A Radical Thought

[Article 1 of NSCAA 2015 Series]
At the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention this year I spent some time with about 500 coaches discussing how we go about “Training and Empowering Team Leaders”. This series of articles on my blog will walk you through my presentation and unpack even more how we can be intentional about this topic.

I need to set the stage a bit before getting into specifics about training and empowering team leaders. I want to start by sharing two thoughts that could radically change the way you approach your job.


Pat Summit – Tennessee Women’s Basketball

First, you are NOT in the soccer business. I know this comes as a surprise. Honestly, you are in the PEOPLE business. It would be fantastic if we could say the 4-3-3 or the passing pattern we did last week at practice brought us the wins. All the strategies in the world will not move you past this mere fact…you win with PEOPLE. I saw an interview with Pat Summit, the legendary women’s basketball coach at Tennessee, and when she said “you win with people” it changed everything in my coaching career. The best soccer strategy out there cannot win a match if 11 people out on the pitch are not all on the same page, trusting each other, working hard for each other, dealing with their ‘self’ issues, focusing on the team definition of success.

Each player comes to you with their own emotions, perceptions, assumptions, backgrounds, upbringing, childhood experiences that shaped the way they live, etc.

This list could go on and on. As a coach my job is to get all of these unique individuals to believe in each other, perform consistently at a high level and pursue the team’s vision of success. This is not easy. Because it’s not easy, coaches sometimes rely too much on the soccer strategy when in reality, if we just looked at our players as people, we might be given hints as to how to get the wins and get to the next level.

When you look at your players, do you see SOCCER PLAYERS or PEOPLE? I challenge you to see your players first as PEOPLE and consider how you can influence them on a personal level and also on a collective level. Intentional focus on the “intangibles” will be worth it. I promise.

Next Article: Another radical thought that could change the way you approach your job

© 2015 Donna Fishter Consulting, LLC

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Strategy For Individual Development

Every athlete wants to be at the top of his or her game when it counts. What does it take? How does an athlete stay at the top? What kind of investment does an athlete need to make in the process?

I’ve created a program that will assist athlete’s in the journey to the top. Just as a soldier puts on ‘armor’ to get ready for battle…these development modules will get an athlete ready for the competitive battle and keep an athlete at the top.

Knight armorCheck out my strategic plan for an athlete’s individual development with specific focus on these areas: goal setting, self-evalution, enhanced performance, mental & emotional intelligence, and personal growth.
[click link below]

Premier Player Training (PPT) Development Plan

Email info@donnafishter.com for more information

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What is Team Culture?

by Donna Fishter
team1The phrase ‘team culture’ is often times used synonymously with team chemistry, team building, and teamwork. All four are high priority, but are they the same thing? After a lot of thinking, I have concluded that these concepts are similar… but different. Team chemistry, team building, and teamwork are necessary parts to the whole of team culture. Here is my vantage point.

Team chemistry is a product of getting along. It’s about how your players ‘combine’. What happens when they get together in the same room or on the field or court together? I always think of chemistry class where we combine different chemicals and get a reaction. Will the chemicals be compatible or will there be an explosion? For me, team chemistry is mainly about how the players combine in the same space and the reactions that take place. Are the players getting along? Are they able to combine forces and work together?

Teamwork is what they do together… how they function together to work towards a goal. It’s the concept of ‘we before me’.  It is everyone working together to achieve success.

Team building is an event that reveals different qualities about individual players and/or the team as a whole. It’s the challenging and sometimes fun exercises we do to build our knowledge about the personalities on the team. Planning a team building session allows coaches to gather information. Team building can help coaches predict team chemistry.

So how is team culture different than these?

Leadership guru, John Maxwell says…
“The most important aspect of an
organization is culture.”

Culture is simply defined as the ‘beliefs and behaviors of a group of people’.  Thus Maxwell is saying the beliefs and behaviors of your players are the most important aspect of your team. What do your players believe about themselves? What do they believe about you as their coach? What do they believe about the team? And then how do they behave based on the answers to these questions. What are their habits when they are together and when they are alone? I’ve had coaches ask me, “Can I really change what a person believes?” YES you can! And it is a MUST if you want to be successful.

Coaches are leaders who can intentionally mold and shape the beliefs and behaviors of their players. Team culture is created when the true essence of a team is clearly defined, when a strategy for success is accepted, and when a sense of belonging ignites ownership in the final results.

In the weeks ahead I will be sharing some key ideas that will help you mobilize a strong team culture. This is the edge to gaining a competitive advantage.

© 2013 Donna Fishter Consulting, LLC

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Are You A Positive Contributor?

by Donna Fishter


Every team and organization has a picture of success. And usually leaderswill talk specifically to everyone about being “bought in” or “on board” with the goals of the team. If you are “on board”, that’s great! But are you being a positive contributor and helping the ship sail or are you just dead weight on the deck of the ship.

Here are 2 ways to keep yourself in check to make sure you are a positive contributor for your team everyday.

1. Constantly ask yourself questions that start with “what” and “how” instead of “why”. We naturally ask questions like… “Why is this happening? Why did he/she do that? Why do you have a bad attitude? Why can’t you do better?” If we ask the questions “what can I _________” or “how can I ________” then we end up engaged and ready to act. Asking questions that start with “what” and “how” changes our vantage point to be influential instead of just observant.

2. Keep yourself in check by evaluating your effort and performance everyday. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being your best day ever and 1 is when you want to go bury your head in the sand, where do you land on the scale? This is a way to keep yourself accountable to be at your best everyday for your team. If you are working to get better in a certain area you can adjust the scale to track accordingly. I call it the EP Scale (effort/performance). At day’s end you have 2 numbers. Tomorrow those numbers need to be consistent or increase a notch or two.

My philosophy is a person is either adding to or taking away from the team. You are either helping or hurting the team. There is no in between just to hang out and be dead weight. You can be a factor in moving your team forward.

Are you a positive contributor?
How can you be better tomorrow?

© 2013 Donna Fishter Consulting, LLC

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Stronger Together

By Donna Fishter
Have you ever been lost? I mean REALLY lost. The kind of lost where that helpless feeling starts to overwhelm you and thoughts begin to run through your mind, “will I get out of here” or “will someone eventually find me”?

stronger together2

About a year ago I had a taste of this feeling when I was hiking in North Georgia. The hike began to get longer than I had anticipated and the paper map was not matching the GPS coordinates on the “Map My Hike” phone app. I knew the sun would be disappearing soon as well as the battery on my phone. I began to contemplate scrapping the “Map My Hike” app as it was draining my battery because what if I got to the point where I needed to call 9-1-1? But, surely having this app track my steps via satellite was going to help. Decisions.

I had my dog with me and she was getting tired. At some point I knew I would have to carry my 20 pound little girl. As I knelt to get water out of my backpack for both of us I looked down and saw a footprint. This was definitely NOT a large raccoon and I knew there was no way a great dane was in the woods. So I concluded that it was indeed a bear paw-print … or should I say CLAW print. So fresh it was that I actually moved my head slowly around to see if this bear was staring at me already licking its chops.

NOW it was “game on” and I had to get my dog and I out of there! Nothing against my dog as she is my best friend, but…if I could have had anything at that moment it would be another human being. There is strength found when human spirits are united in passion and purpose. More minds thinking and more hearts acting are better than one. We are stronger together.

Being a coach I immediately relate things to sports. Although not a life or death situation by any means, the athletic field is an environment where we experience this bond between human spirits. There is a synergy created when teammates commit together with purpose and passion to go after their dreams. So much can be accomplished when you are not alone.

Commit to your teammates and pursue success.
We are stronger together.

Who makes you stronger?

© 2013 Donna Fishter Consulting, LLC

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