or observe (Michael Jordan being one of those). Not surprisingly, he spends some of this time on Gordie Gillespie, with whom he worked side by side for many years at the University of St. Francis.

 

In the second segment we go into the realm of leadership, an area that Pat wrote about extensively in his book “Attitude – the Cornerstone of Leadership”. Many coaches today moan about the shortage of leaders in today’s athletics and we analyze this surprising problem. Pat hits on the key traits that he feels that leaders must possess. And he hits on them again! He then goes on to suggest why some players don’t try to take on the challenge and why others fail. Regarding the “born or learned” question, Pat believes that leaders can be developed, but that many of us are not helping the situation. In fact, he believes that leadership can be “caught” from others. Finally, Pat talks about empowerment and some current examples of leaders in today’s world.

 

Listening to Coach Pat Sullivan is much like sitting in on a doctorate class taught by a distinguished professor. His experiences and observations provide a wealth of information that would help any teacher, coach, or player.  So take some time to listen to the Wisdom of Coach Sullivan…a coaches’ coach!!

 

 

Pat’s book:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Attitude-Cornerstone-Leadership-Pat-Sullivan/dp/1482708582

 

Thanks to Audio Out Studios (Peru, IL) www.audioout.org (815.343.9484 or jeff@audioout.org) and also thanks to the IBCA.

 

 

GUEST: Pat Sullivan

 

HOSTED BY: Scott Olson

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“1st Mr. Basketball Illinois” - Walter Downing (Episode 4)

March 28, 2017

In this episode we meet Walter Downing, a McDonalds’ All-American, the first Mr. Basketball (1981) of Illinois, a collegiate player at both Marquette and DePaul, and a Los Angeles Laker draft choice during the Kareem & Magic years.

 

In the first part Walter goes back to the start as an 8th grader and his impact on the Providence HS program. A third place State finish as a freshman, a State champ as a sophomore, and the epic OT battle against the #1 team in the U.S. (Quincy) during his Jr. year at the Pontiac tournament solidified him as a major player in Illinois HS history. We also discuss his uncanny knack for blocking shots.

 

In the middle segment we get a look into the recruiting process of Walter. He agonized over the choice of playing for either Ray Meyer (DePaul) or Rick Majerus (Marquette).  The expectations placed on him early, especially by the Chicago media, caused Walter to begin to doubt himself. DePaul was a national powerhouse then and NBA star Mark Aguirre had just left.  Yes, an All-American and teammate of Michael Jordan in 2 national all-star games, was having to deal with the issues that lesser players think was only their problem. He persevered, grew from it, and changed scenery.  In the end, his stay at Marquette ironically was like going home again.

 

 

The last section hits on his short time with the NBA champ LA Lakers. The trials of rookie camp and the prospect of having to guard multiple Hall of Fame players are brought to light.  A strong camp had him on the verge of making the team, but an unfortunate knee injury put an end to that.  After a few pro years in Europe, though, Walter turned to his other early love—“music”.  He relates how both are related to each other and even gives us a sample of his bass “chops”. He has gone so far as being a member and manager of the band Funkshunal Groove.

 

I wish I could have kept the tape rolling!  Some later stories of Michael Jordan, his thoughts on coaching young players today, and his views on education unfortunately will have to be revisited on a later show. We had to stop recording…dang!

 

 

Thanks to Audio Out Studios (Peru, IL) www.audioout.org (815.343.9484 or jeff@audioout.org)

 

GUEST: Walter Downing

 

HOSTED BY: Scott Olson

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“The Ref’s View” (Episode 3)

March 13, 2017

The game of basketball affords people various vantage points. In this podcast, two veteran IHSA officials, Marty Flaherty and Jim Knauf, give their take on what the referees see and shed some light on do. Early on we spoke about their starts in this career and the early challenges they faced and how they handled them. Jim and Marty then detailed much of what they learned during the course of officiating a game.  They also pulled back the curtain and gave us a view of pregame, in-game, and post-game conversations.

 

In the middle segment both of them reflected on working downstate in the IHSA finals and what it meant. They went on to recall their most "memorable" games (the Orion/Sherrard regional game made the list...a game I witnessed from the bench).

 

The last section focused on getting younger officials started, advice on the job itself, the game's toughest calls, technical fouls, coaches/fans, and how being an official has impacted their lives outside of basketball.  Both Jim and Marty said that if they had the chance, that they would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

 

So give it a listen. Get a better understanding of the game.

Thanks to Audio Out Studios (Peru, IL) www.audioout.org (815.343.9484 or jeff@audioout.org)

GUESTS: Marty Flaherty and Jim Knauf

 

HOSTED BY: Scott Olson

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“I’ve Been Fortunate” w/Gene Heidkamp (Episode 2)

February 28, 2017

(Episode 3  “Gene Heidkamp- I’ve Been Fortunate”)

 

In this episode we meet one of the fine coaches in Illinois, Gene Heidkamp (Benet Academy/Nazareth) whose team finished 2nd in the state in 2016 and has been a powerhouse in the Chicagoland area in recent years. He has also had the chance to coach such stars as NBA-er Frank Kaminski (Wisconsin), Sean O’Mara (Xavier), and Dave Sobolewski (Northwestern).

 

In the first part Gene discusses the value of being an assistant coach (St. Patrick under Mike Bailey) for 9 years as helping him develop into a head coach. He learned the game there and knows the role of a good assistant and the relationship with the head coach. He then goes on to explain how working summer basketball camps (such as Hoop Mountain Midwest) has added to his coaching IQ. Next, he discusses the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, his success there, and why it is a key section of his yearly schedule (he even mentions the off-the-court time, including Dairy Queen).

 

In the middle segment we venture into the world of X’s and O’s. Schemes, philosophies, player development vs just running plays, and the values of playing man defense are discussed. He also relates his ideas on beating pressure and last second possessions. He drops the names of some respected coaches here (I’ll let you guess) and even said that he has “borrowed” some effective plays from his opponents. Gene has also had to adapt his style from small teams to those that featured major college recruits and he explains the thoughts he has had throughout the process. 

 

 

The last section hits on his time coaching at 3 private schools and the things he has learned. His reflections on how fortunate he has been to coach such fine people, from star to the last player on the bench, is truly powerful.

 

I recognize some Brad Stevens (Butler/Celtics) in his ideas and demeanor.  A must listen for all coaches!!

 

 

Thanks to Audio Out Studios (Peru, IL) www.audioout.org (815.343.9484 or jeff@audioout.org)

 

 

GUESTS: Gene Heidkamp

 

HOSTED BY: Scott Olson

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“Adapt and Move On” w/ John Coons (Episode 1)

February 23, 2017

(Episode 1)  John Coons- "Adapt and Move On” 

 

Athletics is a great teacher and sometimes the lessons learned are the product of losing seasons or don’t come to a person until years later. In this first episode, John Coons, a teacher and collegiate umpire (and former Triple A umpire), goes back over his high school career as a 3-sport athlete and relates how this period set his foundation for later on. The first segment of the podcast covers his time as an under-sized 2-way player on a losing football team and how it impacted his view on “attitude”. It provided challenges and forced him to develop a mindset. He also speaks on the values of being a multiple sport athlete during his high school days (some discussion on specialization).

 

In the middle segment we dive into the process of “adapting” in order to succeed. John explains how this helped him and how the lack of this ability has caused problems for others. He also relates his time as a walk-on college football player at Southern Illinois and why he did it. This is also where John got introduced into the field of umpiring, a profession that he went professional in and advanced all the way to the door of the Major Leagues.

 

The last section focused on John’s times in professional baseball and the things he learned. Things like not letting a “bad” call affect the next, why some super athletes just don’t make it out of the minors, and why David Wright (New York Mets All-Star) was one of his favorite players. We close with some of the lessons that he learned from sports and how they have helped him as both a teacher and an umpire.

 

So give it a listen.  Sometimes early struggles and adversity have a way of paying off later!

 

 

Thanks to Audio Out Studios (Peru, IL) www.audioout.org (815.343.9484 or jeff@audioout.org)

 

GUESTS: John Coons

 

HOSTED BY: Scott Olson

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