Good piece in The Athletic ($$) about how coaches have to adapt — if they have to adapt, that is — to life after the transfer portal.
Two quotes worth sharing, the first being from Nick Saban.
“You have to make it about them. This is the most self-absorbed generation there’s ever been,” Saban said.“There’s more information — internet, Facebook, Twitter — coming at ’em. It’s hard for them to focus on exactly what they have to do and make commitments to be successful because they get positive self-gratification from so many other things. So now you expect them to walk into a room and just buy in to what you say? You’ve gotta show them in some kind of way how it’s gonna benefit them to do the things you want them to do. And I think this has been key to our success.”
Just as important, Saban argued, you have to learn how to reach every player for who they are and what their attitude is. You have to understand how they see the world, not just how you see it.
“I think that’s very important for all of us, to sort of adapt and adjust as we go through what we do,” he said.
This is why the man is a stone-cold fabulous recruiter. He knows his audience and he knows how to sell his program to his audience. (Of course, it helps that he’s got a credible track record to go along with his sales pitch.) Swag may get you in the door, but it takes more than swag to sign elite class after elite class.
It also takes burying one’s ego a little, too, something that’s got to be hard when you’re an alpha male at the top of your profession. Here’s something from Stanford’s David Shaw about that:
“We are some of the biggest self-interest group there is, right?” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “So we want to be great recruiters, and then when it doesn’t go well, we also want to blame the young people for these decisions. We have a big stake in that. We have a big part in shaping the mentality of the young people that we recruit. When a young man transfers after a year, then there was something wrong with the process.”
I think the header to this post expresses the right attitude for a coach to take, but if you can’t make a talented kid see the value in his role on the team and the process going forward, that’s on you as a coach… unless you no longer see that value, either.