30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Friday, April 30, 2010

Generation Y

I recently read the book Gen Y Now. Great book that described the seventy million born from 1977 to 1992. They are called Generation Y, as opposed to my generation, Generation X, and my father's generation, the Baby Boomers. There are seventy million Boomers, forty million X'ers, and seventy million Y's.

The book examined this current younger generation, and explained that we must, at the least, understand them. As the Boomers retire and die, the Y generation will have us, the X generation outnumbered about 2 to 1. So, we may not like how they are different, but we must understand that they are different because they will be our workforce and also in charge. With the upcoming work shortage, Boomers retiring, we have to deal with the Y generation and not just stereoptype and "write them off".

Some of the key points that the book brought up about Generation Y is that they are a group that feels a sense of entitlement more than any other previous generation in U.S. History. They are not disloyal, yet it comes off as selfish, being treated unfairly or if you aren't doing something that can relate to a greater good, they will quit on you. And they are communicators.

Gen Y has a sense of entitlement because they are the first generation that has been given almost every whim from the moment of their birth. They have been given more toys as children than X'ers and Boomers had their entire lives. They have had every moment photographed and videotaped and treated as supremely special most of their entire lives. Their parents have taken care of them and allowed them to make mistakes with the option of always falling back on them, whether it be defending them when they are clearly wrong, or allowing them to move back into home when marriages or jobs fail.

If you as a boss or a coach do not make Gen Y feel special or that you are working for a greater good, they will leave. Whether it be physcially or psychologically. The reason why is that their parents will allow them to. This generation is allowed to quit teams, work and know that they will be supported by their parents. There is no negative stigma attached to quitting or moving on with this generation, and often it is seen as them standing up for what they believe in.

This generation is also great communicators. With the Internet, twitter, facebook, cell phones, texting, instant messaging, computers, television, cable, DVR's and many other technological advances this generation is communicating constantly. If you as a leader do not communicate with them, they will feel as if something is wrong. X'ers and Boomers almost stayed away from leaders and the only time they did communicate with leaders was when they were in trouble. Y'ers crave communication. They need feedback. It doesn't necessarily have to be positive, but they want to know where they stand, almost daily.

Very detailed book on Generation Y, and above I have written only a few of the items discussed. The biggest obstacle for Generation Y is the thoughts and stereotypical beliefs of the Boomers and X'ers. I did not always agree with what the book offered, but it did help me to first understand that this generation is different, and also why they are. If you are a coach or "boss", I would recommend this book. Even parents or grandparents could get something out of this book to try and understand their children or grandchildren.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Elementary camps...

I often hear that coaches do not do enough for their programs. Often it is a criticism that the coach doesn't have elementary or jr. high camps, they don't have enough camps or if they do, the stuff that goes on isn't good enough.

All of those items could be debated as could playing time, playing style and every other thing that coaches are criticized for, but one item rarely brought up is participation. The doors can be open, but if the kids do not come, it isn't the coaches fault.

As coaches, we want as many kids in the gym as possible. I have tried different times of the year, different payment scales, and different items given out at camp besides knowledge and I have found that none of those variables hinders attendance.

I run my camps in the fall and spring and I realize that I will have some conflict with youth football and baseball, but I have had the camps during the summer with little conflict and have as many students show up either way. So, I have decided to do what is convenient for myself and family.

In the summer, I spend many hours with my high school players now that we can practice and play games, so camps are held during the school year before our practice begins and after our season ends.

Email me at with feedback on what I can do to increase the numbers at my camps. I realize that football and baseball will be in the way of school camps, but non school camps have equal attendance. I go for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. I give out a t-shirt every single time, and often have prizes for individuals each day. When I get a large number of anything free with HHS on it, I give it away.

I would love to have camps where we need to use 3 gyms and so many boys that we are overcrowded, but it has not been the scenario as yet.