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Full text of Kyle Stark email

From: Stark, Kyle

Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:22 PM

Subject: SECOND HALF – OUR WHAT

So what do we need to get done in the second half?

Over the last four days, we’ve reconnected with our WHY — turning boys into men so that we can re-bond a city with a baseball team and change the world through baseball. We’ve refocused and clarified our HOW — relentless, systematic and cohesive. All of these discussions have been tied to the ‘one thing’ that we need to move forward in the second half – we’ve trained them up, now we need to help them trust it and transfer it on the field. Which brings us to our WHAT …

As we talk about turning boys into men and developing them as PROs, this requires a few key characteristics. Those characteristics match our PRO values and are vividly captured by Bernie’s story about Olympic thrower Mac Wilkins and his views on what makes an Olympic champion. Mac explained that gold medal winners live by three golden rules — Dream and be creative like a Hippie. Have the discipline and perseverance of a Boy Scout. Be crazy and take risks like the Hells Angels. …

1. Dream like a Hippie — PASSION — Elite people have big dreams, are driven by those dreams, and believe that they can achieve them.

2. Prepare like a Boy Scout — RELENTLESS — Elite people have extreme work ethic, train exhaustively to get better, and prepare fully so they can be their best when their best is needed.

3. Trust like a Hell’s Angel — OWNERSHIP — Elite people trust their preparation, own their strengths and weaknesses, know what they do best and build conviction around it, and compete with reckless abandon.

The biggest impact we can have in the second half is developing more Hell’s Angels. We are really good at working before games. We excel at developing Boy Scouts. However, men play in the Big Leagues and that requires the reckless abandon of a Hell’s Angel. This is a mentality that is developed. It is a harder mentality to develop with less control, more gray area, and less science.  However, it is the separation between good coaches and great ones, good development systems and great ones, and good organizations and great ones.  Training guys to unleash what they’ve got is an art and needs to be our WHAT in the second half.

As you do some research on the Hell’s Angels, you come across three main qualities that set them apart and symbolize their mystique:

1. Swagger — There is an extreme confidence in themselves, their brothers, and what they’re about. They carry a chip on their shoulder and dare others to knock it off. They have an edge. Do our players have an edge? Do we have an edge? What are we doing to develop that edge?

2. Reckless abandon — Not only do they have an edge, but they live life on the edge. They’re described as free-spirited, which can be defined as somewhat irresponsible. They risk. They have no fear. They have a care-free and “care-less” attitude. You could argue that on one hand they care so much about who they are and what they do, but on the other hand they could care less in some areas such as what others think of them, of potential risks, of probabilities, etc. They’re more focused on possibilities than probabilities. They’re not consumed or swayed by what others think. They sell out to their purpose and live life fully and in-the-moment (“this pitch”). There has actually been a leadership book written about this approach to life, i.e. living life, experiencing it, and learning from your experiences. Their name comes from World War II fighting squadrons known for their extraordinary and dangerous feats of aviation. Do our players play with reckless abandon? Do we have reckless abandon? What are we doing to develop this mentality?

3. Bound by brotherhood — At the end of the day, they are fiercely loyal to each other. It is about the group and the bonds that exist between members. They can fight with each other, but someone external better not say anything negative about them. They love each other. Are our players bound by brotherhood? Are we bound by brotherhood? What are we doing to develop this bond?

As the calendar turns to July, we are selling out and committing to this approach. We’ve trained them. We need to train their trust now. Our focus should be on developing Hell’s Angels. That requires …

— Building confidence (helping players know what they do well, perfecting those traits so we’re not just working on weaknesses, speaking greatness into them, etc.)

— Encouraging risk (pushing players beyond their comfort zones, putting them in risky situations, viewing the risk as success rather than its result, celebrating risk taking, etc.)

— Going alongside them (being a ‘guide on the side’ rather than a ‘sage on the stage,’ asking questions rather than giving answers, celebrating aggressive failure and the lessons that come from it, etc.)

— Adding chaos and intensity to our training (get them out of their comfort zone, add stress, add competition to the work day, etc.)

— Preparing them to compete rather than training all the time (get the focus on the competition, shift our purpose to preparation rather than working a physical technique, outward focus rather than inward, etc.)

— Getting them outside of themselves and into the team (care about someone else, take care of each other, have each other’s back, etc.)

For this to happen, we must get out of our comfort zones and flex our own Hell’s Angel muscle. We must be extreme in our commitment to these ideas. This is ultimately about developing a mentality and a culture where this becomes our identity. A culture of risk and less control is unsettling for us control freaks!  However, it is the answer to letting skill out and WHAT we need to do in the second half.

LB and Bernie will be following up with more details as we move forward. Sell out and commit to this. Coach with swagger, reckless abandon, and bounded by brotherhood and we’ll see those same traits in our players.

HOKA HEY — It’s a good day to die!!!

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