Clint Pulver

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Clint Pulver is the author of the book, “I love It Here”  He is also an Emmy Award-winning motivational keynote speaker, author, musician, and workforce expert.

Clint helps organizations retain, engage, and inspire their team members. He expertly helps audiences navigate generational complexities, communication challenges, leadership missteps, and cultural cues.

Clint strongly believes that a single moment in time can change a person’s life. His mantra? “It’s not about being the best in the world…it’s about being the best FOR the world.”

If you’re looking to improve your coaching please consider joining the Hoop Heads Mentorship Program.  We believe that having a mentor is the best way to maximize your potential and become a transformational coach. By matching you up with one of our experienced mentors you’ll develop a one on one relationship that will help your coaching, your team, your program, and your mindset.  The Hoop Heads Mentorship Program delivers mentoring services to basketball coaches at all levels through our team of experienced Head Coaches. Find out more at or shoot me an email directly

Our roster of shows is growing so don’t forget to check out all our other podcasts on the Hoop Heads Pod Network including Thrive with Trevor Huffman, Beyond the Ball, The Podcast, Player’s Court, Bleachers & Boards, The Green Light, Courtside Culture and our team focused NBA Podcasts: Cavalier Central, Knuck if you Buck, The 305 Culture, #Lakers, Motor City Hoops, X’s and O’s: NBA Breakdown, Spanning the Spurs, LA Hoops, The Wizards Hoops Analyst & At The Buzzer. We’re looking for more NBA podcasters interested in hosting their own show centered on a particular team. Email us if you’re interested in learning more and bringing your talent to our network.

Be prepared with a notepad and pen  as you listen to this episode with Clint Pulver, author of the book “I Love it Here”.

What We Discuss with Clint Pulver

  • A single moment in time is priceless, and can change a person’s direction in life.
  • Leadership is a key factor in player retention. People quit coaches, not programs. And they stay for them, too.
  • You can create your Dream Team by putting the right players in the right positions, and connecting your players with each other so that you are all are acting as a cohesive whole.
  • Becoming a Mentor Coach creates stronger influence and loyalty that lasts.
  • Your job as a Mentor Coach is to spark the possibilities in the players you lead.
  • Players play at their best in a safe, encouraging, and calm environment. You can create this environment by keeping things simple.
  • When you give your players a sense of ownership over their role, they feel more invested in developing their skills and in the team’s success.
  • You must let players do their jobs, but watch continually to see how they’re doing, provide feedback, and find out what they need.
  • Hard times reveal true character—how you respond is what people will remember most.
  • Coaches always need mentoring.
  • Your player’s commitment is one part of a larger life, and that life requires passion, purpose, and the ability to provide.

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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 be able to welcome the author of the book “I Love It Here”, Clint Pulver. Clint, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

Clint Pulver: [00:00:13] Dude. Thanks Mike. I appreciate it, Jason. It means a lot. It’s good to be with you guys.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:18] We are excited to be able to have you on. Had an opportunity to read your book prior to having you on the podcast tonight. And there was just a lot of great stuff in there that is applicable to our audience of basketball coaches. So I’m excited to be able to dig into some of the nitty-gritty details and some of the things that you learned in doing your research and how we can apply that to basketball coaches and help them to improve their programs and themselves as a coach.

But before we do that, let’s talk a little bit about the why behind the book. Give us an idea of where the inspiration for the book came from and then why now is the right time. To write it, even though you told us prior to the show that even working out for four years.

Clint Pulver: [00:00:59] Yeah, for sure, [00:01:00] man. So the book started five years ago when I was on a trip to New York city and I was a part of a mastermind group with other CEOs, executives, leaders, coaches, and we were meeting with other successful entrepreneurs, business owners.

And one of the guys that we met with owned a sporting goods store in downtown New York city in Manhattan, beautiful store sports, swag lore. And we were learning from this guy about how he created a business that had adapted through all of the, all of the, the decades, the time the, the, the transitions of business.

And he talked about how, if you don’t adapt, you’re going to die. And he said it in that thick New York accent, he said, you got to adapt to you going to die. It was very profound. I still remember it. And he said, you know, we’re, we’re on Amazon. Now. We’ve got an Instagram. You know, the old brick and mortar style of doing business is dead.

If you just you’ll put up a business and [00:02:00] advertise in the newspaper, you are not going to survive. And I agreed with them. And then I asked, I said, so what about your management style? You know, you have this need to adapt your business and your strategy, but what about people? Have you, have you changed the way you manage today versus the way you manage 20 years ago?

And he fired back and he said, Nope, not at all. The way I manage today is the same way I managed 20 years ago and we get results and it was another like fairly profound, pretty bold statement. And I thought, okay it’s interesting. He feels the need to change his business to, to meet the demands of the marketplace, but no need to change how he interacts with humans.

And I looked around the store and all of his employees were my age or younger, like young millennials, gen Z younger people. And I thought, I wonder. I’m just curious. I wonder if they would say the same thing. So I think the guy for his time, we had 35 minutes to kill until we needed to be to the next [00:03:00] place and I had nothing else better to do.

So I walked up to the first employee. Now, mind you, you guys, I looked, I looked like a normal customer. I had a backwards hat on regular ads, just wearing a t-shirt Nike’s just a customer. And I walked up to the first employee and I just said, Hey, I’m just, I’m just curious. What’s it like to work here? And the employee kind of like, looked around, got really quiet.

I felt like we were doing like an illegal drug exchange. And he said, he said he really want to know. And I said, yeah, yeah, I I’m, I’m genuinely curious. He said, dude, I can not stand it here. Like, okay, well, you know, really. And he goes, I honestly, I don’t even think my manager knows I’m here right now is that we are literally numbers.

We’re all cogs in a wheel. It’s just a job, man. And I’m like, okay, well then why are you still working here? And he said, no, I’ve already applied to three other places. As soon as I get an opportunity I’m out. And I’m thinking, okay, maybe the, [00:04:00] maybe the kids had a bad day, right? So I go to the next employee, ask the same question and then the next and the next and the next in that 35 minutes, you guys, I interviewed six employees, I’ll ask the same questions.

And at the end of those conversations, five out of the six, that they would not be working for this guy in his store in less than three and a half months. The re the perception of the coach, the perception of the CEO, the manager, versus the reality of the employees. The reality of the players was night and day different.

Like it could not be more different. And that was the moment for me that I started the undercover millennial program. It’s kind of like undercover boss without the makeup. Anybody’s ever seen that TV show and I, how it would work cause I’d walk into an organization and I would be someone who is looking for a job just like I did in [00:05:00] that story.

The origin story, and the employees would tell me everything because I wasn’t a manager. I’m not a survey. I’m not, I’m not someone in the company. I’m just another millennial. And we have done this for over five years now. And we have through this course and four years of writing the book and conducting the research, I’ve worked with 181 organizations and I have interviewed over 10,000 employees undercover.

And through this, this, this movement, this, this endeavor, this journey, I believe we have conduct a season. What’s the right word. I believe that we have collected the most real and authentic data behind how great leaders, how great coaches. We’re creating organizations and teams that people, players and employees never wanted to leave.

And the beauty of the book is it’s not another leadership [00:06:00] book written by a self-proclaimed leadership expert. This is a book that’s written by 10,000 employees who knew when their leaders were getting it right. And it’s been a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:13] And I think what I took away from the book is it’s clearly directed at, from a business perspective.

And yet as I was reading it, every single thing that came across in the book not only was reflective of what might happen in business, but the reason why we wanted to have you on is because it’s also reflective of what goes on on a team and where the leader is the coach. And I think that as I was, as I was reading it.

On every page almost I was able to pull out something and say, Ooh, I can see how that applies to my time. As a basketball coach, I can see how someone who is the leader of a program, whether that be at the college level or the high school level can take this lesson and [00:07:00] learn something from it and apply it to make their program better.

So I think what I want to do, and I think this’ll be a great way for us to organize the podcast. And I is to just kind of go through some of the lessons that you’ve learned over the course of those 10,000 interviews. And let’s take those general concepts and then we’re going to break them down into how they apply to coaching.

So what I’d like to do is just read directly from your book, each of those different principles. And then I’ll give you my take on how I think they apply to coaching. And then you can fill in the details after that, if that makes sense. Perfect. All right. Number one, a single moment in time is priceless and can change the direction a person’s direction in life.

So when I read that, I think about things that coaches have said to me when I was a player that I still remember that had a profound impact on [00:08:00] me, not only in my basketball career, but in my life, it’s harder to know going the other way, unless a player comes back and tells you something that you said to them, because a lot of times things that we say we don’t always remember, and we don’t realize sometimes the impact that they have, which I think is exactly what this exactly what this principle is saying.

I’m going to give you a quick story. So when I was a high school player, and again, we’re talking, this is a long time ago, I’m 51 years old. So we’re talking whatever that would be 26 or so years ago when I was a high school basketball player and I was being recruited and I was being recruited by a school.

In Atlanta, Georgia Oglethorpe university, which was an NAI school. And I will never forget an assistant coach while I was on that trip, told me that I told them where some of the other schools were that I was considering. And one of them was a school that I ended up attending, which was Kent state, which is a division one school.

And as I said, Oh, we’ll throw up. Wasn’t an AI school. And this coach said to me, he said, you don’t want to go to Kent state [00:09:00] because if you go there, they’re just going to recruit over top of your next year. And you’re never going to play. If you come here, you could score a thousand points and have a great career.

And I always thought I was a division one player that stuck with me and all through my four years while I was at Kent, I heard that coaches quote in my head all the time and in my last game of my career as a senior. And I didn’t know it was my last game. So it was a tournament game that we ended up losing.

But nonetheless, it could have been my last game. And I went into that game. And I needed to score. Let me think about it. Let me think. Let me think about the math now. So I needed to score 11 points to get to a thousand. I ended up getting 17 and finished my career with 1,006 points. And so there was something that a guy said to me, I’m sure, 10 minutes later, he had no recollection that he said it to me, but it impacted me in such a way.

And in that case, it ended up being a positive, even though his [00:10:00] comment was somewhat negative, ended up being a positive in my life. But I guess the point here is, is that one single moment with him maybe change the direction it gave me some fire gave me some motivation to be able to do the things that I did.

So take it from there. How is a single moment in time priceless and being able to change a person’s direction in life.

Clint Pulver: [00:10:19] Yemen is a beautiful story. Adjacent Arab, excuse me. Right? Because here’s the thing. Team members day. They don’t remember days they remember moments and we’ve all had those people in our lives.

It’s a difference between being a successful coach. And a significant coach. It’s a big difference there you have, the coach has always focused on the W’s. They’re always focused on the win. They’re always focused on the performance. They’re always focused on the development, but then you have the coaches that are equally focused on advocating, creating moments of connection, moments of inspiration moments, where they, they communicated your potential and your worth as an [00:11:00] individual.

So well, to the point that you saw within yourself. And I, I have a similar story. I was a kid that I had a hard time sitting still in school. I would tap nervously on a desk. I would just move, move, move. And obviously everybody else in the room, that’s annoying because nobody wants to hear that. I got nicknamed the twitcher, the Tapper I got sent to the principal’s office and I was constantly deemed a problem until one day I had a teacher and his name was Mr. Jensen. And he told me to stay after class. And he said, Clint, listen, I got to talk to you. And I’m thinking to myself, I’m getting kicked out of school as a ten-year-old. And he pulls me to the side, sits down and he says, listen, I know you’re the kid, that’s on the list. You’re the kid that everybody else talks about.

Like all the teachers, you’re the problem, child, everybody nicknames, you’d tap in my class and you tap in everybody else’s class. He said, but I’ve watched you. And you literally you’ll start writing [00:12:00] with your right hand. And then you tap with your left hand and then you can switch the pen and you move your pen over to your left hand and you start tapping with your right hand.

And he looked at me and he said, he said, I think you’re ambidextrous and I’m like, I’m Presbyterian. And he said, no, that’s not what it means. That’s not what this means. He said, can you tap your head and rub your belly? And I said, yeah, I can do that. And he said, can you switch it?

And I just had this independence over my limbs and he sat back and he looked at me and he said, I don’t think you’re a problem. I just think you’re a drummer. And some people hear that and they go, what’s the difference between those two things?  Don’t think you’re a problem. I just think you’re a drummer, but in this moment, you guys, he reached back and he opened up the top drawer and he reached inside and he took out my very first pair of drumsticks, my very first pair.

And he put them in my hands and [00:13:00] he made me promise. And he said, Glen, I have no idea what’s going to happen, dude. But I w I want you to just keep them in your hands as much as you can. And that was 22 years ago. And I can, I can sit here today. And on this show, honestly tell you that 22 years ago, literally to this exact day, I have tried my best to keep my promise to Mr.

Jensen. And for 22 years, I’ve had the opportunity to tour and record all over the world. As a professional drummer, I played with the blue man group Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw. I was on, America’s got talent. I remember when I graduated high school, I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

And so what do you do w when you’re at that point, you go to college, right? So I went to college, I graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree and zero college. Yeah. Zero. And that was from music scholarships. And I don’t say all that to go, you know, like, wow, clan, good for you, or what a list of accolades.

But it’s a very similar [00:14:00] story. Like you, you talked about Mike, it was because of one moment where somebody decided to advocate for you. They sparked a possibility. And in doing so, it changed your life forever. Great coaches know how to design moments, where people like themselves best because they’re with them.

Single moments in time that have the ability to communicate potential and worth so well to the point that those players see it within themselves, that significant coaching, not just successful coaching.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:35] And I think, and correct me if I’m wrong. But I think when you look at this particular principle, I think it’s something that oftentimes we, as coaches don’t even necessarily know.

I mean, we can intentionally try to create those moments so we can be conscious of the way that we’re talking to our players, but we may not know what particular thing we’ve said [00:15:00] that can impact a player tomorrow five years from now 10 years from now, 20 years from now. Here’s you here’s me carrying those things that someone did for us or said to us, Oh, this many years later, and.

Again, I’m guessing that maybe Mr. Jensen remembers your story because it’s a little bit more personal, but I’m certain that the guy who was the assistant coach back that long ago has no idea has no recollection of ever saying that to me, probably doesn’t even remember me at all. And yet I’m carrying that with me.

And I think it speaks to the power that we have as coaches to be able to have an impact positive or negative on our players. And that leads to me, just using a word that I use on the podcast all the time is being intentional about the language that you use and the way that you speak and the things that you’re trying to create for your team, for your players.

And when you do it right, you can have that long lasting impact. That goes way beyond. That practice, [00:16:00] that one game, that season is going to be something that, that player is going to carry with them for the rest of their life.

Clint Pulver: [00:16:06] And I think that’s critically, critically important and it can be designed, right?

Like Mr. Jensen, it wasn’t just like a fluke thing where he was like, Hey, good job kid. Or like, Hey, you should play the drums. No, it was designed. He planned it out. And I think, you know, sometimes we coach by default, right? You get in the habits, you’re just, you’re in the routine. This is what we did last year.

I’ve been a coach for 20 years. I just, I I’ve got my methodology. I know what I need to do. And you just, you do it. But there is, you know, you, you talked about creating a moment being intentional about a moment. And, and I would add to that and say design it like when you, when you go out to coach tomorrow, the next day, and you’re with your team, think about it.

Like truly design a moment in a player’s life. Pull them aside, sit down and just say, Hey, listen, I just want you to know that when I, when I, when I looked at you, when I, when I saw you play today, I, I saw this [00:17:00] as our ha ha your feet, you know, the technique and where you’re, where you, where you were at two weeks ago versus where you’re at today.

Dude. I see it. I see it in you. I just want you to know that and listen, if you keep doing what you’re doing, this is what I see you becoming, that’s it do that. You’re communicating potential and you’re communicating worth. And as a coach, you just designed a moment that could, that could transform a players, methodology, their ideology, how they think, how they feel, what they’re thinking about themselves and, and, and spark the motivation to do better creative design, the moments it matters.

Mike Klinzing: [00:17:40] It does agreed. All right. Principle number two. Leadership is a key factor in this case, employee retention, people quit bosses, not jobs, and they stay for them too. So if we replace the word employee with player, Leadership is a key factor in player retention players, quit [00:18:00] coaches, not teams, and they stay for them too.

And I think when I read this, I think about the coaches who I’ve played with, or the coaching staffs and teams that I’ve been on, where when we’ve done a good job of leadership or when the coaches that I played for did a good job of leadership. It made everybody want to be a part of it. And everybody started rolling the boat in the same direction.

And in situations where the leadership maybe is not as good, maybe you don’t have people necessarily quit the team, although that certainly happens. But a lot of times you can have kind of an inside mutiny where the players are there and they’re still playing because they want to play. But it’s almost like they’re playing in spite of the coach instead of playing together with the coach.

And it’s almost like they’re rolling. The boat in opposite directions instead of getting everybody together and moving that ship in the same direction. So how do you think this principle [00:19:00] applies to the coaching profession?

Clint Pulver: [00:19:03] In our research we found that that, that people the number one reason why they stayed in a job was because of management.

Management was also the number one reason why they left. And in every organization we found four different types of managers. And so for this purpose of the show, we’re going to call them the four different types of coaches because it’s universal. Like I wrote the book yes, for managers and people in the corporate world, but they are universal truths that apply to coaching.

They apply to relationships, they apply to just human, human connection. And so there’s always two variables that we need to address in this. When we talk about good management and good coaching, and those two variables are standards. And the second one is connection. Standard is, is, is the development.

It’s how you run the team. It’s how you grow your team. It’s the expectations. We arrive five minutes late as a team we perform until this time we, we hustle this hard. [00:20:00] I’m going to grow you. I need us to get from point a to point B to point C the standards of the team, but then there’s the second component.

And that is connection. I believe that no significant loyalty on your team will ever happen without significant connection. Why? Because every one of your players is asking you as a coach. Let me know when it gets to the part about me and some coaches hear that and they go, well, those entitled little shining stars in my life, right?

Like let me know when it gets to the part about me, but listen, it is not, it is not so much about entitlement as it is about good business about good coaching, bringing humanity back into the sport. And, and we look at that and it bothers me because some coaches, they look at that as a, the soft skills, the intangibles.

Don’t tell me I need to coddle my players, but yet, yet they wonder why nobody listens to them or they wonder why they can’t recruit anybody or they wonder why we’re not getting [00:21:00] engagement, loyalty. Buy-in why things aren’t being implemented because you haven’t gotten to the part about them.

And there’s lots of ways to do that. But I think in identifying these four different types of coaches, you see some some pretty interesting diagnosis as some pretty interesting things that happen because of the decisions that the coach makes. So, number one, the first coach is the removed coach.

This is a coach that’s low on standards and they’re low on connection. This is the coach that should have stopped coaching 20 years ago. They’re tired. They’re burnt out. Like they have, they have no idea who they’re playing next week. They’re just tired. They’re in the team, but they’re not into the team.

They’re there, but they’re just not. They’re just, yeah, they’re removed. And so what does this create in the team? Disengagement coach could care less if we show up on time or not. Why should we show up on time? Coach literally has no idea what I do [00:22:00] outside of basketball. Like, so why should I care about what he tells me to do?

And how does that get to the part about me that the second coach is the buddy coach. This is the coach that wants to be liked more than they want to be respected. So they’re really high on connection, but they’re low on standards. They don’t want to ruffle any feathers. They don’t want to take anybody off.

They don’t want a parent coming in, jumping down their throat because they harped on a kid that they, they, they this is where you find on a coach on a head or excuse me, on a team where that the players become more of the coach. Then, then the coach says, because there’s a sense of entitlement. You know, this is the coach that goes and plays.

X-Box on the weekends with the players. Like they’re high on connection. They’re a homie. The coach is a homie,  not a coach, but the third, the third is the most common, unfortunately. And that is what we call the controller. This is the coach. That’s high on standards [00:23:00] and low on connection. It’s like that old command and control model of coaching.

This is the coach it’s like, listen, put your head down. You go to work. Be glad you’re on this team. Don’t complain to me. Don’t I don’t want to hear it. Listen, I don’t care what you did on the weekends. We’re here to get a we’re here to win. Put your head down, go to work. And what does this create rebellion?

This is the coach. That’s again, the high on standards, low on connection. They are constantly trying to go toe to toe with every player on the team. Instead of shoulder to shoulder. There’s no collaboration. It’s my way or the highway. And if you don’t like it, get off the team. But the fourth, the fourth coach, you guys, man, this was.

Again, I think that the difference between success and significance, and it’s what I call the mentor coach, they were equally high on their standards. As much as they were equally high on their ability to connect. They understood, yes, we have [00:24:00] development and growth and we have, you know, there’s an objective.

We need to win a game. I want, I want us to perform, but I also understand that you’re a person and every player is an individual. I understand. I understand how to empathize. I understand how to, to, to be relatable and to have patients and to connect. And what did this create in the players? Respect? They might not have always been liked by the players, but they were risk.

They would the coaches were respected and there’s a reason you guys, why I call it mentorship versus management, or even a leader, or even a coach. Mentorship is different than all of those. For example, leadership is like, you’re the guy in the front and you’re leading the organization. You have the vision, you stand in front, you lead, you get people to follow you.

That’s leadership. Where’s the ship headed a manager is really good at making sure that the team that the ship has no leaks. How do we get from point a to point B and make sure that we do [00:25:00] that as fast as possible, but a mentor, a mentor is not a title. Mentorship could only be earned. And that was why it was so powerful.

You might have the title of a coach. Like you got the position as the head coach, but your kids, your players will decide if you’re a mentor, you cannot become a mentor until the mentee invites you into their heart. And it was so powerful when it happened. Any great story. You have the hero of the story.

And then who appears in the story? It’s the mentor like Luke Skywalker had obi-wan. Rocky. I love Rocky. Rocky had Mick, Frodo had Gandolf,  Aladdin had the genie, right? Like all these examples of great mentors that connected people to their dreams and, and, and really quickly, I know I’m talking a little bit about this, but it’s, so I think [00:26:00] it’s an important thing that good coaches understand and, and coaches can do a little bit better at, and there’s four there’s five characteristics that every mentor had that they possessed in our research.

When we saw an individual command engagement, loyalty, buy-in respect from players, they had these five characteristics and it’s what allowed them to be a mentor, not just a coach and those, I call them the five CS of mentorship and I’ll rattle through these really quick, but I think they’re critical to understand and to, to think about number one is confidence.

Confidence is a mindset. Are you confident in yourself? Are you confident in your coaching abilities? Are you confident in the game? Are you confident that you can get your players to where they want to go? That builds stronger trust. The second C is credibility. What’s your background as a coach. What’s your history?

What’s your resume? [00:27:00] Where did you play? How long did you play for, you know, how, how many, how many, how many points did you put up in a seat? Like I want to know that if I’m going to call you a mentor, you better have some credibility in what you’re mentoring me about that the third C is competence. You might know everything about the game of basketball, but as a, as a coach, as a mentor, can you actually get out on the court and shoot a hoop practitioners were always more powerful than, than theorists people that knew everything about the game versus people that actually played the game.

As a drummer, I want to study with a drummer. That’s playing someone that has experience. They’ve got chops, not just methodology. And the, the fourth one is candor. They had the ability to create relationships so strong that honesty could exist. I want to mentor with someone, who’s going to be honest with me, someone [00:28:00] who’s going to give it to me straight, but they’ve also made those deposits of trust consistently over a long period of time, which allows them to make some withdrawals so we can have those candid conversations.

And I knew that it was coming from a good place because that then wraps in the last C, which is caring. They had the ability to truly care, you know? Yeah. The winds are important, but I care more about you as a young man, or I care more about you as a young woman and who you’re going to become after this, this life of basketball.

I care about you. Those five CS confidence, credibility, competence, candor, and the ability to care any great mentor in my life. And I’m sure you both can relate any great mentor that you have had has possessed those five CS. And it was a gorgeous thing to watch in the lives of other people.

Mike Klinzing: [00:28:58] I want to ask you about caring.

So [00:29:00] if I’m a coach and I want to make sure that I’m building the kinds of caring relationships that are required in order for me to be a mentoring coach, what are some ways that you found in your research that people are able to build connections with others that enable them to have the types of relationships that we’re talking about?

Clint Pulver: [00:29:24] Yeah, it’s a great question. Your team members spell connection. T I M E granted, they can’t spell that well, but that’s how they spell it. Time. And I think as coaches, we’re really good at creating the to-do lists, like the things that we need to do. And I found that good leaders, good coaches, for the most part, they know what they need to do.

Like you, you know, what you need to do to get points on a board, you know, what you need to do to, to, to create synergy and, and a good team that, that has a good culture. Like for the most part, you know how to do that. You’ve got some basic framework, [00:30:00] but the great coaches knew what they needed to stop doing.

Sometimes we’re so busy as coaches and we’re trying to boil the ocean, like some of, some of the great coaches, you know, they’re, they’re so busy, they’re so good at stacking and, and they’re just busy. And then they wonder why they can’t connect. Instead of making the to-do list. I recommend to coaches that they create a to don’t list.

What are the things that you can stop doing in your coaching that would allow you more time? You know, when a player comes and knocks on your door and says, Hey coach, I just got him in. I want to talk to you about the game. Are you so busy? Cause you got emails, you got scheduling things that you’re trying to do.

You’ve got another meeting with another assistant coach. You’ve got this schedule that you’re trying to outline. You’ve got, you know, whatever it is, right. You’re busy. But when you create the to don’t list and you realize, okay, I’ve got to set some boundaries for myself, simplicity. I love what [00:31:00] DaVinci said.

In his quote, he said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Keep it simple. How do we simplify our life so that we can give our players and the people in our lives more time. And it’s not even just in our coaching, it’s in our personal lives. Right. And what do we do in the morning when we wake up, do you grab your cell phone and start checking the emails?

You know, look on Instagram, start scrolling on Facebook. What’s going on on LinkedIn. You know, check out ESPN or do you turn over to the person next to you and tell him how much you love him? It’s that design, right? It’s understanding that marriage is grand. It really is, but divorce is about a hundred grand.

It is right. And good coaching. It takes effort. It takes effort. But when you don’t invest and you don’t give time, that’s, that’s where we run into dysfunctional teams. That’s where you run into teams that have [00:32:00] zero connection. They have zero buy-in because the coach just doesn’t have the time simplify your life, make that to-do list.

Mike Klinzing: [00:32:09] Yeah, that’s a great point. I love that. I think it’s, I think when you start talking about simplifying and you start talking about taking time out to connect with your players, you can extend that into the business world. You can extend that into your own personal life. When you think about your family, And what’s important to you.

Am I, as you said, am I scrolling through my phone or am I sitting and talking to talk right. Talking to my family, creating those moments that we talked about earlier, and it’s easy. Look, sometimes the easier thing to do this is just lose ourselves in a screen. And yet at the same time, we all know that if we’re really going to build meaningful connections with our family, our players, our employees, whatever it might be that we have to put that thing down and we have to start spending time.

As you said, I think that’s critically important. I think it’s a [00:33:00] great piece of advice. All right, let’s move to principle three and I’m going to paraphrase this and kind of put it into coach speak. So you can create your dream team by putting the right people in the right positions and then connecting your people with each other so that they are all acting as a cohesive whole.

So when I read this and I think about it from a coaching perspective, I think about, I have to put the right player in the right role on the team, but that’s only half the job in my mind because I think the next piece of that is I have to make sure that I communicate to each of my players, what their role is, why it’s their role and how that role fits into us becoming successful.

And if I’ve built the type of relationship that we talked about in the last principle, then I’m going to get people to buy in because I’m going to be honest with them. And they’re going to know that I’m telling them the way it is and I’m speaking the [00:34:00] truth to them. And that’s when you get people to buy in, when you don’t communicate, when you put people in the wrong positions for their skillset and you don’t communicate why they’re there, or why they’re playing or why they’re not playing, then you get all kinds of problems.

So I think communicating, getting people in the right places and making sure that they understand why they’re there to me, that’s what I took away from that principle.

Clint Pulver: [00:34:24] Yeah, I agree with you, man. And I talk about the ABCs, right? You, you hire for attitude, behavior, and character, and, and sometimes we get focused on the skills, right?

How talented are they? But again, your job is to mentor and you can’t, you can’t control anybody. It’s so funny to me, how many coaches try to control people on that team? They try to control a team. And, and I think the great coaches realize that you’re not there to control people. You’re there to, to create an opportunity.

They, where they understand how to control themselves. [00:35:00] And, and if you hire and you recruit for attitude, behavior, and character, that makes that job a lot easier. Now I get it. Some coaches you can actually recruit, like if you’re in the college world, like in high school, it’s maybe a little bit difficult or whoever tries out.

And what you got to work with is what you’ve got to work with. I obviously I wrote the book in a business standpoint where they are hiring, firing, recruiting people. And so, so some of it doesn’t necessarily translate necessarily, but again, attitude, behavior and character does. And did coaches were always, always recruiting, always recruiting.

And I think it saves people in the business world and it saves even coaches in the athletic world from sometimes we got to just get a player to fill a slot. Sure. Yeah. You’ll, you’ll do let, let’s just, I, I need, I need an extra player. I need, I need a team and I think, you know, good coaches are always recruiting.

They’re always recruiting, even though they might not have a position available, they’re always recruiting. And they’ve got that book. They’ve got that log [00:36:00] of those players that have the attitude, they have the behavior and they have the character and ultimately they will be people that will make a great team.

Mike Klinzing: [00:36:09] Totally. I think that when I hear you say that, what I think about is in all honesty, I believe that coaching has shifted in that direction. Tremendously. In the last 10 to 15 years where it used to be that I think talent trumped all. And that’s not to say that you don’t need talented players because you can have players with the best attitude and the best behaviors and all those things.

But if they’re not talented, you still can’t win. So you need to still need to have talented players. But I do think that there’s been a much greater emphasis placed upon some of those intangible things that not only do we need talent, but we also need players who have those intangibles, because that’s how we build the kind of connected team that we’re talking about.

And those are the people, the players who are going to [00:37:00] buy into what we’re trying to do, and we can teach them some of the things that they need to know. We can teach them how to fit into our offensive scheme. We can teach them the defensive principles that are part of our program, but we can’t teach them.

To have a positive attitude. We can obviously work with them and help people improve their attitude. But if we bring in people that are high character into our program, we have a much greater chance for success.

Clint Pulver: [00:37:24] Yeah. And again, on the flip side, right, you bring somebody in that just has tons of talent, but they’re not teachable like, like good luck creating a cohesive team.

Mike Klinzing: [00:37:35] That’s the old saying of if he comesand plays for us or if he, if he plays for our opponent, you know, we’ll have to compete against them twice a year. If he bring them into our program, we’re gonna have to compete against them 365 days a year. And, and I think it’s an interesting way of looking at somebody who may be talented, but does it fit the culture of your program?

And I think coaches generally speaking are much [00:38:00] better at identifying and looking at those character pieces than they ever have been, just because. The coaching world has shifted in the direction that we’re talking about here tonight and the direction that your research shows that it should be going.

There’s far. I think less of that old school coach, my way or the highway than there used to be. Now that doesn’t mean that those coaches don’t exist because there are still a lot of them out there, but, but we have shifted towards the coach. That’s trying to do the things that we’re talking about here, developing by and becoming a mentor coach, as opposed to just someone who is a straight dictator and just says my way or the highway.

So that goes to number four, becoming a better coach creates stronger influence increased. You have the word profitability I’m going to use increased wins and loyalty that lasts. So I think one of the misnomers or one of the things that that [00:39:00] was a myth early on, as things started to shift in the coaching landscape was that all this sort of.

You said soft skills earlier that all these soft skills were things that okay, that’s great, but that doesn’t help me win on the scoreboard. I, you know, I don’t want to do all that stuff because it doesn’t help me win. And I think it’s been proven over time through research and just through just general experiences and anecdotes that doing this coaching where you are a mentor, where you are building relationships with your players, where you are not only focusing on the basketball X’s and O’s, but you’re also building a relationship with your players.

Not only does it provide a better experience for everybody, including the coach themselves, but also it leads to increased wins on the scoreboard. So talk a little bit about that in terms of how being a mentor coach improves, your influence can help you win on the school board and also creates that loyalty where maybe when [00:40:00] players are done with the program.

They still come back and they want to, they want to be connected to you and be connected to your program. To me, that’s so important.

Clint Pulver: [00:40:08] Yeah. It’s, it’s the difference between a coach wanting to be a hero versus a legend? I love the, the film Sandlot, the Sandlot called classics. Yeah, dude. It’s great. You know, you’ve got the little punk kids are hitting the ball over the field, signed by babe Ruth.

You got the dog, the beast. It’s going to rip their face off. But then Ben, you remember Benny in the story, Ben, he has the dream who appears to Benny in the dream. Do you remember?

Mike Klinzing: [00:40:35] I’m trying to think, Jason, man. Where are you at? This right up your alley. I, well, I was going to say, I think it was Babe Ruth, but I didn’t know for sure.

So I wasn’t going to jump in. I didn’t want to, I was late. I was laying Mike. I knew Mike didn’t know it, but I was going to let him give his chance there. I was pretty sure it was free. Sure. It was paper with the only, the only thing I was thinking about was the lifeguard scene. That’s what I was really thinking about

Mike Klinzing: [00:40:59] [00:41:00] I remember the dog. I remember the dog more than anything else. That’s, that’s what I, that’s what I remember.

Clint Pulver: [00:41:05] But there’s that significant moment where Benny has the dream in babe Ruth appears in the dream and it’s like, you know, the Sultan of SWAT, the King of crash, you know, the, the babe. And there’s the departing words.

The Babe Ruth says to Benny and he says, remember, kid heroes get remembered, but legends never die. And every time, every time you guys, when I hear that, I think to myself, heroes get remembered, but Mr. Jensen’s never die. Yeah. So true. And like, here’s the thing like the, the controller coach, you know, the coach, that’s, fear-based the coach, that’s the old command and control style model.

They get wins. They do, and they get results, but it does not last. And, you know, you might be a hero, right? Because [00:42:00] you got a lot of W’s, but you won’t be a legend. You won’t be the, you won’t be the coach that created significance versus success, you know? And it’s, it’s interesting. I, you know, if I were to ask, you know, who were the last three NFL MVPs, most people have no idea who those people are.

Or if I were to ask you guys, could you tell me who the last two Academy award winners were for best actor?

Mike Klinzing: [00:42:23] That’s a definite no,

Clint Pulver: [00:42:25] yeah, right. Like no clue who were the last to miss Americas. Like, but yet these people, these people have tons of fame, tons of popularity, a lot of money. You would consider them people with a lot of W’s in their lives, but nobody knows who they are.

Jason Sunkle: [00:42:46] To be, to be fair, to be fair. I know that Joaquin Phoenix won, the last one is a joker. So I knew that I couldn’t tell you the one before that, but I can tell you Joaquin Phoenix won the last one. So [00:43:00] you im\pressed me.

Clint Pulver: [00:43:02] I’m impressed, but watch this, you know, could you tell me the name of the coach who made the biggest difference in your life now?

What was their name?

Mike Klinzing: [00:43:17] Mike, Klinzing see, look at that. Look at that.

Clint Pulver: [00:43:20] Did you hear that Clint? Yeah, I did right there. You don’t Mike. Mike, who was yours?

Mike Klinzing: [00:43:26] Well, I would go back and, and honestly I think my first coach and the person that probably had the biggest influence on me was probably my dad. And then secondly was probably my high school coach.

And I’d say those two. Individuals probably had the biggest influence on me. When I think about things that were said positively to me or things that I took with me, I think there’s no doubt that those two individuals did that for me. And I have this same discussion, both Jason and I are [00:44:00] teachers as our day jobs.

And I always try to explain to people, one of the things about teaching that is such a challenge today is the emphasis on standardized testing. And so many States and politicians want to tie your ability as a teacher, to your ability, your student’s ability to perform on a standardized test. And whenever I, exactly, and whenever I, whenever I get in a discussion with somebody about this, I always say to them, okay, I want you to think back in your life.

And I want you to tell me who was your favorite teacher? Who was the teacher that had the biggest impact on you in your life. And so they’ll search back in their memory and they’ll come up with a name and I’ll say, okay, what subject did that person teach? And whatever the math, social studies, whatever it is.

And then I’ll say, well, is the reason why they were the [00:45:00] biggest influence on you? Because you’re much better at algebra because you had this person as a teacher, or did they have the biggest influence on you because they spent 15 minutes after class talking to you when your dog died or they put their arm around you after you lost a big game, or they showed up at your music concert on a Friday night when they could have been at home with their own family.

And inevitably they say, they’ll the ladder. And so I started looking at it and you start saying, Well, if that’s the kind of person that had an influence on you as a teacher, then why would you say that good teachers only are judged by the performance on a standardized test? Cause isn’t making that connection and building a relationship with a kid more important, because those are the people who really are able to have an influence.

And I think it goes the same goes for [00:46:00] coaches. The same goes for bosses in a business setting. And to me when you frame it that way, I just think it becomes so much more clear in people’s minds as to why that, again, those soft skills, if you want to call them, that is, you know, are so

Clint Pulver: [00:46:13] Important. Yeah. And all my research was based off of the employee’s perspective, not, not the, not the leader’s perspective.

And again, our goal in coaching is to get to the part about our players so that we can build significant buy-in loyalty. I don’t remember a thing that Mr. Jensen ever taught me. But I’ll never forget the drumsticks because the drumsticks represented a moment that sparked possibility. The drumsticks were the moment that he got to the part about me.

And then guess whose test scores improved. Guess who held more still in class? Guess who? When, when Mr. Jensen said jump, who was the kid that said how high I’m in? Because he got to the part about me. [00:47:00] Heroes get remembered. Mr. Jensen’s never die. And it’s not the fame. It’s not the popular, it’s not the test scores.

It’s the advocacy. I think every teacher should be tested on. How do kids experience you and how do the kids experience themselves when they’re with you? That’s something we should add to standardized testing.

Mike Klinzing: [00:47:22] Yeah, absolutely. There’s no question about that. All right. You went to number five. You already mentioned it when you said sparking possibilities.

So your job as a mentor coach is to spark the possibilities and the people that you lead. And when I read this from a coaching perspective, what I took from that one is my job as a coach is to get people to perform at a higher level than what they think they’re capable of or what they could do on their own.

And I think that the way you do that is [00:48:00] again by building that relationship so that when you tell them, Hey, we need you to do this, or you can do this. They’re going to believe you. And if you don’t have that relationship, somebody can tell you that, but it just becomes lip service because you don’t have that relationship.

And so I think sparking the possibility in a player means I’ve built a relationship. And I could give them the roadmap for the type of player that they can be. And I can spark the possibility in my team as a whole, because we’ve all bought into the vision that I’m trying to get across. So that’s what I take away from that one.

Clint Pulver: [00:48:37] Yeah. Remember that the again, great mentors have the ability to spark that potential and worth in other people. So well, to the point that they see it within themselves, how do people experience you? How do they experience themselves when they’re with you? Do they like themselves best because they’re with you.

And again, commuting communicating potential and worth is a beautiful way to do that. [00:49:00] You know, in the business world, we talk about if they can’t grow in your company, they’ll go and grow somewhere else. You know? And there’s a lot of kids I remember in high school and I played football and I wrestled, you know, if there was never a chance or an opportunity to, to actually play, like why, why should I invest?

Why should I, if I’m never going to get on the field, You know, there there’s no potential. There’s no hope. There’s no dream there. So spark that possibility again, your, your goal is to create the growth development plan. Where am I growing? What are we doing? What are we trying to achieve for you as an individual?

I think sometimes collectively as coaches, we look at the overall goal, where do I want to take the whole team? And I think there’s power in focusing on where do I want to take that kid? Mr. Jensen, he’s still alive. I call him Larry. Now he’s still an integral part of my life. And Larry and I, we went to lunch.

This was like three, four years ago. And we just, [00:50:00] we were talking and I said, I said, Larry, I’ve got to ask you, man, why me? You know, why was I the kid that got the drum sticks. You taught thousands of kids. Why me? And without hesitation, he looked at me. He said, easy. I’ll tell you why, because you were, you were my one.

He said every term every semester I chose just one kid. And he said, cause I realized I couldn’t save them all as a teacher. Like that was one of the first lessons he learned as an educator that he couldn’t save them all, but he could save one and every morning he woke up as a teacher, he wiggled his toes, he knew he was alive and he went to work for one kid.

And I think there’s power in focusing on the individual. Yes. You’re supposed to coach the whole team. Yes, I get synergy. Yes. There’s a unifying thing. And we’re supposed to all move as a cookie of whole. But remember there are individuals in that hole that make the hole a hole. And so create a moment, sit down [00:51:00] with a kid.

And when’s the last time as a coach, you took a player aside and you just, you breathe life into the kid and you told them two things. This is what I see when I look at you. And this is what I see you becoming. I’m telling you like those little moments, spark possibility. And it creates buy-in because sometimes I remember as a player and I wrestled throughout my whole high school a little bit in college and you know, it’s easy for a coach to just be focused on the team.

But man, when a coach took a moment to focus on me as an individual, that’s when I felt seen that’s when I felt heard and I felt understood, and it connected me in a way that cool coach knows that I’m on this team at, he’s not just carried, he’s not as worried about the w like coach sees me. He actually sees me.

And I think for players, that’s, that’s a [00:52:00] valuable thing. So take a minute to see them, tell them what you see and tell them what you see them becoming spark the possibility.

Mike Klinzing: [00:52:09] Yeah. I liked the idea of praising where they are, but also telling them where they can go. And I think that when I hear that, I also.

Take it as from a coaching, from a coaching perspective that it’s not just what you can do on the basketball floor with your basketball skills, but it’s also maybe what kind of leader can you be? What kind of teammate can you be? What do we need you to do that in the locker room that can help make our team better?

And so I think that’s something that’s important to remember as a coach that you’re not just leading and trying to improve basketball players. You’re also trying to improve young men or women as people, in addition to having them be basketball players. I think that’s just something that’s important to make note of.

Let’s go to number six, players, work at their best, in a safe, encouraging, and calm [00:53:00] environment. You can create this environment by keeping things simple. So here’s what I take away from that one is most people, most players do not play their best when someone is screaming at them. When they are afraid to make a mistake when they check into a game and they know if they miss a shot or they turn the ball over or they get beat on defense that they’re coming right back out of the game, it doesn’t work for players.

It’s very, very difficult. And then you mentioned it earlier, talking about keeping things simple and when you make something overly complex, it makes it really difficult on players. And I think one of the strengths of a really great coach is you can take all that complexity and work on it behind the scenes and study it and know the game inside and out.

But then when you step out onto the floor and you have to teach it to your players, you make it simple because it doesn’t matter what, you know, as a coach, it only matters what the players [00:54:00] are capable of doing right, are capable of doing. And so I can have all this great knowledge, but if I can’t relay it to my players in such a way that they can execute it, then it’s all, then it’s all worthless.

So when I. Heard that statement. I look at how do I create that calm environment? Am I under control of my emotions as a coach? And when I am, then that allows me to help my players to play in such a way that they are also in control of their emotions. And I can keep the environment simple by taking the complex and all the work that I do behind the scenes and present it to the players in a simple way that they can execute.

So that’s what I take away from number six.

Clint Pulver: [00:54:43] Yeah. In our research, we found that when it came to conflict or crucial conversations or stressful work environments, or, you know, just yeah, high stress conversations, great leaders were always the lowest heart rate in the room. And I think that’s [00:55:00] something, you know, there’s some value there, you know, you should always be the lowest heart rate on the court.

And I think when a coach gets. It’s at that point where again, the emotion takes over and they’re so heated up. There’s they’re so fired up. They’re so mad. They’re so frustrated. Like you lose control. And when you, when you’re the lowest heart rate in the room, you’re able to make better decisions.

You’re better to you. You’re just able to think better, right? When’s the last time you want a conversation and you’ve walked away, both people feeling good about what just happened when you were the highest heart rate in the room. You know, I never really happens, right? When you can, when you can lower a heart rate, when you can bring somebody down and you’re, you’re at that level, and you’re communicating in a way that people feel safe you’re just going to be more effective period.

Be that be the lowest heart rate in the room.

Mike Klinzing: [00:55:48] That’s a great way to look at it. It’s a great reminder to coaches of your players are going to be reflection of what you are doing on the sideline. And if you’re a [00:56:00] maniac and you’re running up and down and you’re screaming and yelling, and you’re not in control of your own emotions, it’s very difficult for you to expect that.

Your players are going to do the same, especially when they’re in a high stress situation. Like they will be when they’re competing in a game in front of people in the stands. Eventually we get through COVID when they’re back to being able to play in front of fans and in front of people, it’s a, it’s a high stress environment.

And when you, as the coach, don’t handle that in such a way. It makes it very, very difficult. All right. Number seven, when you give your players a sense of ownership over their playing career and their role in the team, they feel more invested in developing their skills and in the team success. So if I’m the coach, this is what I take from this one.

If I’m the coach, and I just keep telling you, this is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do it. And I say, this is the way it is, and you don’t have any input. I don’t take any input from the players. Eventually it doesn’t become our team. It becomes the coaches team and [00:57:00] the players almost seem ancillary to the will of the coach versus.

When I’m the coach and I get that input and I asked the players and I talked to them about, Hey, here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s why we’re doing it. What did you say that see there? What do you think we should do? And that’s not to say that you, as the coach, don’t ultimately make decisions about what goes on.

But I think, especially in today’s world with today’s players, you have to take input from the players in order to be able to get the best out of them. Because as you said, principle, number seven, they feel more invested in developing their skills. If they feel like they have some input on what it is that they’re actually working on.

Clint Pulver: [00:57:39] Yeah. And they walk away with some life skills that are going to help benefit them outside of the game of basketball. Even I coached the university drum line at Utah Valley University  for seven years. And I always said this in my coaching drumming and drum line is kind of an a pretty unmarketable skill.

[00:58:00] Like, it’s not going to really do much for you in basketball. Yeah. There’s the NBA, you know, you could, you could coach eventually, like there’s some skills there, but for the most part, like it’s, it’s even then it’s kind of a fairly unmarketable skill. It’s the things that you’re learning through the process.

It’s the life skills. It’s how to make good decisions, how to handle stress, how to build relationships, how to work well with other people, you know, there’s all the life lessons that we learn in sports. And again, when you help people to understand and take ownership of that, by just simply asking them, giving them a voice.

I share in the book about how my dad let me drive home from church for the first time when I was a little kid and he sat me in the seat and he’s like, dude, you want to drive? I’m like, are you kidding me? And yeah, he still had his hands on the steering wheel and he still was controlling the brakes and the gas pedal.

My dad, let me take the wheel. And yeah, and my whole perspective changed. It gave me a little sense of ownership that allowed me to see things differently. And you know, there’s that age, old [00:59:00] adage of, you know, if everyone says you, if you can, if you feed a man, a fish, you feed him, you know, for the day.

But if you can teach him how to fish, then you feed him for a lifetime. Every time I hear that, I think to myself, who said, the guy wanted a fish, like who said the guy wanted a fish? And the point is, I think sometimes as coaches, we come in guns blazing and we go, this is what we’re going to do. This is the plan.

This is the objective. This is the play. And I think, I think the significant coaches and the coaches that create ownership. Yeah. They’ve still got their hands on the wheel. Yeah. They’re still controlling the brakes and the gas pedal, but they, they ask their players, they give their players a voice, you know, is this what you guys really want?

You make the call again. Your job is not to control players. Your job is to, to create an environment where they can control themselves. So give them a little bit of ownership

[01:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [01:00:00] That leads right into number eight. You must let players do their jobs, but checking continually to see how they’re doing and to find out their status and what they need.

And I think this goes to being a micromanager as a coach. I think of it in a practice environment where if a coach is blowing the whistle every two seconds, when they see a mistake or when they see something that they feel should have gone differently than the players really never learned to figure it out on their own.

And ultimately when you’re in a game, you’re not coaching robots. You can’t, you don’t have a joystick. You don’t have a controller. You don’t have a touch screen where you can move those players around like pieces on a chess board. It doesn’t work that way. Ultimately basketball is a decision-making sport and they’re going to have to be able to.

Make decisions on their own without your input, because there’s so many split-second decisions that are made during a game. It’s [01:01:00] almost infinite. And I think too often, as you said, coaches get caught up in having control, whereas the best coaches, and we can attest to this by the guests that we’ve had on the podcast, the best coaches talk about how they became more successful when they let go of more control and turn more of it over to the players.

And again, it’s not that they just let it go and rolled out the balls. They were overseeing what was going on. They were checking in all the time to make sure that those things were going on, but ultimately they trusted in their players to make decisions based on the training that they were going through as part of that basketball program.

So that’s what I take away

Clint Pulver: [01:01:45] from number eight. That’s great. I think it’s, it’s, it’s kind of shocking how many coaches aren’t coachable. You know, you see it in teaching too, right? There’s a lot of teachers that are, you know, th they’re the most fun unteachable people on the planet, but they teach [01:02:00] for a living.

And I think you know, in good coaching, good coaches are open to feedback. And unfortunately too, I’ll say this as well. Most coaches have no idea that they’re doing poorly because there’s no incentive for players to speak their truth to a coach. A lot of the time, you know, a coach will, can sit down and say, you know, w w w what can I do for you guys?

You know, how can I be a better coach? And then sometimes there’s not a lot of incentive to speak the truth, because you don’t want to be the coach. You know, the player that’s blacklisted. You don’t want to be the dramatic one. You don’t want to be the whiner. And yeah, who’s going to challenge the coach, right.

Who’s going to like, you know, sometimes it’ll happen, right. But most players are like, ah, it’s not worth it. There’s no incentive for me to speak the truth. And then yet, you know, and then, and then coaches wonder why players are disengaged or why they’re constantly. Having this toe to toe conflict on their team.

And I think there’s power in what we call a status interview and good managers did this. I think great coaches do this. I came from the medical field. Some of my [01:03:00] background is in the, or, and they would always refer to it as the status. Like what’s the status of the patient and what they’re really asking, or what are the vital signs.

So the body temperature, the blood pressure, the heart rate and the respiratory rate. Those are your four vital signs. If one of those is gone or missing, you’re dead. And so every, every team is a living, breathing organism. There are vital signs on every team and the vitals determine treatment. And so many coaches have no idea what the, what the vitals are of their team, but yet they’re misdiagnosing their players.

They’re misdiagnosing the problem that they’re fighting the smoke, not the flame. And so w w what you do is you check the vitals, you learn how to do that, and then you treat. The patient, and then you recheck the vitals and then you treat the patient again and you do that until healthy stability is maintained.

Long-term great. Coaches know how to do that on their teams as well. And it’s done by conducting [01:04:00] what we call a status interview in some way, shape or form coaches would ask these three questions of their players. And it always started with vocal praise. Like, Hey, listen, Jeremy, I want you to know like, dude, I appreciate you.

I appreciate what you’re doing on the team, your contribution. You’re a leader you’ve been stepping in. You’ve been making plays when I need you. I just, I value you. And I wanna know as your coach, and this is question number one, you know, what can I do to keep you playing? What can I do to, to, to keep you on the team?

And I always may sound a little bit weird. And again, I’m speaking a little bit of business language because we don’t want employees to leave. When an employee walks out the door that costs an organization, a lot of money. So I want to know what can I do to keep you here? So in business or in coaching world, think what can I do to keep you engaged on this team?

What can I do to keep you winning? And then question number two is what’s getting in the way of your success, you know, is it, is it Johnny number 12, that’s just the ball hog and is not worth what what’s [01:05:00] getting in the way of you being successful in this team being successful. And then number three is what can I do as your coach to help you get there?

Those three questions, every, every great athlete deserves to be asked those three questions by their coach. It will help you understand the vitals. It will get you a status into what they need so that you can treat your team better.

Mike Klinzing: [01:05:28] That reminds me of something that I often think about when I’m running my basketball camps, which are primarily for kids who are in elementary school or when I coached.

My kids when they were younger. I always said that one of the things that I tried to judge my success on was how many kids who played on a team that I coached, came back to play basketball again, the following season. And if most of those kids came back, I’m guessing they came back because they [01:06:00] had a positive experience.

And so that’s one of the things that I really try to make sure that we do when we run basketball camps. And when I’m coaching a team is make sure that the experience of being a part of a camp or a team that I’m in charge of is going to be one that the kids are going to remember. It’s going to be one that is going to be positive, and it’s going to be one that makes them want to do more of it.

Not less. And too often, we end up with situations where players want to play. And sometimes they just have to put up with the environment because they want to play basketball. And I think that’s the wrong setup. I think we want to have an environment where there are high standards and players want to be a part of it because those high standards create an environment that everybody wants to be a part of.

All right. Number nine hard times reveal true character. How you respond is what [01:07:00] people remember most. And this goes to something that you said a little bit earlier about whether coaches are coachable and whether teachers are teachable. And you just think about the old saying of people. Don’t hear what you say because they’re so busy watching what you do.

And I think that when you’re a coach, you have to be able to react to situations where there’s adversity. You have to be able to handle those in such a way that you are modeling for your players, how they should handle and respond in those same types of environments. So if you have a situation where a call goes against you and you as the coach fly off the handle and you’re screaming and yelling, and you’re getting teed up, you can tell your players all you want.

Hey, when something goes against us, we’re going to keep our focus and we’re going to do the things that we’re supposed to do. But [01:08:00] when you don’t do that, it makes it very, very difficult for your players to live up to a standard that you’re not living up to yourself. And so I think that you have to make sure again, whether you’re a coach, whether you’re a parent, whether you’re a business leader, whatever, it might be, that when things get difficult, That’s when we really find out what you’re all about.

It’s easy to say these things when things are going well, everybody can do that. And that’s one of the things that I’m sure a lot of parents try to get across their kids. Like, look, you know, when things are going your way and you get what you want, you know, you’re really agreeable. But then when something doesn’t go your way, suddenly you’re not quite as agreeable.

And you’re not quite the same high character kid that I thought you were in that other moment when things were going your way. And so it’s really, really important for coaches, I think, to model that. So that’s what I take away from number nine.

Clint Pulver: [01:08:51] Yeah. Yeah. I think you’re spot on because here’s the thing too, is, is hard times difficult times always pass, like look at the most [01:09:00] difficult thing you’ve ever gone through in your life.

Eventually it got better. Eventually you found your smile. And when that relates to coaching, when in those difficult decisions, those, those stressful moments, your people, your team will remember how you treated them during that difficult time. And when things get better, they, they remember. And like, we’re talking about COVID-19 right now.

And there’s a lot of managers. There’s a lot of bosses that, that, that treated their people based off of the situation and treated them. They snapped and they snapped at people and they, they ruined and lost a lot of trust. And when we, when we get out of this, people were will remember how you treated them.

So again, that’s why it’d be the lowest heart rate in the room, because eventually it’s going to get better. And they’ll remember how you treated them.

Mike Klinzing: [01:09:55] Agreed. Number 10, coaches always need [01:10:00] coaching. And I think this is something that it is very, very easy as a coach, even as a teacher, as a business leader, to get swallowed up by the loneliness.

Of that job because you get so caught up in what it is that you’re doing, and you’re kind of on this Island and there isn’t necessarily someone to talk to if you’re a head coach. Yeah. You can talk to your assistant coaches, but there’s not somebody outside. Who’s not invested in it that you could talk to unless you have a friend in coaching or a mentor coach or somebody that maybe when you were a young assistant coach, that was your head coach.

That’s now retired that you can call up and talk to and say, Hey, here’s the situation that I’m going through. Am I looking at this in the right way? And that’s what I think about when I think about that particular principle of coaches always need coaching. So tell me how that applies to in your mind, how that [01:11:00] applies to coaching.

Clint Pulver: [01:11:01] Yeah. And great mentors are always being mentored, you know, Jim Rowan, right? Classic Jim Rohn. You become the average of the five people that you associate with most. I have no idea if that’s ever been proven, but I believe it. If you put a hard to catch horse in a field with an easy to catch horse, Usually end up with too hard to catch horses and I’ve seen it and you guys have seen it.

If you’re both teachers, you know, this an education, a bright, young, passionate fired up teacher comes out of student teaching and they come into their first teaching job. And week one, they go into the faculty room and there’s the old timers, all the, all the callous burnt out teachers. And all of a sudden they, you know, they look at the fresh new teacher and they go, why are you here?

Like, Oh, you why? I mean brace yourself. Or they start talking about the administration. They’re the teachers that always see the problems. And I have seen the light and the passion be sucked out of a teacher because of who they were associating with, who they’re hanging with. [01:12:00] You should do whatever it takes to associate with extraordinary people.

If there are coaches that are living and breathing and in creating teams that you want to, you want to emulate, do whatever it takes to associate with those people. My dad was my wrestling coach growing up. And my dad was a state champion, great wrestler. And I grew up at Wasatch high school and Wasatch high school is a very famous wrestling school.

Kel Sanderson graduated from that school. He’s a gold medal Olympic champion wrestler. These dudes like lost, maybe like 10 matches his whole life. He’s the coach at Penn state. And every Friday night, my dad would drag my butt to the varsity wrestling matches to watch kill Sanderson, throw guys around the mat like rag dolls.

And as a young kid, I remember giving my dad some grief and being like, dude, dad, it’s Friday night, like that’s date night. Like that’s my time to go hang out with friends. I don’t have school the next day. And I remember my dad got a little short with me and he said, listen, he said, Clint, do you want to be a great wrestler?

[01:13:00] It’s very serious question. Do you do want to be a great wrestler? And I said, yeah. And he said, then kid, you got to hang out by the mat. You gotta hang out by the mat. Same thing with basketball. You want to be a great basketball player. You got to hang out by the hoop. You want to be a great coach. Where are the great coaches hanging out like dude.?

And that’s why I applaud you both for this podcast. Like stuff like this and good coaches that are investing in learning about what other good coaches are doing. That’s how we emulate it again. Any great mentor, a good, good, good mentor manager, a good mentor coach. They were always being mentored. They were hanging out by the math and it made such a difference.

Mike Klinzing: [01:13:44] Agreed. All right. Principle number 11, our last one, your player’s job is one part of a larger life and that life requires passion, purpose, and the ability to provide. And what I take from [01:14:00] this one is I have a coach that. There’s a friend of ours here on the podcast named Greg White. Who’s a high school coach in Arkansas.

And Greg wrote a blog post back in the fall about taking days off during the season. And he said that his thought process on taking days off had changed since he started as a coach. And he used to be the coach who said no days off, we’re practicing every day. We need to be in the gym every day, the off season, my players need to be in the gym every single day.

And he came to realize that there was other things that were important in his player’s lives that needed to be taken care of. That basketball was granted in a lot of cases, an important part of his players lives, but that there were other things that they care that they cared about and [01:15:00] that mattered.

And, and then take it one step further sometimes just. Getting the mental rest was important. And being able to recognize that taking a day off didn’t make you a failure. Didn’t make you a slacker didn’t mean that you didn’t care. And so he just changed his approach because again, he recognized that his player was not just the basketball player that he saw for an hour and a half every afternoon at practice, but there was 22 other hours in the day where that player was somebody’s son, somebody’s, brother, somebody’s, student somebody’s, friend, whatever, and being able to recognize that whole person.

And it goes back to the theme that runs through the entire book and through our entire conversation, which is if you build relationships and you get to know your players, you find out more about what makes them tick off the floor, and then you can better inspire them to. [01:16:00] Become their best when they’re on the floor.

So just talk a little bit about that final principle,

Clint Pulver: [01:16:05] Man. That’s the beauty of coaching. Like again, I get the win is cool and the success is cool, but the significance, man, I think at the end of your career, like, I don’t know. I think every coach is going to be surrounded by two things. Either. You’ll be surrounded by all the watershed or Curtis or you’ll be surrounded by the, do it, did it done it.

And, you know, as a coach and as someone who’s studied coaches and mentors and, and good mentoring, what that looks like, and they take pride in, in the relationships that they have. They take pride in doing something bigger than themselves in the lives of the young men and the young women that call them coach and you get to be the mentor in that story that allows them to write a better story.

[01:17:00] Great coaches are not they’re great storytellers, but not in the stories that they tell. Great coaches are good storytellers in the stories that they inspire other people to write themselves. And I’ve always told any, any coach, any manager, people that we work with, executives, people, we train that the coolest part about your job is that it matters the hardest part about your job is that it matters every day.

And that includes the off days. That includes the days that, you know, you, you, you keep it simple, right? You do the to don’t list and you take the time off. It also includes the days that you’re on and you’re, you’re out there and you’re in that moment. And it’s the championship game and, and you know, the choices you choose or choose not to make in those moments, they matter in the lives of your players and there’s power in consistency.

And I think consistent efforts. Done over a long period of time [01:18:00] is really what, what, what, what makes this possible? Cause we’ve talked about a lot of things in this hour and 18 minutes that we’ve been talking, you know, it’s a lot of stuff, but I would challenge, you know, the coach to deal pick one thing.

What’s one thing that, you know, maybe it’s a status interview. Maybe I need to do, you know, Mark A. Little possibility with my kids. Maybe I need to, I gotta get out of the controlling manager and I’ve got to move into that mentor slot. What is it? You know, what is one thing that you can choose the overtime?

You know, a little by little makes a little, a lot. And I know a lot of coaches right now, they feel like they’re on an episode of survivor, you know, just saying like vote me off. Like I’m just done. But I just, I want all coaches to hear this and know that your efforts, as small as they may seem, you know, they might just seem like they’re a drop in the bucket, but at least it’s a drop in the bucket.

And over time, your efforts, little by little, it makes a little a lot. [01:19:00] And that’s the privilege you have every day. You know, you’ve been given two things on this podcast, the opportunity to listen to this, and then second, the opportunity to choose what you’re going to do with it. And I hope people will choose to be a Mr. Jensen, you know, choose to be that significant mentor in the lives of others where they say, I like myself best because of you. And that’s why we coach. That’s what it’s all about. And I think there’s, there’s no greater calling

Mike Klinzing: [01:19:28] Clint,  that’s great stuff. And I love that you ended with the little by little quote, because that was actually how I wanted to end the episode, because that was a quote that really jumped out at me.

And when I think about just the opportunity that a basketball player has between most basketball players right now, their seasons are. Going to be coming to an end shortly, whether you play middle school basketball, whether you played high school basketball, eventually here as you play [01:20:00] college basketball, you’re going to have four or five, six, seven months, eight months between now and your next season.

And if you do a little, every single day, how much better can you be? Eight months from now? And the same thing applies for coaches. If I want to be a better coach, when my season rolls around next year, what am I going to do in order to make that happen? How can I improve my craft? What can I go out and read?

Who can I learn from? What can I watch? What can I study to make myself better? What books can I read? And I may not be able to see that improvement today. I may not be able to see that improvement a week from now, but I guarantee if you do something every single day, whether you’re a coach or you’re a player, you’re just a human being to make yourself better.

Eight months from now or better yet eight years from now. Just imagine how much better you can be in a consequently, how [01:21:00] much better your life can be. So Clint, before we get out of here, I want to give you a chance to wrap up with anything else that we may have missed in our discussion of the book, share with people where they can buy it, where they can find out more about you, send them to your social media, whatever you want to do, to be able to connect with people.

And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

Clint Pulver: [01:21:23] Yeah. I just, I just want to say thank you to you both. I appreciate the opportunity. It’s it means a lot to bring somebody that’s not a basketball coach into your community and add the opportunity to serve the listeners. And that means a lot that they can find out more about the book.

You can get it on Amazon. It’s available for pre-order right now. Again, the title is, “I love it here.”  How great leaders create organizations are people never want to leave. And hit me up on a social media. I’m on all of the social media platforms, happy to connect, and then you can find out more on the

[01:22:00] Mike Klinzing: [01:22:00] Clint, we cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule for sharing your book with us. As I told you, when we talked before the podcast, I really enjoyed going through and reading the book. And I just thought there was so much that although the book is directed at business leaders, I think that any coach who reads it is going to do the same thing I did, which is you’re going to take away and be able to apply those principles that we talked about tonight during the podcast, you’re going to be able to apply them to your coaching.

So I would highly recommend go out and pick up a copy of Clint’s book. ”I Love it Here” and read it and use it as a way to self-reflect and to grow little by little as we talked about here on the pod tonight. And Clint once again, I just want to say thanks to you for jumping on with us. 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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