Essential Coaching

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Twitter – @Rastogi_Aseem @coachk424

What We Discuss with Aseem Rastogi & Kyle Kavanaugh

  • Aseem’s journey from being a manager for the women’s team at Old Dominion to his current position as an assistant at Brandeis University
  • Kyle’s journey from a music scholarship at Louisiana Tech to losing his first head coaching job.
  • Transactional vs. Transformational Coaching
  • Figuring out what works for you as a coach and what doesn’t
  • How Aseem and Kyle met during a Read & React Webinar and then connected in person through Lead ’em Up
  • The relationship between being a good teacher and being a good coach
  • Recognizing the importance of the human component in coaching
  • Character is the repeatability of good habits
  • It’s not about what you can draw up. It’s about what you can get them to do
  • The influence of Lead ’em Up Founder Adam Bradley
  • How the Virtual Coaching Clinic and the Pandemic pushed them to start Essential Coaching
  • The process for starting Essential Coaching from concept to reality
  • Similar problems in different contexts
  • Working with coaches in a variety of sports
  • The concept of collective IQ that comes from working with others and how Essential Coaching taps into that
  • Understanding external formulas in coaching
  • A symphony of sharing among coaches in Essential Coaching
  • Essential Coaching’s Mission is to create exponential generational change by creating the deepest connected coaching community in the world
  • Find your seat, relax, connect
  • Their “Feel Good” Channel
  • Your values, your inner voice, your mission, your vision, all of those things are where the solution can align
  • It’s not somebody else’s solution, it’s your solution
  • Helping coaches discover solutions with questions

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast from Essential Coaching, Aseem Rastogi and Kyle Kavanaugh. Guys, welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast.

Aseem Rastogi: [00:00:16] Thank you so much for having us.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:18] Absolutely. We are excited to have you guys on dig into your new venture and the impact that you’re trying to have on the coaching profession.

It’s something that is very near and dear to our heart here. And after having seen some of the things that you guys are putting out there, it aligns with many of the themes that we’ve had run through our podcasts over the course of time that we’ve been doing it. So thought it would be a great opportunity to get you guys in and let you share some of what you’ve been doing.

I want to go back in time to when you guys were younger and why don’t we start with you as same. And just tell us a little bit about how you got into the game of basketball as a kid, and then we’ll throw it over to Kyle after you finish up.

Aseem Rastogi: [00:00:56] Yeah, no, I, and first off, just appreciate you guys having us [00:01:00] on it is a really neat opportunity to share the game and to really just spread the message of what we’re trying to do.

But as far as my background, I am probably, I don’t have a very typical path to this point in time, when I was younger, I fell in love with the game at like five years old. And like one of the memories that I have of this is like when the secretary or somebody comes down to your classroom, when you’re a little kid and they’re like, we have a letter to go home for a seam and everybody in the class, it’s like, Ooh, I thought I was in trouble, but really not.

My mom had called the school to be like, Hey, are there any sports leagues around? Because we don’t really know. And our son is kind of raising hell in the house, so let’s get him doing something active. And so she had actually asked. the school to recommend a basketball league. And I ended up playing in that basketball league all through high school which means I did not make a team when I was in high school. so, and I sort of carry that as a point of pride for myself is that I didn’t have the [00:02:00] plain career that a lot of people. You know, who go into coaching or who go into coaching at a high level. I see him.

Jason Sunkle:  I’m so glad to have you on the podcast.  You’re like the first person ever that’s like me and didn’t make a high school team. So welcome.

Mike Klinzing: [00:02:13] All right, so you got to see him. You got Jason in early man. That’s good work. You got them in what you got them in within two minutes of the podcast, you’re doing something right, you might have to win an award here.

Aseem Rastogi: [00:02:24] Record time, record time. But yeah, so like I fell in love with the game, but there was no market for a fiv- nine Indian guy with no skills who just couldn’t move up and down the court. Right. Like when I was younger, I was bigger than everybody. So they stuck me on the block and that’s kind of the way that coaching was.

And coaching still is a lot of times. and then everybody else outgrew me and there was no market for my skills on the court. And so I knew I wanted to stay involved and long story short is I go from that to refereeing and [00:03:00] coaching all through high school, all through college at Old Dominion, I got an opportunity when Wendy Larry was still the head coach at Old Dominion University.

I got a chance to be a manager on the women’s basketball team there my senior year, while still working in athletics and working in student affairs office bridging the gap between athletics and the normal regular student body. and then went from there, went off to the university of Oklahoma on a full graduate assistantship.

And was coaching high school out there. So I was like a freshmen boys assistant my first year out in Oklahoma and grad school and our practices were at like six in the morning, cause it was a zero hour class out in Oklahoma was the freshmen, boys basketball. and then once I graduated, like I got to take it off that freshmen boys program graduated from Oklahoma with my masters in intercollegiate athletic administration and adult and higher education, started my real life. My career at the D one level, at VCU as the director of player personnel for the women’s team [00:04:00] and learned a lot about what not to do in that job. And granted, like, I was not very good at my job.

But also the situation that existed and like the mentorship and all of that was like exactly the opposite of what you should do. so when we talk about like, we’re, and we’ll get into this a little bit later, but like the transactional coaching versus the transformational coaching, I learned really well, the transactional parts of running a program.

But then the transformational parts of how to treat people and all of those things, I learned what not to do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I learned what to do. And so as somebody with no, necessarily, I really like experienced quote unquote as a player. I found myself learning all of those things as an adult.

So fast forward. I actually get an opportunity to be, I leave that job after being promoted, go and spend about three months overseas with my family who all live in [00:05:00] the UK and in Canada and come back, transitioned into teaching after coaching for a little while, and like working at a rec center, just kind of getting my bearings after being back in the country.

and I transitioned into teaching. And so a year and a half after leaving VCU, I get the job at my Alma mater to coach as the head girls’ basketball coach at Woodson high school. And from there, I spent three years there rebuilt that program. And then they call me in the day before teaching contracts supposed to start and say, we’re going in a different direction, no expert, no nothing, but I’m still teaching at that school.

I’m just not going to be the basketball coach. So down the street, there’s a rival school. Their parents start calling me, their players start reaching out their administration. Everybody starts reaching out. They’re like, Hey, we saw what you did. We played against you for three years. We never beat you guys.

Come over here. We need a head coach. So I’d take that job two weeks after being, let go. And this is [00:06:00] where Kyle was instrumental throughout that entire process. Our relationship really blossomed. And we’ll get into that after he shares his story. but taking over at South County high school was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me and being, let go was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me because it allowed me to see the perspective of like what, I’m going to do this thing my way. And I know what I was doing was right. And that’s going to be validated, the way that I run the program, the exact same way at a place that appreciates that, which is where it really, the human component part was born.

We just hadn’t phrased it that way. And so it really took over there, had some great success. And now I’m entering year two after leaving that job to move with my fiance up to, to Massachusetts, a mentor in year two as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Brandeis university, just outside of Boston.

And couldn’t, couldn’t be happier. then to be in the situation that I’m in and then working with the people that I’m working with, but especially, Kyle through essential coaching.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:58] Alright, Kyle, I’ll throw it to [00:07:00] you. I got a couple of follow up questions for Aseem, but I want to hear your part of it.

And then we’ll jump back and ask you both a couple of questions.

Kyle Kavanaugh: [00:07:06] Yeah. again, thanks for having us on here real quick. We heard if you’ve heard Aseem’s story, you’ve heard pretty much my story. I mean, two people that probably couldn’t be from more different places and probably had different paths kind of growing up, perhaps.

I have dealt with a lot of the same things at very similar times. and so for your listeners out there, this is, they didn’t skip back five minutes, but they’re going to hear a lot of the same stuff. I did play growing up. I did play in high school. loved playing a lot of different variety of sports as a kid.

You know, I watched. Christian Laettner hit the shot in 91 or so I was like six years old. And so I was like, man, I want to do that one day. and so I grew up playing a variety of sports and fell in love with basketball and gave up doing some other things to focus on that, played in high school.

And had probably two of the smallest colleges you’ve never had in the country [00:08:00] reach out about play in there and had a decision to make and made a really difficult decision to sort of walk away from basketball, which is what I thought that I wanted to do. but I was actually also in the band. So I have a also, I think I have a little bit of a, a unique path back to basketball.

I went to Louisiana Tech on a music scholarship. And it was on the drum line there for four years and got a lot of really great opportunities and learned a ton doing that. I actually credit my music experience, for a lot of my growth and development, and learned a lot more from my band director.

Believe it or not. Then I did a lot of the coaches that I played for and when I was finishing up my education degree, at, Louisiana Tech, it was a coaching change and Kerry Rupp came in and took over, at Louisiana Tech and was very fortunate to get a graduate assistant position, under him for two years.

And again, very much like Aseem. You sort of learn the ins and outs of how to run a program. The very transactional side of things where [00:09:00] uniforms come from, how the water bottles get filled, who actually prints off those scouting reports, how recruits get information, how practices get set up, sat down.

the amount of time that it takes the amount of detail that it takes, and you really sort of opened your eyes, like you grew up loving and playing the sport and you realize for the first time you don’t know anything about it. and so I, I, I knew that I wanted, it’s a coach. I actually went to school to start it out, to be a physical therapist.

And I was like, no, that’s just not what I want to do. I want to coach and I want to teach. And, so getting in that way was a big eye opening experience, especially getting to see it at that, at that level, and would love to have stayed on there. The program was doing pretty well picking up and I  really wanted to hang on, but they didn’t have the space or the money or anything like that. And I was getting married at 24 years old and needed a job. And so I jumped into the high school ranks in Rustin, as an assistant coach did that for one season and was extremely fortunate to [00:10:00] get my first head coaching job later that year at 24 at Cedar Creek school in Ruston itself.

A small private school there and really took my lumps, trying to figure the whole head coaching thing out, did not have really any sort of mentorship outside of what I got at Tech and what you learn as a GA at a D one university. There’s not a whole lot of that that really translates down to the high school level.

You have to actually go put the M&Ms out at the concession stand. You’ve got to call the officials and make sure they’re going to be there. You’ve got to sweep the floor. You’ve got to change the lights. You know, the net rips, you’re responsible for getting one, just all of those things that you don’t really realize are going to be on your plate.

And then, Oh, by the way, we have to actually coach basketball. And then, Oh, by the way, there’s this whole human component side of things that was getting sort of swept under the rug and was the last thing that we were really focusing on. And so I did, yeah. That for seven years. And this is where a seam and I’s story really sort of parallel.

I was brought in one day, on a, on a [00:11:00] Monday after spring break at one o’clock and was told that they were making a change and they were going to go into a different direction. Didn’t know why didn’t understand why it was completely out of the blue. but it was let go and then had to finish the year teaching at that school and sort of figuring things out.

And obviously, my dad told me when I got into coaching and he said there’s two types of coaches, those that have been fired. And those that will be, and he was right. And you sorta go through every emotion that you can. Possibly imagine you’re, you’re mad, you’re upset.

I mean, that was my program. I was 24 when I got that job. Those kids were my kids. That, that program was my baby. I’d put every single thing I had to in it. and, and was confused. And I mean, I was, I was sad. I cried, I was mad. I was all of those things. But things happen and they happen for a reason.

And I was very, very fortunate with that. Our same parish. I jumped across town to Simsboro High School. Josh Brown [00:12:00] recruited me to come over there and is a extremely well known program in Louisiana, small class B. They don’t have football. All they do is play basketball and it was really sort of a dream scenario for me to get to go over there and coach with him, and be a part of two back-to-back, state championship teams.

And get to have my hand in that. And I like going from year one to year two, that like I had sort of vindicated myself, like, yes, I know how to coach it. Wasn’t me. And, and, there, there’s another story in there that maybe we can get to a little bit later, but I had to sort of. Come back to my center and get back to this human component piece.

that, that is, and I talk about all the time. yeah. And after going from being fired and the very next two years winning back-to-back state championships and sort of, well, on our way to winning a third, we were sort of a shoe in to win a third one. I actually walked away from coaching and made a really difficult decision last summer.

Oh, well, two summers ago now, to leave Simsboro and as life [00:13:00] gets even crazier, I went back to the school that had, let me go, to take a teaching job there. My little girl was four years old and she was going into pre-K and it was the best possible situation for her. And so I had a really difficult decision to make, But it was for my daughter and for my family.

And so it really wasn’t that difficult of a decision. the conversation that I had to have with those guys was really difficult. and I knew kind of walking away from coaching sort of at that point, after going from the lowest of the low to the highest, the high end kind of feeling like, Hey, I’ve got it figured out now.

Having to walk away from that was, was obviously really tough. But again, that’s where Aseem really steps in and sort of has helped me through all of this. and that is kind of where Essential Coaching was really born. I mean, it really started three years ago when we first met, but, us working with each other, communicating and sort of recruiting and connecting with each other daily, that’s the best professional development that either one of us has ever had.

And so the real short version of that is just. [00:14:00] if it worked for us, maybe there’s somebody out there that it could work for too, because we, we quickly realized that we’re not the only two people out there with these, these sort of problems. and so that’s kind of, that’s kind of the. The long and short of it on how we get here tonight.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:14] All right. So I want to kind of go backwards and ask both of you this question, and you can answer it in whatever way you see fit. But when I hear the stories of what you guys were going through and the different experiences that you had, and obviously they were varied experiences, both in terms of what you saw from the head coaches that you worked under, what you saw from the support of.

Or lack of support in some cases of an administration while you guys were going through that, did you, did you take notes, whether that was mental notes, whether that was a file on the computer, whether that was a notebook of. Things that you felt were working for you and your program or your [00:15:00] program that you were working for as a coach or writing down things that maybe weren’t working.

Because obviously, as you said, you got to learn some of the transactional pieces of coaching. So how did you go about. When you started and we’ll get to the point where essential coaching started, but I’m just thinking about how you start collecting your thoughts as a coach, irrespective of the idea that at some point you’re going to start this thing just for your own knowledge, how did you go about kind of putting together what your coaching philosophy was going to be?

Did you do it in any kind of formal way?

Aseem Rastogi: [00:15:34] Yeah. So I’ll jump in. I think that number one, that’s a great question. Cause I think looking back, I probably could have done even more, but if you think about like the most organized person that’s like me times 10 when it comes to basketball, but the rest of my life, like hyper unorganized, it’s like an organized mess where like, I know where [00:16:00] things are, but in basketball ways, like I was pretty meticulous.

And this was one of those transactional things that I learned was how to do it in a meticulous manner, and be that the detail oriented about all of this stuff. So like short answer to your, the question is yes. I mean, for me personally, I had I still have copious amounts of stuff. Whether that’s itineraries, whether that’s how to order the gear.

I mean, like washing instructions for the practice gear to make it last longer things that you wouldn’t really think of. But like, I have a lot of that stuff. and then over the course of time, so probably like the last couple of years, especially when I was trying to get back into the college game, like we were moving up here, putting that together into a pretty extensive portfolio where I can now have exemplars of like, what exactly things would look like in a program that I’m a part of our program that I would run I have aspirations to be a, a D [00:17:00] three head coach. I’m just going to speak it into existence on your, on your podcast and then work. I like if and when that happens, you all can have a royalty.

you know, but like, so to be able to show like, this is what I’m about. And you know exactly what you’re going to get, but you can only really do that once you’ve gone through what we now call our rocket pathway going through and this amount of reflection and, and raising our own words, awareness to what we do and don’t know, and gaining some clarity and then having some alignment about what we want that to be about, but you only really get to do that, through collecting some of those artifacts and really like diving into like what works for you and what doesn’t.

Mike Klinzing: [00:17:39] Kyle. What about you?

Kyle Kavanaugh: [00:17:42] Yeah, I would say if you want to see the notes, you just really need to go print out the last. You know, three years of the same in minds test, right?  Probably is probably about a hundred miles high. Cause we actually met through a read and react webinar three [00:18:00] plus years ago. cause we were falling in love with the read and react, and we thought that was going to fix all of our problems and it did help us with some things to a degree.

And that sort of how our relationship started this. Like most coaches we, we want to talk about the sexy stuff, the Xs and the owes, the, the ATS, the the drills that, the PDF that we’re trying to get off of Twitter and those kinds of things. And that’s, I mean, that’s how we got together.

but it really is sort of amazing, like the stuff that we went through in similar relatively similar timelines, And we just started asking each other, those reflective questions doing this. And I thought it worked and then it seemed to be like, but did it, you know? Yeah. Really kind of call you, call you on it and be like, well maybe, maybe some of it did, maybe not all of it did well, what were we doing in practice?

Oh man, I can’t believe I was doing this. And that’s when we started learning a lot about being exposed to Chris Oliver and what he does with Basketball Immersion and. being able to, to sort of build a relationship with him and be mentored by him. [00:19:00] Some, recently, like a lot of credit goes to him on where a lot of things, our philosophy changed just in how we teach the game.

And the funny thing is, speaking for Aseem here for just a second, we’re both classroom teachers. And I think we’re both really, really good classroom teachers. And we’ve been that way for a long time. But my problem was that I wasn’t doing all the things that were. Successful for me in the classroom, on the court.

Like I looked at those two jobs as they were two completely different jobs and that can’t be further from the truth. the, the, the learning is experience and putting yourself out there to make mistakes and keep things random and force people to make decisions and get out of their comfort zone. All of that I was doing in the classroom with my kids and seeing tons of success.

I wasn’t doing the exact opposite of that in the gym with my kids, my practices were machines. I wanted you to walk in and be like, Oh man, these guys are well oiled. They’re an army. The ball rack is in a [00:20:00] certain place where only it could be for this particular drill and they go get water at certain times and everything was so.

Chris said machine-like and then we get into a game and it’s anything but, and I had a really hard time sort of understanding. I mean, I was working so hard. I mean, I poured everything into what I had into that program and I wasn’t getting the results that I felt that I deserve. and then again, you hear what I said there, what I deserved, it wasn’t really what the kids or the program deserve and it really, it just took us getting to a place. Where we were willing to ask those sorts of questions. Were you, you were probably going to be a little afraid of what the answer was going to be, where you had to kind of look in deep into your soul and be okay with what you found. And I don’t know if I could, I, I know I couldn’t have done that by myself.

it only happened by developing that relationship with Aseem. And again, it took us a while to sort of get to that place. because for the first, probably six months that, [00:21:00] that, that we were communicating and texting back and forth. I’m recording every NBA summer league game and I’m sending him clips of defensive rotations because I want it to be good at that.

And I love the offensive side of the ball. I was the offensive coordinator for us at Simsboro and we led the state in points and I was super proud of that. And I really thought that that was the reason for our success and when really it was. And again, I’m gonna mention that human component again.

it was. Us taking that reflective process and sort of putting that on paper, which now is sort of what we’ve like same said sort of rebranded our own way through a central coaching, but that really was what we were doing over the last couple of years. And then me sort of taking a page out of a SIEMs playbook and putting that sort of holistic, extensive portfolio together where I’m going to have my pillars of play, but I want to be able to show you clips where we can show all of our pillars of [00:22:00] players showing up in any random clip that we’ve got. You know, in our film and then whatever our core values are going to be or whatever our program is going to be.

Can we see those things on film and just being able to sort of see the game differently that way and watch it and look at it differently. Think it differently. that was really the, the huge change for me. And that would not have happened. Had I not been, let go. And we were super talented at Simsboro don’t get me wrong.

I mean, the, the talent there was, was unreal, especially for the size school we were. but it was, it was sort of this idea that like, man, this is what special really looks like when you can take really great kids that are super talented. But then we also take care of this other side that everybody sort of talks about and they want to be about it, but they don’t really go down that road.

You know, we, we did, and we got to experience something that was insanely special for two years there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:22:53] So Aseem. When did you start to recognize the, the human element [00:23:00] over? Not, I shouldn’t say over, but in addition to the X’s and O’s side and the, and the nitty gritty of basketball, which is probably where people first think about coaching, they think about good coaches are good Xs and old coaches.

They’re not necessarily thinking about the relationship coach. Although I think that. Probably is changing, certainly from where it was 15 or 20 years ago. So just, what was your journey to coming to that? Understanding that there was more to coaching than just what you could diagram on a board.

Aseem Rastogi: [00:23:31] Right. Yeah. When I realized I wasn’t very good at diagramming this stuff, right? Like that’s probably the easy answer what kids responded to. And so for me, again, like not having played at whatever level qualifies you to be a good coach, which again, we don’t, we know that that’s not a thing, but that is a thing.

Well, whenever I drew up or like whatever books I was reading that had X’s and O’s in them. I [00:24:00] mean, I remember like I just gave it away to Goodwill the other day. It was like John Wooden’s UCLA offense book that I got when I was in college. And like, I thought that was the greatest thing ever, but I’m looking at it now.

I’m like, this is not going to work now. You know, like, why would I, why was I doing that? and so I think like very early on for me, It was, I’m going to have to use my relentless enthusiasm and my personality to connect with these kids because I’m suffering from imposter syndrome right now, because I don’t know enough in terms of, or what I thought at the time was enough to get by with X’s nose and stuff. So we’re going to have to try something different. And then that’s where I sort of fell in love with the read and react. And I was like, Hey man, this is going to save my career because this is teachable. And then from there it sort of exploded for me, like the stuff with Chris Oliver and then being able to put together my own stuff and then like going, yeah, through that learning process, what, over the course of time are [00:25:00] problems that I ever problems we face as a program, or I face as a coach.

Like 1% had to do with X’s and O’s and 99% had to do with human stuff. And so drawing on my background in adult and higher education and intercollegiate athletic administration and sport management and marketing and all of these things, like all of the transactional we could do.

That’s great. But at the end of the day, we’ll have a group of 15 kids in front of you that need your attention. and I agree, damn like I made are my program. I shouldn’t say my program, but whatever program that I’ve been the head coach for, whether it’s that freshmen head coaching job in Oklahoma, or being your head coach for four years or youth clubs or whatever it’s always has been sort of the party line was like character first, but I really didn’t know what that meant until.

Starting to [00:26:00] work with, Lead em up and starting to really dive in into like why this matters and sort of redefining character is the repeatability of good habits. And once we got to that point, the human components started becoming the most important thing. And that’s not, not to say like X’s and O’s, don’t matter, but if you don’t have the human component as your foundation, then your X’s and O’s are irrelevant because it’s not about what you can draw up.

It’s about what you can get them to do. And so, like, I think Jeff van Gundy says that and you see like Twitter accounts or are we’ll post that once a month, but then coaches are going out and they’re going to DM for a playbook and there’s like 3000 requests for a playbook on Twitter.

And it’s like, you just retweeted that you want this playbook. So like, where’s the misalignment. And so for me, like X’s, and O’s wise, I like it I’ll study it, but I like. It does not hold my attention as much as, Hey, how can I connect with [00:27:00] this kid? How can we help people connect? But regardless of whether it’s coach and player like today, today, Wednesday, the ninth, I’m not sure when this is going to be released, but, just today was our first two, sessions with Brandeis athletics where you know myself as part of essential coaching.

We’re doing a complete department, diversity equity and, anti-racism and inclusion group work sessions that I’m facilitating. And so our entire concept here is about connecting as people first, because you can’t even begin to try to solve those problems that are so systemic and so structural and so big, unless you are connected.

At a very basic level. And so like that has now permeated everything that I do in it. Always, not always, but, but for the better part of my like coaching life, especially as a head coach in high school and now as a college coach, so really the last six, eight years, it has been everything. And now we’ve just put a name on it at Essential Coaching.

Mike Klinzing: [00:28:05] And I think that what it’s important to keep in mind here is. And it’s a theme that we’ve heard from lots of different coaches is that ultimately you have to remember that you’re coaching the person and not the sport. And so you have to coach the person first and then number two, I think ultimately that it’s really, really important for coaches to keep in mind what the end game is of what we’re all doing.

And that isn’t to say that winning and losing isn’t important that isn’t to say that. Being competitive is an important, because we all know as coaches, those things are important to us, but yet ultimately when you think about what you remember about certain teams or certain players, and then what your players remember about you and being a part of your program.

Is ultimately what did that program do for me [00:29:00] as, as a human being, as an individual, did it put me on a pathway to success? Did it helped me to build relationships with my coaches and my teammates? Can I look back. 20 years after I graduate and say, I’ve got four or five, six, really good friends, people that I’m constantly in touch with, did it help me to be a better husband, a better wife, a better brother or brother or sister.

And I think sometimes in the heat of the moment, when we’re in our season, it gets really, really easy to get caught up in how important that next game is and that next win is. And I think that what you guys are trying to do by bringing this human element into it is, is really making sure that you. Keep coaches intentional about what their purpose is.

So I wanted to ask you, when you guys came together, had you guys both already been involved with lead him up, or was that something that had happened after you guys started your text chain? Just how did, how did that come to be that you guys were both doing that? Did you come to it together or separately?

Kyle Kavanaugh: [00:30:00] I think that’s part of the funny or amazing part of the story, that I, I think, same, you were like the first school in virginia is lead them up and I believe I was the first one in Louisiana, unless somebody out there can correct me, but starting from five years ago, lead them up, just had their fifth anniversary.

And that’s when I started using it. and. You know, just sort of stumbled upon it. I don’t even remember exactly where probably a PGC clinic, if I had to guess going to a PGC Glazer clinic. and, and yeah, I saw it and was like, man, like this looks like some of the stuff that I know I talk about it. I can say these things to get a job.

but am I doing these things to keep the job? I don’t think I was ever a, a terrible maniacal coach to play for. I mean, I loved and cared about my kids, but if it was sort of one of those things, like if we’re going to talk about it and let’s be about it. And lead them up with sort of the, the, the, the vehicle in which that got going.

And so when a seam and I are texting one of those days, three years ago, we find out [00:31:00] that we’re both using lead him up. And so that became just a regular part of our conversation. And after, I had made that decision to leave Simsboro and sort of step away from coach. I just sent, same, it actually, hooked me up with Adam Bradley because he heard about our tournament run and we did this really cool thing with, with some towels and the themes.

And it was, that’s a cool story for off air probably, but, anyway, he sorta hooked us up and. So Adam and I had spoke before our, our second, title game and I just text Adam and thank him for everything he had done for Mamie. He didn’t know me, but I was very thankful and grateful for the, his influence on me those last three or four years using lead them up.

And what a big part of our success of Simsboro bro. That was. And just wanted to let him know that I appreciated him, but that I was, I was stepping away and, and you know, wasn’t going to be coaching. And Adam happened to reach out and he was like, look there’s opportunity here. Are you interested in working with us as a regional coach?

And of course I [00:32:00] was like, absolutely. This would be a phenomenal opportunity. And that was the, like a Friday and on Monday I’m flying to Maryland. So it was kind of this crazy turnaround, but like on that Saturday, I’m texting the same, like, yo, you won’t ever believe, like what just happened? Like I’m actually going to be flying to Maryland.

To go meet Adam to be a regional coach. And he was like, hold up, I’m going to be there too. And to see him and I had never met each other in person. And it just happened to be that like independently, as I suppose, Adam had reached out to both of us to work with lead him up. and so we actually got to meet for the first time, in outside of Baltimore.

Yeah. The only time that we’ve actually been in the same room together. and we got to spend a couple of days and it was just, again, just. Makes it a little bit of a crazy story, a little bit crazier. and so as semen, I have both been working with lead them up, and Adam and his team the last, well, I guess right at about a year now, as regional coaches and that process, right there has been sort of eye [00:33:00] opening and life changing in a number of ways.

And, there’s a, just a very natural fit there with lead them up, being so player driven and player centered and us trying to get to the players through the coach. that it’s just, it’s just one of those things, like, man, it all sort of collided at the right time and the right way. And I don’t know if it would ever happen again in another universe, but it did here and we’re very thankful and fortunate and lucky to be able to say that we’re.

Not only did it seem in our part of each other’s family now and do a central coaching, but there were a part of the lead them up family as well. And, that’s been, been a really, really cool, process to be a part of

Mike Klinzing: [00:33:36] Aseem how’d you come to lead them up?

Aseem Rastogi: [00:33:39] Yeah. So similarly I think it was that August when I had first gotten the job at WT Woodson, that was like August.

I got the job in April and then there was a PGC Glazier clinic in August, I think. And Adam being a Maryland guy, like he’s from Montgomery County, Maryland, which is right over the border from Fairfax County, Virginia, [00:34:00] where I was coaching. And he was presenting at that clinic. And I just happened to like go up to him afterwards.

Cause I had been listening to the Hardwood Hustle forever and I was like, Hey, you’re Adam Bradley. Like, this is super cool. And you’re right here in the flesh. Yeah. We ended up working out a deal somehow some way that he was going to come to Woodson and kick off our first ever Lead them up session on my first, ever Saturday after teams were made as a head coach, like.

Very very high pressure situation for me. And he was like the coolest cucumber. He’s like, yeah, cool. I’ll do it. No problem. But you got to call me, I remember him saying that he’s like, you gotta remind me. And I was like I’m going to remind you. I just put six, four months.

And, and yeah, just from there, it sort of blossomed.

I think, I think again, we were the first school in Virginia to even jump on that bandwagon. And what’s really ironic is the school that I ended up taking over for that season after I was let go, they jumped into lead them [00:35:00] up a year after we did, because they saw the effect it had on the program. And I was very good friends with the head coach at the time who I ended up replacing when he stepped away.

You know, and their kids were used to it. And that was part of the interview process. Like I was able to interview using, lead them up. I was like, listen, we’re going to continue this great work that Patrick did here would lead them up and like, Nate’s going to stay on staff and he’s going to run it.

And, yeah, I mean, it is one of those things where like Adam asked me about Kyle and I was like, dude, that’s my dude. You know, I didn’t know why he was asking me. He just asked me like, do you know Kyle? And I was like, yeah, that’s my guy. Like, he’s awesome. And then lo and behold, Kyle told that story already, like we’re, we’re sit sitting at rehab to perform out in the middle of nowhere, Maryland.

Aseem Rastogi: [00:35:51] Hey, we’re going to do Lead ‘em up training. Oh, wait, there’s Kyle walking through the door, you know? And it was, it was what I think it was what three days, Kyle, two days. Yeah. And, yeah, I mean, it’s [00:36:00] just really, really cool experience, but we’re eternally grateful to Adam for his mentorship, his guidance, not just with lead them up, but also with essential coaching.

Like he sees what we’re trying to do and he doesn’t see it as a threat. He sees it as an option, which I think speaks to his nature as, as this servant leader type where he just. No, the question that he asked was like, he asked himself, it was like, and so what if essential coaching gets big? Well, that’s great for lead him up.

So I’m all in to help you because I know what’s going to help lead them up, but I also believe in you guys, and you can do both and be really good at it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:36:39] I think that’s really cool. It’s funny that you guys have the connections to the Hardwood Hustle, because I’m going to give you my connection to the show and I’m connected with.

Allen more than I am with Adam. And again, it was sort of happenstance, but I want to tell the story because it sort of relates to, again, just kind of what you guys went through and [00:37:00] then sort of how we’ve gotten the podcast started. So back, I don’t know, this is probably in 2000, maybe 16. I started writing it’s the basketball blog mostly.

Youth basketball issues, things that parents might face tips for players, that kind of thing. And so I wanted to get somebody to write a guest post. I was asking for, I looked around for people who had a big presence on the internet, in the basketball space, and I’ve been listening to the hardwood hustle.

And I could still remember at that time, my son was now in ninth grade, we were just kind of. Getting started with playing some AAU basketball. He was in maybe third or fourth grade and we would drive to these tournaments and we’d have the hardwood hustle on and we’d be listening to it. And you know, I’d say, yeah, this is Adam Bradley and Alan Stein.

And so he, he would kind of you kind of feel like when you listen to a podcast, you get to know the person, cause they’re talking about themselves and you hear them every week or every two weeks or whatever, whenever you listen. And so Alan was one of the people that I reached out to and.

[00:38:00] Of the, I think I wrote to maybe 25 people and I heard back from about five and four said they would do it. And Alan said, well, I respectfully I appreciate you reaching out to me, but I think I’m going to, I think I’m going to pass. And that was right about the time that he was transitioning into.

Going into corporate speaking and kind of stepping away a little bit from basketball. And at that time I had, a friend and acquainted, instead I knew who was starting a company that was putting together these retreats for lack of a better way of saying it’s centered around excellence, but they were designed for CEOs and business leaders and that kind of thing.

And I said, well, let me introduce Alan to my friend. Cause it might be right up. His alley. And so I introduced Alan to my friend. And then as a result of that, no, not thinking anything of it, just putting two, two and two together. And then through that, Alan ended up coming to an event that I was at. He and I got to meet.

He ended up being the very first interview on this [00:39:00] show and fourth, he and I have gotten to be friends over the last couple of years and our podcasts would be nowhere near. What it is today, if it wasn’t for Alan being so willing to open up his network of people, to us, and then consequently, that has expanded who we’ve been able to have on the show and all those things.

So it’s just funny how, again, when you said a scene that there’s Adam, he’s standing right in front of me. Because you had listened to the show for so long and you kind of felt like you knew him and he didn’t necessarily know you when you guys first met. And I felt the same way without I’m like, man, I really know this guy, but he’s never met me before.

So it was just kind of interesting how life goes for full circle. And it also speaks to just, I think. It’s another example of the human element, where here’s two guys, Adam and Alan that have had a successful they had a successful partnership and a podcast that really was going well. And they each had their own successes and then they helped me and they help you guys and with no expectation of getting anything in [00:40:00] return, just being willing to help and be in good guys that they are.

so it’s just funny how life how life sometimes takes that. You know, it takes that turn. So how do you guys go from. You’re going to do your separate, lead them up. Then you guys have obviously made a connection personally and professionally, when do you start thinking about, Hey, there’s something that maybe we can do together to have an even greater impact.

And when does the idea for Essential Coaching, how does that idea bubble to the top of your relationship?

Aseem Rastogi: [00:40:33] Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. It’s like two years ago, three years ago. When one day, like we’re again, I kid you not, I mean, you could look back and all of our mountains of messages, just talking to each other, like we would legitimately say even three years ago, like, man, we should really start a company.

Like this is good stuff. I mean we just we never had time to do it. And [00:41:00] ultimately now. Over the last six months. I mean, with a pandemic that is still raging on, people were in their houses and, and we had an opportunity to present on that, that virtual coaches clinic summit deal that kind of took, took the basketball world by storm.

And the more we thought about it, it was like, Hey, if we can put together these clinics, And we’ve benefited from the interactions that we have. And then really like we dove into, Hey, what can we call this? How can we brand this? I know the word essential just kept coming up. So we decided for, I don’t know, Kyle, if you want to correct me if I’m wrong here, but almost for a lack of creativity, because we just kept using that word.

It was like, let’s just call it Essential Coaching. and so we just reached out to anybody who reached out to us after our virtual coaches clinics. [00:42:00] It’s like 30 people and all of them were like, yeah, let’s do it. We’re in. and we really just took the approach of like, this worked for us. We tried it with another buddy, that Kyle was a friend of Kyle’s and we’re on a group chat together and, and Ryan Smith, the owner and the creator of hashtag one cow, the shooting guy.

so if you see that check one count, that’s Ryan Smith. He made that up. These are great, great resource for anybody. you know, we were going through the same process with him and we were like this, we got something here. Let’s, let’s go for it. and especially during the pandemic, like people didn’t know where they’re going to have seasons or not.

They’re looking for any opportunity to grow. They’re looking for any opportunity to learn. And for us, it was like, Hey, if not now, then when. and so yeah, we, we put together some, some graphics and put together some branding and we’re like, Hey, we’re going to do this thing. And then about three weeks into owning the website and it not being [00:43:00] created and call I’ll let you kind of wrap that up to that story there.

I’m not sure I slept for like three weeks, the website from scratch. but like we did it narrow and then sort of like you, you do, you do by trial and error and you figure it out. And like when your links actually work and you can process a payment through your website, that’s like, cause for celebration,

Mike Klinzing: [00:43:23] that’s good stuff right there. Trust me. I’ve been there,

Aseem Rastogi: [00:43:27] Kyle, I don’t know if you have anything to add to that.

Kyle Kavanaugh: [00:43:30] Yeah, I think it’s, it’s no different than the way we would want to sort of implement a new offense, right. Or teach a new concept in class the best way to do it is to get out there and do it. learning is experience that’s my, one of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein.

and, and that was sort of it like, Hey, let’s think about this. What do you think about this? Let’s kick it around. Let’s, let’s shoot it to Ryan in a text. You know what, let me ask my wife do you like this? And she got she’s a font snob. So she was always, [00:44:00] can you remind me to, like, what did I say, look like and stuff.

And it’s actually kind of funny back and look at like some of the first logos and graphics and stuff we made. They’re absolutely. They’re absolutely terrible. and, and again, just like, kind of, I mean, COVID with the assist in all, honestly. when have you ever had three weeks where you could sit in front of a computer or stay up till 3:00 AM?

Jason Sunkle:  And just mindlessly work on a website and think about this nonstop or a podcast, right Mike

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:26] I’m right there with you at 3:00 AM. Don’t be surprised you start getting those emails.

Jason Sunkle:  You got, you  [00:44:30] got me again.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:31] Look at that. You guys are, now that you guys are in the hoop pets family, you’ll be seeing those 3:00 AM emails coming out from me so I can relate.

I can relate.

Kyle Kavanaugh: [00:44:39] It’s it’s crazy. Cause we’ll start something and be like, okay man, I’m kinda tired of seeing it seems on the East coast. I’m central time. It’s like 10. O’clock my time. 11. O’clock his time. Okay. Yeah, let’s get to this tomorrow. And then at one 30 my time it’s like, Oh, well we were supposed to go to bed two and a half hours a day and get it this early in the morning.

It was like, Oh, the [00:45:00] copy on the website is not quite right. Let’s tweak that. Or, Oh, I was going to try to see if this email work. Let’s try that again. And it really was like every little bitty milestone, just like buying the domain name and getting that receipt like that one, when signing up for TurboTax, that was a win creating the official logo.

That was a win and getting that first test email to go through. That was a win. And we just, we’ve just sort of been able to experience all of those things. and outside of the wind, the winds were so special because there were so many losses before ’em right. You know, you, you screw it up and you don’t, can’t quite get it.

Right. We can’t get the graphic on the website just right. And all those little bitty things. And which is funny because that takes us back to sort of the transactional piece. Right. But the reason that we wanted to do all of that. Is because we would get on these calls. And we started having, like, I think we started with like six sessions a week.

Again, we had plenty of, we had nothing but time. And we were meeting with six separate [00:46:00] small group cohorts that only have about four or five coaches in there. Plus we were doing big group webinars and so on and so forth. And we weren’t. Yeah. One-on-one we wanted to do that because every single time we got on a call.

Somebody was having a breakthrough. Somebody was, was taking a step forward in their professional and personal life. And that, I mean, that was the best one that we could possibly have. And we’re in, I think this is week 20 with that original group and these coaches keep coming back and we haven’t, we haven’t talked a lick of X’s and O’s, and we’re, we’re barely getting into like practice environment. Cause there’s so much so that foundational piece, and there is so much almost unlearning that has to go on so we can get to the real learning and get to the real growth and progress. And like I said, it was, it’s just a process that, that Aseem.

And I went through [00:47:00] together for three years and we were like, look, maybe we can help some coaches speed this up a little bit. and we’ve got coaches that have been coaching for 20 plus years on the college level, we’ve got coaches that are in the youth level. We’ve got coaches that are 24.

We’ve got coaches that are in their fifties. We’ve got everything in between. basketball, football, track, softball, swim, and dive. Like it’s, it’s all over the place. And we all are different places, sort of dealing with different things, but then we’re not like they’re all the same problems, but all of our contexts and our, as we would like to say our ground zeros, Are different.

and at the, at the end of the day, it all comes back to how well have you recruited the people around you and connected with them and built that relationship. And again, it doesn’t matter what we’re running or how great of a drill or a small sided game or, or whatever we’ve got set up. I mean, all the best talent in the world, if we can’t recruit those people get their hearts and minds into it and actually get them to do what we need them to do and do it together.

Then [00:48:00] we’re gonna we’re not gonna, I don’t want to say we’re gonna fail, but we’re not going to reach our fullest potential, which to me is what that ultimate success really is.

Mike Klinzing: [00:48:09] All right. I want to jump into that piece of it in just a second, where we talk about some of the nitty gritty of what you’re actually getting into with the coaches, but I’m always fascinated by just the business development slash entrepreneurial side of.

Things like this. So when you guys started putting this just together, you obviously don’t go into it with the idea of, Hey, I love business and I want to learn how to build a website. And I want to figure out how to get the graphic design to look good. And I want to make sure that I can take payments and all the things that you talked about.

That’s not really why you wanted to start this business. Yes. So I’m always curious when I hear people talk about getting these things started, how did you guys take to that? In other words, did you enjoy that process of going through and [00:49:00] putting this all together? Or did you look at it more of something that you had to kind of get through to get where you want it to go?

Or was it a little combination of both? Depending on what time of night I talked to you.

Aseem Rastogi: [00:49:12] So, so for me, my day job, I’m a business teacher. so like I teach this stuff for a living. And so for me, it was like, Hey, now I actually get to do this. and all the things that I’ve like told my students are all the things that we’ve discovered is like, okay, now I get to discover this for myself and something that means a whole hell of a lot to me.

and so for me, like, yeah, like wasn’t frustrating when links wouldn’t work or like things weren’t positioned right on the site or like Squarespace was not working properly. Yes. That was super frustrating. But big picture, it was a tremendous amount of fun. And it still is. I mean, every day it’s like something new Kyle texting you like, Hey, have you heard of this?

Nope. All right. Let’s, let’s try it. You know? Or like, Hey, what about this? Great. Let’s do it. [00:50:00] you know, and so I think that, yeah, there’s a lot out there for entrepreneurs and people who want to get into it. And like there’s so many services that make it really easy. but it’s probably one of the most fulfilling things, at least in my life.

to be able to put something together from scratch and have it be the quality that we want it to be. and I think that that’s something that I think Kyle, you’d probably agree with that that is that we’re not going to do something just to get it out there. Like if it’s, if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it well.

And that is sort of something that we have talked about a lot, but it’s also something that just aligns with our personalities and who we are. Like, we’re not going to go out and just put together some crappy website, just to say, we have one, it’s going to be feature rich. It’s going to be all inclusive of everything that we have going on because that’s who we are.

Are we want to be transparent. We want to be aligned with who we say we are. and so long answer to a short question, like for me, it was a blast and it continues to be a blast. [00:51:00] to try to develop this. Cause again, we really only have been launched, what the website went up just like a month and a half ago, two months ago, something like that.

So yeah, so it’s still pretty much in its infancy as far as that like official side goes. but we really, I mean, we’ve been doing this, and we have that proof of concept since like the last week of March 1st week of April. So, I mean, it’s almost been. you know, five and a half months.

Kyle Kavanaugh: [00:51:28] Yeah, I would say for me, so my grad degree when I was lucky enough, like I said, to get that GA spot, I ended up getting a master’s in industrial organizational psychology.

So it was a lot of business psych and. You know, I would say classes like, training and development, organizational change, leadership and development. you know, one of my textbooks was flawless consulting from Peter block. So I’ve always sort of had a, like, kind of a desire to, to lean in to that sort of space.

I guess you’d say, [00:52:00] but I’m a biology teacher by trade and what’s been really fun is sort of taking like the science, that sort of, that scientific method way of thinking and applying a lot of those same concepts to the business or to some of the content that we use. So like some of our analogies and stuff are based on scientific principles, if you will.

And just, and to just sort of the research and development side of all of this to be able to say that what we do is backed by research and backed by science. It’s not the same. And I are just two guys. I mean, we’re too we like to joke he got cut from every team he ever played and I was in the band, you know?

So just a couple of guys trying to talk about coaching and what we’ve learned along the way, but I do think that our unique backgrounds end up playing in our favor. and, and this, my sort of joke when I got to do that, that, summit clinic was, I was the least famous person on the thing, but I think that may be the most relatable person on there and I think that’s what resonated with a lot of the coaches [00:53:00] that reached out is because they don’t have six, 10, five star players trying to run this lob. You know that they were getting from some of the other resources. And so that resonated with them. So taking that side of it, like something that we really wanted to do.

And then I think for me not to speak for Aseem, but after trying to work for someone else and it not work out. The idea that I can do this for myself and that if I want to change something on the website, I can like it’s, our baby. So, and sometimes I’ll text him and I’ll be like I’m thinking about this.

Like, I don’t know if this would be a really good idea. Like you think we should, he was like, why not? Like we, don’t, why can’t we do that? Working on a project right now that we haven’t really talked about yet, but we’re really excited about it. And it’s like, Why not do that? Like, yeah. It’s going to be a take a lot of time.

It may take three months before, right. Nobody ever hears about it because it’s going to [00:54:00] take a lot of work, but I know that I’m doing what I want to do. And I’m working on that. I’m not beholden to anybody else’s objectives lists or time slots or schedules or anything like that. Yeah. I come home and I answer to my wife and my daughter and then a scene and, and as far as the central coaching goes, and to me, that is like, The most rewarding, empowering, fulfilling thing is knowing that like, I’m doing what I truly want to do.

So I’m not getting to coach anymore. This is my program. Like this is my baby now. and so if I gotta wake up at 2:00 AM to feed it, that is what it is. Cause I love it unconditionally. So and thank goodness again, for a same to figure out some of the techie side of that I could get online and try something and have an idea and kind of break it and then he would come in kind of fix it.

and that’s kind of a way this stuff goes is all kind of throw the spaghetti up [00:55:00] against the wall. Cause I have just some sort of random idea that hasn’t really been molded yet. And then he takes it and he cleans it up and then we spit ball it and then we throw it out to our coaches. And what comes out the other end is some really, really, really great stuff.

Mike Klinzing: [00:55:15] Yeah, I think what you hit on there, Kyle is something that I can a hundred percent relate to in terms of the ability to work for yourself. I know that I can have times where I’ll have to do something for someone else or for my school. And they want me to do this email or do this one thing, and it’s going to take like 10 minutes.

I’m like, Oh, I really do I really have to do that now. And then I’ll spend like six hours editing a podcast and making sure that I get the little graphics exactly. Right. And that I’ve got the right sound clip and that there isn’t any clicks and buzzes in the background. And I don’t think anything of that.

And so it’s totally relatable to me. And I think that anybody who’s in the entrepreneurial space, I think they relate [00:56:00] to that idea that when. You are in control of it and you’re doing it for yourself that you become. Even that much more invested in it. And you can even take that a step further and say, man, how can we inspire that in our athletes that we coach, right?

It’s the same thing we want them to be that bought in that they’ll do it, do whatever it takes to support our team, to support their teammates, to support their fellow coaches. However you want to look at their particular role. And so that completely rings true to me without question. So I can see where.

Building this thing out from nothing you go back to March 1st and. This didn’t even exist except maybe in your mind’s eye. And now you can go and you have a website and you have a home, and there’s all these things that you can show people. And when they ask you questions, Hey, what are you guys doing?

Instead of it just being like, well, we got some text messages here on the phone. Instead, you actually have a place where people can go and they can see all the [00:57:00] great things that you guys have and that you’re offering. So let’s start to talk about some of those things that. Essential coaching offers to the coaching profession.

Just give us an idea of you already met, should the, the coaching cohorts and having those talks and, meeting with coaches and trying to help them to maximize and be their best self. Maybe talk a little bit about one or two things that you try to bring out. Key points that you want coaches to think about when you meet with them in those meetings.

And obviously again, when we’re talking about multiple sports and we’re talking about specific instances, it’s hard to break it down that for that far, but maybe just some overriding themes that you try to get coaches to think about when they come and engage with you.

Aseem Rastogi: [00:57:44] Yeah. So I think one of the first things that we have to mention is that right now is actually open enrollment for new cohorts.

And so though that started back on September 1st and it’s rolling through the end of September for the, the goal of starting our, our new cohorts, October one. [00:58:00] And so really our, our community model is what we call it. So we have our preferred community and then our premium community preferred communities, those group cohorts, you get access to a virtual, Coaches community through Slack, you get webinars, you get access to the website, any of the resources, but really it’s those group calls, where one of our members, his name is Bubba.

He’s down, he’s down in Louisiana with Kyle. He calls it collective IQ. And so the development of that collective IQ around coaching and around teaching and around why we do what we do. And then the premium community is all of that, but you also get one on one calls or really two on one calls with myself and Kyle.

and that’s for coaches that really want to dive deep. And then we’ll do some things like staff upgrades and things like that. If you want to bring your whole staff on and lead em up. Right. And you get free, lead em up access with any of the memberships. And so those are sort of the community things we offer.

Then we have, I believe it’s on the [00:59:00] website. It’s 12 Al a carte options. So if you just want like a one off session, we can help you with interview prep. We can help you with those portfolios that we talked about. anti-racism training. That’s what I’m doing up at Brandeis right now. doing any sort of administrative alignment, any sort of coaching, staff, alignment, coaching retreats, player meetings, parent meetings, all of that stuff.

and really the, the kind of the quintessential questions that we ask are very reflective in nature. And so one of the things that we start with is what we call external formulas. And it’s somebody else’s belief about what you’re supposed to do and when you’re supposed to do it. So like an example of an external formula in life would be like, when you’re supposed to get married or when you’re supposed to have kids or when you were supposed to have bought a house and what that house is supposed to look like.

And so going back to the question you asked before about X’s and O’s versus the human component and one outweighing the other, it’s an external formula that the best coaches are the ones that can draw [01:00:00] those things up on the board. And all of a sudden, they’re this genius coach. Right. We lost those coaches.

And so young coaches, old coaches alive gets stuck in that trap of believing that that has to be them. And so really when we think about coach development, the external formula is, Hey, go to this Nike clinic. And we’ve all done it. Like I went to plenty of Nike clinics. I didn’t learn a dang thing at those Nike clinics.

They didn’t help me at all. Because it was all about X’s & O’s is all about like, here’s what I do with my six – 10 centers. Great. I don’t have one of those. I coach high school girls, my tallest players, five 11 like that’s not going to help me. but really kind of diving deep, deep into what our external formulas are.

And then using that to strengthen our inner coaching voice, which then leads to your core values, your, your, your, your vision, your mission, and then eventually how you get to your standards for your program and how you build those things with your players in mind and giving them the [01:01:00] ownership that they deserve.

Because ultimately it’s not our experience as coaches. It’s their experience as players. And you said it yourself. Like we want them to look back. Fondly on that experience, but not as a memory, but as something that they were actively involved in. And so reframing coaching development conversation, you’d like to think that we like to say that we disrupt that coaching development conversation.

Through that reflective process that raises awareness gets us to some clarity, but then gets us to alignment between what we say we’re about. That gets us sort of in the door for that job and what we’re actually about that helps us keep that job and that those things are aligned. because I think every coach would say like most coaches would be like, yeah, it’s about relationships.

All the X’s and O’s can wait it’s about the Jimmy’s and Joe’s well that’s yeah, that’s true. So let me do that and coach our programs that way. And we can still win. It’s not an if and there are, it’s not an if, but [01:02:00] like, but I can’t do that cause I need to win. No, you can win. And Kyle and I have shown that through our experience and that you actually get more fulfillment out of it.

so again, long answer to a short question, we go through those processes, but in those small groups that we keep intentionally small so that you really can develop a relationship with the people in your group. And then you can talk about it and it becomes this beautiful sort of symphony of sharing, coaching, thoughts of sharing pain points of really addressing those pain points.

And then each of us is there to support the other ones. So we create our own little teams, but then in the larger virtual community via Slack, Everybody’s in there just throwing out ideas. We have like probably 10 different channels that people can be on at any different time sharing X’s and O’s sharing, teaching tips, sharing articles, sharing, social media things all, all kinds of different stuff.

So we’re really, we’re trying to do, in essence, and this is our, our vision and our [01:03:00] mission is to create exponential generational change by creating the deepest connected coaching community in the world.

Mike Klinzing: [01:03:09] So what I hear, and this is something that I think is, and you mentioned it there when you said that coaches are a lot of times, we’ll say, yeah, I’m all about.

This I’m all about the relationships. That’s the most important piece of it. But when push comes to shove in the middle of their season, sometimes it gets difficult to continue to focus on those relationship piece of it because you get, you get caught up in, what do I need to do to win this next game?

How much film do I have to watch? What adjustments do I have to make and all those kinds of things. And I know, and I’m speaking for myself here and. My, I was an assistant high school coach. I’ve never been a high school coach, a head coach at the high school level. And so I’ve spent a lot of time coaching my own kids.

And so a lot of my references that I make to my own coaching or [01:04:00] through coaching my own kids. And I know that one of my weaknesses as a coach is I will get very excited about a particular. Thing that I read about that I saw that I think we’ll have an impact and mostly I tend to go towards the idea of.

The human things, as opposed to the X’s and O’s, I don’t get nearly as excited about seeing some great out-of-bounds play that I watched in an NBA game that doesn’t necessarily excite me. What I do get excited about is a team building activity that I’ll read about or something that boy, that’s really a great statement that I can use at my team to help too.

Implement something that I really want to implement. And what I find my weakness to be is that I’ll get excited by this thing for a week or two weeks, and I’ll really be gung ho about it. And then. It will kind of slowly fade away and then I’ll notice the next thing and I’ll be all excited about that.

And what I find for me at least is that I have to be [01:05:00] very, very intentional about what it is that I’m trying to accomplish on both that human element. And that relationship element every single day when I show up for a practice or a game, because if I don’t, it’s easy for me to forget. Oh yeah. I’m supposed to be looking for these things so that I can praise them so we can continue to get more of them.

So how much time do you guys spend with coaches? Just talking about. Making sure that these things that we say are important, stay at the forefront of our mind and don’t get pushed down in favor of the X’s and O’s and getting caught up in the wins and losses during a season.

Kyle Kavanaugh: [01:05:43] Right? So one of the things that I have written on my board in my classroom is a daily agenda for us is it says, find your seat, relax, connect.

And oftentimes that’s how we start our sessions with our coaches. No sign on, take your seat, just [01:06:00] relax and let’s connect. And let’s find out where you are. Let’s find about about the wins or the losses that you might have had from the last time that we got together. and it’s, it’s about going through the human component wheel with our coaches too, which begins with that next connection.

And we say that all the time, like, what was the next connection or when is the next connection going to be and we do that by having those weekly moments with them. But then we stay together in that Slack community. And we have text chains or one-on-one calls or things that are outside of our cohort calls, where that really is how we begin every single conversation that we’re going to have.

So even if you want to talk about something that’s X’s and O’s wise, perhaps it’s going to be okay. Well, how is that going to impact the people that are running it? And how is that going to fit in with the overall vision or mission or philosophy or system that you’ve sort of got, in place. And so that, just that simple [01:07:00] idea of like, find your seat, relax and connect really sort of drives home how we get to those moments.

And sometimes that moment might happen really quickly and sometimes it might not. We’ve actually had. We’ve actually had a couple of really good wins this week with two of our coaches, with some of their players. And they have figured out like they sort of came to this realization where they’re like, Oh, the stuff you do with us, we sort of, we didn’t even really realize it, but we started doing it with our players and instead of us telling them answers, and instead of us just taking the conversation where we wanted to go with it, we started asking the questions.

And we started getting to where they were and what they actually needed. And we realized like, Hey, we’re going through that rocket pathway with our players. And that’s the first big breakthrough that we’ve ever had with this particular kid. And that really is like why we exist. That is what this is all about.

Cause we like to say that the [01:08:00] coaching is very lonely. The weight of coaching is very heavy. And as you’re saying, like being intentional about it for that week or two, and then it sort of floats away. Well, we’re not going to let that happen because we’re going to insulate you and build that support system around you and not just with Aseem and myself, but that Essential Coaching community, the deepest connected coaching community in the world.

And that sounds super lofty again for the guy that was cut from the freshman team and the dude that played drums. But that really is what we, what we mean. And it’s not the most famous coaching community. It’s not the most well connected community, but it is the deepest connected community. And we’ve had.

Coaches that go on vacation and still sign calls. We had a coach that had a baby and two days later, he hopped on the call. I said don’t apologize and apologize for being late

And that’s really like, that’s, that’s how we know that what we’re doing is working and that we’re doing good work.

When we sort of see those [01:09:00] things and one of my favorite channel in the Slack community, Is what we call our hashtag feel good channel where coaches just put those wins out there. You know, they’ll say, Hey, I did something on a zoom call. And my, my principal, I didn’t know my principal was listening, but they were, and they heard something they liked.

And now my school is going to be Institute in something next week that we’re going to do weekly. And it was based off of my inspiration. And we want to celebrate that with you. So that neat little idea that we had or something that we we heard on a, on an amazing hoops head podcast, or we we saw in a clinic or we read on an article that sort of lights that fire in us for a week or two, we’re gonna make sure that that keeps burning.

because that’s, that really is, like I said, that’s why we exist. So if there is something that is driving you or something you’re working towards. You’re being propped up and supported by an entire community that is worldwide, not just within the country, but worldwide, and being able [01:10:00] to bounce ideas off of somebody that is literally seven or eight hours away from you.

And it’s really cool to sort of send them a message, knowing that they’re asleep and then they’re going to see it when they wake up and then kind of vice versa, that we’re, we’re literally trying to play catch up with people. With these messages, having that system in place to pick you up and empower you is really what we’re all about.

And I remember back to some of our first conversations about what kind of direction and philosophy and how we sort of wanted to, to brand and speak on these things. It was really a message of hope. Coaching feels so lonely and hopeless. A lot of times that we want to come from this angle that. You’ve already got what you need in the room to be successful.

We just might need to disrupt and sort of rebrand or rethink the way we’re doing things. And you can be a lot more successful perhaps than maybe you’ve been, or you feel you should be. And we’re going to have that system of support in place [01:11:00] to help you get there.

Mike Klinzing: [01:11:02] I think what you guys are seeing is something that.

I look at it from a teaching perspective, but also I think about it from a coaching perspective as well. And so from a teaching perspective, the way I look at this and what I hear you guys saying is that. Sometimes when you’re teaching and you close your door and you have a really rough day and things don’t go the way that you want them to go.

And then you go home, you kind of feel like, Oh, I’m all alone. Like my day was, my day was such a challenge and I couldn’t get the students to do X, Y, or Z, or this kid was really giving me a hard time or boy, I just couldn’t quite figure out how to get this concept across to the kids. And there’s a lot of teachers that I think feel that.

And then you go and you get an opportunity to maybe have some professional development or you go and you have a staff meeting or you just sit down and you have lunch with another [01:12:00] teacher or another group of teachers. And you come to realize that. You’re not alone that everybody faces, right? Some of these challenges and a lot of ways, it makes you feel better.

It sort of lifts that way. Weight off of you that, Hey, I don’t have to, I’m not going that this alone, there’s other people that are experiencing these same challenges. And when you start to talk to them about those channels, then you can start to figure out solutions. And I think the same thing. When you think about it in coaching, You look at it, maybe a little differently, but it ends up being the same sort of thing in that there’s probably not too many things that are brand new problems that no coach out there somewhere has ever faced.

I doubt there are too many new things that are surfacing that a coach says never had to deal with this. Ever before, it’s the first time this problem has ever happened in the history of sports. I doubt that happens very often. So when you can create a community [01:13:00] where you can connect with people that.

Have a variety of experiences, chances are, you can find somebody who’s successfully navigated the issue that you’re dealing with. And too often, I think as coaches, we end up trapped inside our own head and we try to figure it out, figure it out ourselves. And, and then we do feel that weight. We do feel that pressure.

We do feel. Almost trapped that I, what, what can I do? Just, I can’t figure out what to do and I can see tremendously the value that a community like what you guys are building can have for a coach. So just maybe talk about an experience you’ve had with somebody who’s come in with an issue that maybe it’s not even you guys that have directly given them an answer to, or a solution for, but maybe somebody within the community has helped them.

Aseem Rastogi: [01:13:59] Yeah. I [01:14:00] mean, just to speak on what you just said a second ago, too, is like, we’ve all had the same problems that coaches have been having for generations. But the difference is like when you are having that issue, like when I was having issues with parents or with administrators at a job, or when Kyle had those issues or he had players who weren’t completely bought or whatever, it’s one thing to use someone else’s solution.

And it’s another thing entirely to come up with your own based on the information and your ground zero of what you have. And I think that’s where the real magic happens in our groups is yeah, like one of our guys is a D two head coach, on the women’s side, up in Rochester and he has his, his own set of issues.

He has his own set of pain points and his solutions may not work for the exact same pain point that a high school coach in Florida has.

They can talk about it, but what’s really important is that when they [01:15:00] go through that pathway and they actually reflect on what their pain point is individually that’s where like the magic of, okay, I’m going to own this solution because I came up with it because it solves my unique problem, even though the actual problem itself is not very unique, everybody’s gone through it, but everybody’s context is different.

And that’s a really powerful thing when you have that community of people who are not only there to provide you with some advice. And like we are obviously, they’re kind of manufacturing a lot of that as well. But you can come to your own conclusions about what’s important in your program, because it’s aligned to all the things we talked about before, right?

Like your values, your inner voice, your mission, your vision, all of those things to where the solution can align and create some congruence with what you want to happen. And what’s actually going to happen. And it allows for coaches to sleep at night. I don’t know, [01:16:00] Kyle, if you want to tell, tell one of the stories, you’re much better at that than I am, with the, with the success stories in the field.

Mike Klinzing: [01:16:06] That was going to be my next question is give us an example of somebody that came in with the situation and came out with a solution that worked, just give us a success story. Give us one of those. So good stories.

Kyle Kavanaugh: [01:16:20] So I’ll go back to the same, correct me, but I think it was the very first session. That we had 20 weeks ago.

and we’ve got a, a very successful girls program that went like 22 and two, and was probably well on their way to winning a state championship had COVID not gotten in the way. and it’s, it’s, it’s funny, real quick. You say we all have the same problems over and over again until there’s a pandemic.

And then we finally have, yeah, I guess that’s a new price, right. But to your point to have a community, that’s all going through that similar thing and all in different places. Like we’ve got coaches in Ohio that are playing football right now. We have coaches in [01:17:00] Pennsylvania that aren’t, we have coaches in Oregon that aren’t, but Louisiana is different.

And so anyway, just sort of being able to go through something brand new, even if that does occur. Having that in place, but anyway, to your point, going all the way back to that first session, they have a ton of talent and we get this sort of hear this same old story, and we hear this and lead them up a lot of times too.

Like we have good kids we, we, we have, we don’t stop that. We have like bad leadership or we have bad kids. We have bad character issues and we’re sort of. Setting that bar, like the bare minimum like our kids don’t get arrested or or they’re not failing drug tests, so we’re gonna have bad character issues.

You know, they don’t cheat on tests. You know, they go to school and it’s like, well, that’s kind of, sort of the bare minimum of how we want our our kids to kind of carry themselves and represent our programs. And we’re on that call. And the coach is talking about like, our kids have good character we have high character kids that the [01:18:00] da and.

But then they go off on this thing where they’re like, but you know, they’ve got bad body language or the kid will get beat baseline three times in a row, or they won’t return a text message. And we kind of think about like character as being like, Oh, I didn’t murder anybody. Like that’s the only thing that character sort of is held up to and a SIEM gets credit for this.

He should be the one telling this story really, is that he’s like, hold on. You say you have high character kids, but you have kids that don’t return a text, or you have a girl who constantly gets beat baseline when she’s not supposed to or we have kids that don’t think they’re passer or they’ve got bad body language and they get pulled out.

And so when we reframe the definition of character as the repeatability of those habits, repeatability of those good habits, that consistency of those. Then that coach like, just stop then almost like [01:19:00] fell out of her chair. She was like, Oh my God, our kids have terrible character, you know? And it wasn’t like, that was a bad thing, but that was the awareness and the epiphany that we sorta had to get to.

For her to reframe and rethink the way all of their daily conversations were taking place. And so that leads us into a conversation on culture versus climate. We’re all about culture these days with coaches. Now you mentioned earlier, like last 10, 15 years that’s really changed is culture, culture, culture, culture, culture, but almost nobody spends any time talking about climate.

What we’re actually doing in our day to day to take all of those, those great words off of the tee shirt, the wristband, or off the wall, and actually put them into place on the floor. And we talk about character being part of our culture will really is about, it’s a part of our climate and how we’re being consistent and repeating the behaviors or the habits that we really want to have.

And I mean, that’s sort of how we kicked this whole thing off was with [01:20:00] that moment right there. And I think we’ve referred to that particular moment in that particular session almost every week we’ve been together. because that was such a massive moment for that particular coach and then taking that to her head coach and then getting to the players and then just sort of hearing all the successive.

Success stories that they’ve had about all those other little bitty things in their daily climate that are getting better just simply because we reframed and rethought of how we were viewing a particular term.

Mike Klinzing: [01:20:34] I think that’s a great point. I think it’s one that sometimes coaches struggle with because.

They come up with whatever you want to call all them, their standards, their pillars, the words that their program is going to be built around and you put them on a tee shirt, put them on a poster, you have them around, and you carry that as a coach. And you kind of have an idea of what that means. To you as a coach.

So if I say [01:21:00] characters want to going to be one of the pillars of our program, or I say communication is going to be one of the pillars of our program, or we’re going to be a team that has high energy. Okay, great. What does that actually mean? If I’m a player and my coach comes to me and says, okay, this year’s team, we’re about communication, character and energy.

And I’m sitting there in the locker room on the bench, looking at my coach and okay, great. Now, what does that actually, what does that mean? What am I supposed to do, do to be able to. Instill that in myself as well player so that it actually translates. So we’re getting those things. So how important it is, is it to you guys to make sure that when you come up with those words, those pillars, those standards, to me, it’s important to make sure that there are specific behaviors or actions attached to them that.

The coaching staff is looking for from the players [01:22:00] or from each other or from other members of the staff. And then I think it’s really important that, and you have to identify those things when they happen. And point them out so that you continue to get them repeated, because if you don’t, if you just talk about them, but you never ask anybody to perform any action or behavior around those words, and then you don’t recognize them when you see them, then it just becomes, again, a word on a wall and not really something that’s part of what you’re trying to build.

That’s your culture of your program. Right?

Aseem Rastogi: [01:22:29] And so the actionable part actually comes from our athletes who set the standards themselves. Based on what the coach is saying. So using those words, I can’t remember exactly what they are, but communication, energy and character. Well, all right.

So we have a process that we take coaches through and we’re like, all right, how would you define that? And they go through this it’s pretty lengthy process, but then we give that to them as part of their membership and say, Hey, take this [01:23:00] with you, do this with your team. And then our calls are going to be focused on helping you stay true to that.

When the pressure comes to go find another player, go win more games. You can lean on this cause it’s infinitely harder to coach to that standard than it is to just coach to win that one game. And so what really we’ve found is like regardless of the story that they piled told even a more recent one happened today.

You know, we have a coach in our cohorts who’s from Pittsburgh. And this guy like was a couple of weeks ago, was like ready to cut this kid from his team. Cause he was like, I just can’t handle that into this character, this character that, and we’re like, hold on, slow down. Like, let’s go through this process with this player.

Let’s try this with this player and we get almost a novel. No text messages today from that same coach, like I’ve got this kid like human [01:24:00] component. That was the text that led it all off. It’s just human component. and so for him, it was about creating commitment. And his guys all had individual motivations.

So he had to get to where they could raise their awareness to what their individual commitments are. And then he could hold them accountable to something. And so he put forth all that energy to get those commitments in the first place. And now all he’s going to do is give feedback on just those commitments, nothing else, because those commitments are things that those kids can control.

How often are we giving feedback as coaches. On things that kids have no ability to control. And that just leads to more frustration. When, if we have those defined values, we have the defined mission and vision that’s for the coaches. All of that stuff gets taken and bottled up and the kids. Or that the athletes or the players, whatever, they’re not all kids, they get to set, Hey, this is what I’m going to be committed to.

[01:25:00] And this is what our team is going to commit to doing. These are the behaviors that are going to guide those values and take them off the wall and put them in what we do on a daily basis. And we have some proprietary things that we do, with our coaches that get at that point. And then our job as, as sort of.

They’re allies and their holistic coach development is to keep them on that track and give them and help them discover more of those strategies on how to actually give that feedback, how to improve it, this stuff, rather than just emphasizing it and embedding it into their daily. and that’s really, to me is probably the most fun challenge that you can ask us as.

You know, as a, as an ally for coach development is like, Hey, I’m going to help you do this, but it’s going to be your idea. And you’re going to do the heavy lifting. My job is to sit here and listen and ask you questions so that you can pull out the solution you’ve already had inside of you. And it’s not somebody else’s solution.

It’s your solution.

Mike Klinzing: [01:25:58] Yeah. It’s almost a trickle down [01:26:00] effect where it comes from you guys to the group, to the coach, and then eventually it trickles down to the players. And when you get. Everybody in the program, that’s on board. That’s trying to live up to again, whatever it is, the standards that the coach wants to set the vision that they have for their program.

That’s where I think things really start to work and really start to happen. We’re coming up here, guys on an hour and a half. So before we wrap up, I want to give you a chance to share where people can. Reach out to you where they can find you share all your social media. So that got everyone out there.

Those where they can find out more about what you guys are doing. Cause it’s great stuff. And I can see from the enthusiasm that both of you bring them the table, that any code who gets an opportunity to be a part of what you’re, the building is going to feel like they got tremendous value from it. Not only with their [01:27:00] experiences with you guys, but then the experiences that they’re going to take back, that’s going to positively impact their team all the way around, across the board.

So go ahead and share your contact information. Then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

Aseem Rastogi: [01:27:14] Kyle you can go first.

Kyle Kavanaugh: [01:27:15] Yeah, so the, the best way to really get in touch with us is just go to the website, And if you haven’t already click that subscribe button, put your email in there and then get on our list.

And that lets us know it gets our first connection established, gets you on our mailing list. We send out content, weekly sometimes a little bit more than that. and just so we can kind of get to know who you are and get that first part, established another great way to just get in touch with us is we’re very active on social media, on Twitter.

My coaching handle. Our Twitter handle is @coachK424, and RDMS are constantly open. So [01:28:00] anybody feel free to reach out to either email us or donate if it be a little more personal or that reach out to us and, and, hit a set, on DM or, email his

Aseem Rastogi: [01:28:16] Yeah. And so, so to follow up on that, my Twitter. Is @rastogi_ aseem. And this is a standing invitation to any coach, teacher and athletic director administrator that’s listening, of the millions and millions of the Hoop Heads Pod fans. I know there are, every Monday night.

At 8:00 PM Eastern, we do what’s called ISI rocket chat. It is a Twitter chat and you just follow the hashtag. So it’s hashtag E C R a C a chat and that’s every Monday night at 8:00 PM. We have a series of five questions that go out, [01:29:00] and we’re interactive. It’s a live chat and we’d invite anybody to join us.

And if you find value in that, please consider again, like Kyle said, subscriber to the website and open enrollment is right now. jump in while, while the jumping in is good and let’s get this thing going

Mike Klinzing: [01:29:17] Aseem &  Kyle. I can’t thank you enough for joining us tonight and spending an hour and a half of your time to share with us what you guys have been able to build in such a short period of time, the value that you’re going to provide for coaches in the years to come and the impact that you’re going to have on.

Those coaches and then consequently downstream all of their players. You’re probably not even going to be able to measure it. And I’m sure that when you have time to reflect on it at some point in the future, when you’re not building a website at 3:00 AM, that you’re going to be very, very proud, the impact that you’ve been able to have in the sporting world, through what you guys have been able to build.

So build so kudos to both of you for what you’ve been [01:30:00] able to do for coaches out there who are part of our audience. I hope that you’ll give. Essential Coaching a look and these two guys, if you had a chance to listen tonight and you made it to the end of the episode the type of guys that they are and the value that they’re going to provide.

So again, Aseem and Kyle, can’t thank you guys enough for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it. And to everyone out there, thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.

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