Monthly Archives: October 2017

wiser sports leadership blog


DeAngelo Wiser

We see a lot of happy teams and coaches celebrating championships on social media, but how about those on the other end of the scoreboard? What was their reaction in a big game?

We often see players crying and expressing a wide range of emotions, but how about the coach or coaches? They do their best to stay strong and care for their players during this tough time, but for how long after that final horn? What’s next for them?

So I ask, how will you handle a season-ending loss? I’m not talking about your players or addressing your team. How do you personally deal with it? Many coaches have shared with me it’s one of the toughest times of the season, and through my own coaching experience I can agree fully.

Everything comes to a screeching halt. No more practices to plan. No more bus requests. No more interviews, no more games, no more demands. As coaches, we all thrive on demands and challenges. Days off or the end of the season are tough. So what now?

For most of us, it’s like a heavy fog has moved in and the coaching energy has dissipated. Often we head down that “should have, could have, what if road.” You know the one. That imaginary dirt road littered with dusty championship trophies that have our team’s name on them. It’s also the one where you beat yourself up with thoughts of, “did we really lose?… what if that goal had gone in? … I should have made this adjustment,” etc. And the one thought we can’t get out of our heads is, “I’ve let my team down.”

It’s something we all do, but it’s wasted energy draining our ability to function.

So can we avoid this situation completely? I don’t think so. If the game and your team mean anything to you, you’ll have these thoughts when you lose to end the season, and need time to sort it all out. The better question may be, “What can I do to reduce the time I feel this way?”

Many coaches take vacations directly after the season to completely get away and recharge their batteries. Personally I’ve found you can’t escape those emotions and thoughts for a while, regardless if you’re half way around the world.

So here are my suggestions:


Looking that loss right in the eye may be your best therapy. You’ll find top level coaches in their office the next day after their season ends. In their view, it serves no purpose to feel sorry for yourself or your team. After all, you’re the leader and you have to remain strong even when it’s tough. It doesn’t mean the loss doesn’t hurt. It’s just their way of competing against it. Keeping a routine even when the season ends is one of the best things you can do. It gives you purpose and hope for next season. You certainly won’t have as much to do as you would if you were still playing, but it’s enough to get you through this tough time. Take the time you would be practicing and work on next season.


Take what you learned from the loss and use it to your advantage in planning practice sessions and what you want to accomplish next year. Work on your schedule. Plan your own camps or team camps your team will attend. Add some variety to your schedule such as a weekend trip against some top teams. Research some new team building activities for ropes courses, or white water rafting. Also, think about some Friday night cookouts. These will bring a smile to your face as you think about all the players you have coming back, and what your team can accomplish.


Attend as many clinics, conventions or residential courses as possible. If you haven’t already, plan on starting or achieving the highest level license or diploma in your sport. Spending time with your colleagues will teach many lessons, such as that all coaches experience setbacks and wonderful moments. It’s also a great time to share strategies and ideas that have worked or failed miserably. Your passion batteries will be recharged in this setting, and, more importantly, you’ll see you’re not alone in anything you’ve experienced.


Set up speaking engagements with your local organizations promoting your program and get your team involved with charity events or businesses that need volunteers to assist those in need. Nothing shows us how un-important winning or losing a game is than seeing those who need our help and the joy or smiles we see. The lessons learned in this setting will last you and your players a lifetime.


Meet with your team as soon as possible with the plans you have for next season. They also will be experiencing a range of emotions from the season ending. Let them plan or create some of the activities for next year. They need a sense of purpose and relief as well. Talk with the young players you’ve recruited or who are in the feeder system of your program. Let them know how excited you are about them joining your team.


I know, I know. I said earlier you can’t escape the emotions of losing after the season. I still stand behind that statement, but the key is the timing. Wait until you’ve established somewhat of a routine and gotten over the sting. You’ll enjoy your vacation with those who care about you most when the dust has settled, and you’re thinking about next season with a smile and all the possibilities.

Every coach is different. We all have to deal with that season ending loss in our unique way. None of us wants it to happen, and it’s hard not to take it personally. Often our players have no idea the anguish we feel at that moment. But just like our players, we are resilient, we just don’t bounce back as quickly.

Experience can help in those situations, but it’s not a cure. There aren’t any quick fixes or solutions, just the knowledge that we’ll get through it. Getting back up and into your routine will lead you to a renewed passion for next season. That energy will come back strong as you realize you have the greatest job in the world!

Keep inspiring. Your players are counting on you.

wiser sports leadership blog


DeAngelo Wiser

What exactly is a hungry team and what does it look like? Are we able to recognize it? Have you shared the term and concept with your team?

We know that great talent trumps average talent most of the time, but what about teams that are evenly matched? We hear a lot about one team out working or being more determined than the other, and that’s how they come out on top. Where does that determination originate? Is it the personality of the team, the leader, their work ethic in practice or an obsession with what they are determined to accomplish?

I believe it comes from a deep-rooted hunger driven by many factors. Have you witnessed a game where one team seems totally committed to winning every 50/50 ball, every ball out of the air and plays with reckless abandon? Where does that drive come from? Is it a natural trait in some players? Why doesn’t every team have it or play this way?

Teams can often become content simply staying where they are with no drive or hunger to accomplish more, regardless of our efforts. Why is that? Often it’s what we allow them to do, giving in to mediocrity and comfort. Plus some players may not want to pay the price for attempting greatness knowing how much effort is required or the heartache if they come up short.

Why should they be hungry? We live in a society where compliments and encouragement dominate even when not merited while reality and honest appraisal are frowned on for potentially hindering self-esteem. As a coach we need to know which players have or are capable of developing hunger. Why? They’re the foundation of what we want to build and possibly the leaders we need to push us to greatness.

How can we create and develop a hunger in our team? Let’s look at some ideas:

1. Culture- Create a culture where losing without complete effort isn’t comfortable or accepted. A price must be paid for losing in competitive activities in practice. Not demeaning, just demanding. Build a practice environment that carries over to the game. Players need to learn that losing isn’t fun.

2. Bad losses- If your team played poorly or needs motivating, keep reminders of what they gave up or the score of a bad loss in the locker room. Hungry players won’t like it and will be motivated to prove doubters wrong. Avoid making excuses for the team and own it.

3. Benefits- Can you convey to your players why they should work hard to achieve greatness? Many have no clue what greatness is. Can you paint a picture or bring in others who have been there? Hold that vision up every day.

4. Reward- Highlight players who embrace hunger. Reward their determination. They may or may not have the talent of other players, but they represent what you’re building and want to see.

5. Model Relentlessness- Be relentless with every aspect of your coaching. Hunger starts with you. Set the standard and model it. When you’re satisfied with less than the best, your players will be as well. Keep your hunger burning bright as an example for your players. There will be days when it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

6. Honest/Real- Be upfront with players concerning their performance and efforts. If they aren’t carrying their weight they need to know it. If they need to sit out a game or lose their starting position, take care of it. When you talk with under performing players do it in a professional manner in your office away from the rest of the team.

7. Warriors- Designate one or two practices a week for 1 V 1 or 2 V 2 wars. When you establish an environment where players are competing against each other with a price for losing, you’re building hunger. You’ll readily see the warriors on your team, and their fire must spread to the rest of the team.

8. Adversity- Take your team to a homeless shelter or bring in a guest speaker who is battling adversity. Let them see what real, everyday hunger is, the ability to survive or the effort it takes to get through a day. They need to know what you’re asking is possible and how blessed they are to be able to attempt it.

9. Championship Venue- If you didn’t reach the championship game, take your team to see what it’s like. They need to experience all the fans, the glitz and glamour, the recognition the players receive and the jubilation of the winning team. Hopefully the experience will build hunger in your team to reach this level of greatness. They need to also know that teams that win it all will always be remembered and their legacy celebrated with reunions. If all else fails, show them a championship ring and remind them how good it would look on them.

You come to work every day with a hunger to lead your team to greatness. Frustration can grow when you don’t see the same hunger or drive in your team. How can they possibly know if they haven’t experienced it? Never stop sharing your vision of what hunger looks like.

It will take every ounce of energy you have, every moment of maintaining composure and the ability to make tough decisions to build a hunger in your team. Does it mean you’ll win a championship? No, but your team will know they gave it all they had every day, and left it all on the field. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

I wish you and your team the best in the post season!