JP Nerbun

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J.P. Nerbun is the founder of Thrive On Challenge, a mentor, writer, coach, and sports consultant. 

In his new book, The Culture System JP shares a proven process that will help you find joy and fulfillment as a coach while getting the results you desire.

Supported by the latest research in motivation, behavioral psychology, and neuroscience, and full of practical strategies and real examples, The Culture System gives you the power to create an extraordinary culture no matter your sport, level, or circumstances.

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

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, but I am pleased to welcome back to the podcast for his third appearance. JP Nerbun from Thrive On Challenge and author of the new book, “The Culture System”. JP. Welcome back,

[00:00:16] JP Nerbun: Mike. Thanks for having me, man.

[00:00:17] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely exclusive club. Third time. I don’t have, I don’t have Jason on with me tonight. He’s with his taking care of his youngest daughter. So he is not on to do some quick research as to how many people we’ve had on three times, but I know it’s a pretty exclusive club, so excited to have you on.

As I was telling you, before we jumped down the podcast together here tonight, just got an opportunity to, after you sent me your new book, got a chance to go through it, read it. It’s a tremendous guide for coaches who want to be able to. Implement and improve their team culture. We’re going to go through all the different steps and pieces that you have as part of the book.

But before we start, why don’t you give people just a first of all, a quick rundown for maybe people who didn’t hear the first two episodes, give us a quick rundown of who you are, what you do, and then we’ll dive into the book.

[00:01:09] JP Nerbun: Yeah, Mike I guess for all the listeners, it’s, it’s been six, seven years now on this journey of focusing on culture and helping support coaches and that kind of TOC evolved out of my work as a coach as I was mostly coaching high school athletes, but also did col college and some semiprofessional basketball internationally.

So but yeah, I kinda had a rock bottom as a coach. You know, we I’ve had some good cultures over the years. I’ve had some okay cultures, but I was kind of having a string of bad cultures and not having the relationships that I wanted with my players, the impact, the level of standards that I wanted in the program.

And so kind of do dove in all in, on this culture thing and started studying reading that started to. A blog, like many people might do to share my journey or my learnings. And then I started a podcast to continue to share and invite people that I was reading their books and stuff like that just, just really all culture based and leadership based.

And that wasn’t always interviewing or, or reading about coaches, it was oftentimes leaders or it was behavioral scientists just anything I can get my hands on that I thought could help me impact lives better or meet the needs of, of athletes or even coaches. So from that it it just started to be a lot of conversations with coaches to help support them.

I guess in three big ways. The clear, obvious one is to help them build their team’s culture. The practical things that they might do with their team. So I’ve been doing that for for six years and also to help them within their own leadership in the leadership challenges and managing their own situations and their own conflicts that might come up internal, not just external within the team.

And then lastly, it just, it also has, has a, a level of, of kind of personal develop development within coaches and just helping them to grow as people. This whole journey. I, I say that all is, is, is been a shared journey with the people I’ve worked with. It’s not just about them. , I’ve been on the road and the journey, and I’ve continued to be on the road in the journey for, for my own leadership and and my own personal growth as well, too.

So it’s been a special few years for sure.

[00:03:29] Mike Klinzing: When you sat down to. Write this book, what was the thought process behind putting it together into the format that you chose and why did it come out to be this roadmap for coaches who want to implement the culture system? Just explain sort of the why behind this book.

[00:03:50] JP Nerbun: After my last book calling up, I had this moment where it’s interesting, when you write a book, it takes so long that you start to learn things along the way and new things that won’t be included in the current book. And I’d already started working with coaches in this way, this one-on-one supportive way.

So at the end of calling up when I was ready to release it I actually started, this is back in 2019. So this is many years ago now. I started. The outline for the culture system or what would eventually became the culture system. And what I had realized at that time early on was coaches needed not just a bag of tools or ideas like things to do with their team, they needed those tools, those methods, those strategies, they needed them in a way that they could be consistent about them.

Over time that they could implement these things and they would be able to layer these things within their program to have the impact that they wanted. So it kind of came from this idea that I have started to realize there were some SIM, there were some common tools that were shared by all great leaders, whether it’s John wooden and his non-negotiable and Pete Carol, and his non-negotiables or Mon Williams and his non-negotiables, but it’s also.

You know, Mike, Abrashoff the leader of the USS Benfold who took one of the worst ships in the Navy and made it the best ship in the Navy. You know, it’s shared tools that Amazon uses and Toyota has used for almost a century that, that these shared tools of within their systems of doing things that are also relevant to us as a, as a sports teams.

So as I, I started to realize there’s all these shared tools. There’s also the best organizations or leaders use systems to help implement those tools consistently over time. So it’s been a process and journey to figure out what that looks like. And the cool thing is it’s not about like what fits best in a book the last four years have been about how I’ve helped coaches actually do that within their own.

Programs within their own teams. That’s been our testing ground and as we’ve experienced that and learned from that that’s helped shape the book.

[00:06:15] Mike Klinzing: I think the most interesting part to me when I first picked up the book is you open it up and you expect to start immediately jumping into how can I improve my team’s culture.

But instead what you start with is how do I improve myself so that I can be the best leader that I can be for my team. So why was it so important to start the book in your mind with you have to improve yourself?

[00:06:45] JP Nerbun: That’s a great debatable piece of the book that I consider multiple times cutting, because it’s the culture system.

And it’s like, okay, do I just focus on the system of, and you know, developing the culture and you know, over time, but. You’re if I didn’t include the leader and how you work on yourself as a leader, then the, the leader is the driver of the culture. And a car is only as good as its driver. So it was vital that the, we, we focused on the leader themself.

That’s at the core of it, my hesitation in doing a leadership philosophy and, and mission, vision values, and disciplines was a, I’d covered a lot of it in my first book. And, but B that’s been covered a lot in other books, but I think what I’ve learned over time in working with my with coaches is how to take these type of things and develop maybe a system within the coach’s life to help those things start to become more authentic.

Less cliche, which I think they often become cliche or things that we write down or the activities we do in a book. And then we just never come back to them, you know? And so this is really vitally important because you know, we want to have something that’s actionable for us to grow as leaders so that we can be effective in developing the culture.

[00:08:16] Mike Klinzing: I love the piece of it, where you get into, and you start talking about the things that can impact you as a leader. And one of the things that stood out for me as I was going through, and I was reading, this is, I started to look at, okay, what exactly is JP trying to get me to see and understand when I’m reading and trying to learn about who I am and what is important to me.

And when I look at that, I start to see you have your mission statement. You have your vision statement, and I think coaches sometimes get those two things. Confused. So in your mind, tell us the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement, just so people can have a clarification on what exactly those mean.

[00:08:58] JP Nerbun: Yeah. A mission statement is something that you live out every day and it’s one of the biggest requirements is that a mission statement, especially a transformational mission statement of impact is that you’re seeing people as people, you have that hour and mindset, right. But it’s something you do every day.

Whereas a vision statement, something you’re working towards, it’s what you’re trying to create. It’s, it’s someday not every day.

[00:09:24] Mike Klinzing: The other piece of it, I think that’s a really good clarification, helps people to understand exactly where you’re coming from. I think the other thing that jumped out at me from this section was when you talked about the need for coaches to see themselves, not as a coach, but as a mentor.

And I think when you do see yourself as a mentor, as you explained that. Mentor takes that relationship one step further and makes the relationship even deeper. And you get involved not just in your player’s life as a player, but you’re getting involved in your player’s life off the court, off the field.

And you’re really getting to know them and try to figure out what makes them tick and how can you lift them up and make them not just better players, but better people. So why was that such an important part of this section of the book where you talked a lot about, Hey, you’ve have to be a mentor and not just a coach

[00:10:15] JP Nerbun: The world’s got plenty of coaches.The world’s got plenty of them. There are we just need more mentors that’s, that’s what young people need today, more than anything out there. And we look at the coaches that really impacted our lives. It wasn’t their coaching. It was their mentorship that, that impacted our lives. So just honestly, it’s about like, kind of creating a whole new job description for yourself.

And just starting to see, okay. A lot of times those coaches, oh, I shouldn’t have to work with them on this, or I shouldn’t have to do this. Or no, like, like this is now the new, the new job. This is the new, if we want to make an impact. So we’re focusing in on those, those personal relationships. And the reality is within this, these, these, these, the, the, these, the coach player relationship, we’re not going to always reach to what I would say.

Level three level one is I’m working with you as an athlete to help you become better at your sport. I would say level two is focusing on maybe off the court. Maybe it’s, I’m really helping support you when it comes to your career. You know, academics, maybe you want to go into college, maybe for college at a college level.

You want to, what do you want to do after that with your career? You know, so that’s kind of the next level is just, just chopping into porn into, into our athletes that way. But level three is the deepest level instead of asking what do you want to achieve in your sport level, level one or level two, we’re asking them Hey, what what do you want to do when you grow up?

Or what do you want to do when you get older? Or you’re helping to develop them as in their career level three is really about who do you want to become? And that can take on some, like with many of my coaches, I support, they have very deep relationships with their athletes, at least a lot of them.

And they’re talking about who they want to become, the, the type of husbands and fathers or mothers and spouses and, and, and, and friends and, and just, it’s, it’s, it’s pretty powerful at that. And it’s pretty fulfilling for coaches. And then

[00:12:18] Mike Klinzing: When you get into the next section of the book and you start talking about.

The seven disciplines of a transformational leader. You also talk about the need for coaches themselves to seek out mentors for the same reasons that you just described. Right. You’re building that relationship with somebody you’re trying to grow as a leader, as you’re trying to grow your players.

[00:12:38] JP Nerbun: Yeah.  This isn’t an advertisement for what I do. It’s just a reality of, of, of that. There needs to be more people out there doing what I’m doing. And I think it’s great that you you’ve started at, with hoop said, I’ve seen that you’ve got that mentorship program. Like we need more of that.

More offerings like that. We need more coaches that are willing to be vulnerable and step into those relationships. Because at the end of the day, Mike, like, I, I get it like some coaches might say, well, I’ve got some people that I can talk to, but my experience, the coaches I work with, which.

You know, very few of them ever actually leave our mentorship program because they, they, they, they recognize the value in it. Like when you’re in leadership you really can’t go to your assistant coaches around a lot of things. Or if you do, they’re going to have a limited perspective.

They’re too emotionally tied to it. And then your spouse they’re still like emotionally invested. They’ve always typically got your back and, and maybe there’s not even that level of maybe experience or knowledge to be able to help us through some of the issues. So it’s really powerful to have someone outside of our circumstances.

That’s a little bit less maybe emotionally invested in these things that can help us to work through a lot of issues. Hold us accountable on certain things. As I say, really mentorship focuses on three levels. I’m helping individuals. With the things they know to be true, I’m helping them to be confident and convicted in those things as a coach and, and have strong self belief, the things they know, they don’t know, I’m a guide I’m, I’m helping them to answer questions of, of things that come up and at the, the last level is the things they don’t know.

They don’t know they’re blind spots. That’s, that’s where I’m sometimes called to speak into them. So I think that’s the power of a mentor. And I really encourage coaches obviously to, to seek those out. And I think there’s more people like myself, yourself that are, that are offering stuff like that.

[00:14:43] Mike Klinzing: I think by having a formal mentor, it also makes it easier to be able to go to that person with questions.

That’s sort of what we found within our program, that when a coach has a question or when a situation arises, when they know they have somebody that they can go to, and maybe that mentor doesn’t have the perfect answer. To be able to have somebody that you can talk it through with and somebody whose experience and somebody who can share their perspective.

As you said, from an outside viewpoint and somebody who’s not emotionally involved. I think coaches that look and seek out a mentor and have somebody that’s in place that they can go to. I think you end up getting much better results than as you said, when you go to somebody that’s close by, or a lot of times I think, and this goes for teachers as well.

And a lot of coaches we know are teachers that job can be super isolating where you feel like you’re the only person that’s ever experienced these things. And, oh my gosh, it’s just the weight of the world is bearing down on you. And, and so often we forget that there’s a lot of other people that have experienced the same things that we’re experiencing and we can seek their knowledge and we can use their wisdom to enable to us to better handle those situations.

And I think sometimes as teachers and coaches, we get so. Caught up in our own small little world that we don’t realize that there’s this bigger picture. There’s this bigger world out there where people have had these similar experiences that they can share and give us a place to be able to interact with someone who’s who’s gone through that before.

[00:16:16] JP Nerbun: Well, I that’s, I absolutely love that. You know, I mean the whole thing of how the TOC mentorship program came about was not, I sat down and said, oh, this would be it wasn’t like the initial idea. It kind of really birthed outta the idea of just, I kept asking, one of coaches really need, did they need me to come in and do on a workshop?

And they do, like, I do do that stuff for coaches I work with and support. But that’s not really what they needed. You know, it wasn’t like coming in and running a workshop or giving them and their staff some sort of motivational speech. They needed someone that was kind of walking the road with them.

And that’s what I needed at my low point. And my investment in a mentorship program in hiring a mentor was the best investment I ever made in my own leadership. And it’s coaching for coaches, it’s support for coaches, the support that we don’t get when we’re isolated in our, we don’t know if we can even trust our athletic director or we’re questioning our staff or just, just be able to have that.

So, and I get it that there’s the in informal mentors that we have in our lives and there’s values in, in those people. But to have someone that’s consistently checking in on you and making themselves available. And for me, it’s just, I try to be the ex an expert in this area of culture. I don’t really focus on IXs and O and haven’t for six years in basketball.

And that’s now why I work with people outside of basketball, in ice, hockey, rugby American football, soccer volleyball, you know it, but it’s just, I just really try to. Help alleviate too. Some of the things that coaches yeah, maybe they don’t need they don’t have time to read all these books or do all these things.

So I just go out there and try to make myself a learner in that area so that I can be the best I can be for them as well, too.

[00:18:06] Mike Klinzing: So that continued growth as a coach. It’s amazing JP, the number of people that we’ve talked to on the podcast who are sharing with us, just how much time they spend trying to grow and improve themselves.

And not just as coaches, when you start thinking about, yeah, coaches watch a lot of film. They’re trying to figure out Xs and OS and scout, opponents, and recruit and do all the things that coaches have to do. But also just the fact that they’re working on themselves and trying to become a better leader.

And one of the things that I guess this will be the last piece before we jump into establishing your culture with your team. But one of the last things that you have in. This section of the book is about the stop start and keep doing lists briefly. Just explain what that is as a tool for coaches in terms of self-improvement.

[00:18:54] JP Nerbun: Yeah, I lay out in the book. I lay out of some disciplines and I think are really important for leaders, seven of them to be exact and then I think are really you know, under invested in, and you can’t obviously start doing all seven tomorrow and we need a kind of a practical way to start implementing some of these things in our life.

And honestly, at the end of the day, your mission, your vision values and all those things, like of all the things in part one, this is the most important piece is the disciplines. And I always say, look like John wooden did not come up with a pyramid of success in his first. As a coach, he didn’t even come up with it by reading some book.

I’ll tell you that he had a over time, he developed what was called the ladder of success. And then I guess he, the ladder got too tall and maybe decided to make it a, into a pyramid, but , you know what I mean? Like, but like it took time to evolve. John Wooden was a continuous learner. He did things. He spent time at solitude.

He journaled, he read, he had a learning system for taking notes. He was very intentional, his own growth. So that’s what this is about. So find something you need to start doing more of. But to do start doing something. If I want to read more, then I have to stop doing something in my life. And I’m really big right now in my own personal growth.

I’m obsessed, obsessed with the things that I have to stop doing that are providing no value for me or other people.

[00:20:20] Mike Klinzing: What’s one of those things?

[00:20:21] JP Nerbun: Well, so the, my, the question I keep coming back to is this. At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the year, when I look at any activity in my life, checking social media, for instance, watching TV, do I wish I did more of that?

That’s my first question. And if my answer is like, no, I don’t wish I watched more TV. Okay. Now the question is, did I watch the right amount? Or am I still, am I watching too much? You know, if I reduced the amount that I watched TV, if I checked social media half as much as I did, would I say, man, I need more of that.

No, no, I, I really don’t think so. And so I continue to reduce my TV time too. I used to watch maybe one show one night. Now it’s one show every two weeks, maybe it drives my wife crazy a little bit. So I may have to up it a little bit, but. Social media, same thing. It’s like, I don’t know. Some days when I get on there the value that it’s, that it’s getting, and maybe I should, should be more active in trying to provide value there as well, too.

But it’s just looking at different things like that. Like reading the news like I’ve, I’ve removed all fast media from my life. If I want to learn about something that’s going on in the world, I go pick up a newspaper, you know? Yep. Stuff like that. I’ve just, just, these are things where I constantly, oh, I don’t have time for that.

Oh no, I, I do. I just am making a choice to spend time elsewhere. So I’m, like I said, I’m really focused on things to stop doing. I think this is the same, that same concept applies within team culture building as know we’re going to jump into next. You know, Jim calls talks about that. Good to great. The great companies were obsessed with all the things they needed to stop doing.

And I, I love that bit as well, too. So if you feel like, oh, I don’t have time for. These strategies it’s like, no, you do. You could just spend less time, maybe a little less time in the court. Maybe it’s a little less time on film it’s, we do have time. It’s just about, do we want to make time, right?

[00:22:27] Mike Klinzing: Prioritizing and I think in a way, charting how you spend your time, both on a personal level. And when you start thinking about what you do with your team and really figuring out where do I spend my time taking that inventory, and then you can kind of look at it and go, I know sometimes that my wife and I will ask our kids occasionally, Hey, let’s look at your screen time on this particular day or this particular week.

And then we’ll look at theirs and then we’ll look at ours. And more often than that, we’re surprised by the amount of time we’re like, whoa, that’s a lot of time and you start thinking about it and you say, boy, how could I be more effective with what I do? And how much time am I wasting on these little things that yeah.

Maybe they’re entertaining in the moment or maybe they. Serve some small need in a moment. But as you said, if you really look back on it, you’re like, what am I getting out of this? And how could I be using my time more productively? So once you have yourself squared away as a leader, and like I said, I love that section of the book just because when I go through and I look at that, it always, when I read something like this, it always makes me stop and think and sort of take that assessment of myself.

Hey, where am I in terms of my ability to be ready to be the best leader that I can be. And inevitably, I look at something like when you’re going through one of your disciplines to get more sleep, and that’s probably an area that , I think most people in my life who know me would say, yeah, Mike probably needs to do a much better job.

Getting more sleep and as you try to do things, and you’re trying to be a parent, you’re trying to do a podcast, you’re trying to have a full-time job. And you’re trying to do all the things that I do. It’s just sometimes that sleep gets away from you. And then you have to reset yourself and say, Hey, what am I prioritizing?

And what am I doing to my both short-term and long-term health. So anyway, once you have yourself squared away as a leader, then the next step is okay, how do we establish a team culture? And the first section that you have is one that really leaped out at me. And you referenced it earlier. When you talked about the Navy captain who ended up changing around what was the previously, the worship in the Navy and making it the best ship in the Navy.

And basically you were talking about the onboarding process, what is a player’s first day on the team? Like, so just talk about why that’s so important in establishing your culture. When you’re trying to get this process going as a coach,

[00:24:49] JP Nerbun: Yeah. The thing about this onboarding experience or someone’s first day, or if you’ve been coaching in a place for a long time and it’s the new season you want it to feel different.

If you’re trying to make a cultural change, if you’re trying to take your culture from good to great, or you’re trying to take it from bad to good you want to feel, want it to feel different? There’s a great book out there by the Heath brothers called the power of moments. And they talk about that of just like these we don’t remember like the average of our experience.

We remember certain events that first day, last day last game just, just different things like that. So it’s about being really intentional to whether it’s new players or even just old players returning to take time to make sure that they. Always understanding your culture and your values and your standards, but more so that they feel connected.

And the two big ways to do that is one is through one oh ones with every new player or every player at the start of a new season. And you know, abs off was intent, super intentional in that he would bring up the sailors up to his, his office. He he’d sit them down. Well, they would first walk around his office.

He did this with 310 sailors when he took over the Benfold 310 sailors in six weeks, at 30 minutes of meeting, you do the math. He and I have coaches that say they don’t have time for one-on-ones with every player once a month. You know, here, here, Aber shop made the time. And he would, he would share about his life, he’d ask about their life.

And then he would ask questions around what they wanted this experience to be like and what, what changes they thought they could make in the ship that that would help improve it. So just to start to already empower his sailors, he did that. And then also that he designed an onboarding program where.

Kinda like a buddy system. I mean, and I think it’s very popular to have a buddy or a big brother, big sister program. The buddy system, like my wife works at Google. They have that it’s she thought it was phenomenal when she got onboarded there three years ago to have someone that just really spends the first six months with her helping her to understand things, being that place to answer questions for, for coaches.

This is like just getting the players, the veteran players to send a text message or Snapchat to a player a week before, or the the week leading up to the first practice and just saying, Hey, we can’t wait to have you. And then when that player walks through the door they’re taking ’em on tour of campus or they’re, they’re just partnering up with them and saying, Hey, go, come get some shots up with me, you know?

And there’s just someone looking out for them right away, and then introducing them to other people. And that vastly changes the experience for, for new athletes and gets them excited about and feeling connected. And that’s the as coil talks about in his, his book, the culture code that’s one of the foundations to a great culture is connection.

[00:27:51] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. I think being able to make sure that the first experience that a player has is one that’s welcoming and is one that they remember sets the tone for everything else that you’re going to lay out over the course of the book and everything else that you want to do when you’re building a culture.

Another thing that stood out from this section of the book to me was the player improvement plans and as a way to one help the players to improve themselves. And then two also to. Help the players to understand that the coach was bought into helping the player to be the best player they could be, but also the best person that they could be.

So talk a little bit about your experience with player improvement plans and why that’s such an important part of establishing a great culture.

[00:28:36] JP Nerbun: They’ve really become for most of our, our teams that I’ve worked with. They’ve become so impactful. It really does take time.

It takes effort, but it’s so impactful and it addresses so many challenges and issues. I can’t recommend this one enough. So we talk about in the book there’s team standards or standards across the team that you might sit down with your players and do there’s the coach standards, the ones that you would, your non-negotiables, we might set three or four of those, but there’s also like the player standards, right?

So the idea is just asking what’s important to each athlete. And understanding what’s important to them, their goals, their aspirations, and then saying, okay, if this is you want to play college basketball, where are you currently in relation to that goal? So where do you want to go? Where are you currently?

And there’s this gap, there’s this gap from where they are to where they want to be. So, okay. So how are you going to close that gap? What are you going to do? What do you need to do? And then how can I help you with that? And that’s really what kind of goes into play improvement plan. And you can identify areas around athleticism, technical skills, tactical skills, character type skills ways that they can contribute to the culture and team.

There’s many categories you can have in on there that they need to grow in. They need to improve on, or strengths they need to continue to build on. But then you’re really trying to get to some action commitments and implementation intentions as the research, which show where you say, Hey, I’m going to do this at this time, this many times a week or whatever it is like really clear commitments becomes hugely impactful.

To have that. So you’re helping to train them to not only set goals, like it’s even bigger than setting goals, like to understand what’s most important to them, but what they need to do to work towards it. And then you’re entering into this agreement where you’re like, Hey, can I support you in that? How can I do that?

You know, you want reminders when you start slipping, you know when you start falling into old behaviors, when you start complaining or you know, different things like that, like, can I step in and help you? And it changes the relationship. This is where you move from a coach to a mentor and, and these conversations, the cool thing is we’ve made this super simple for our coaches where, so some of ’em use a notebook, but most of our use actually Google docs and we link it with this spreadsheet.

And the cool thing there is the coaches are sharing the Google doc with the player at high school level and even college level with the parent. And on that, it’s like, all parents are like, oh my gosh, coaches, actually, once a month, one of the coaches on staff is sitting down with my son or daughter. They have a plan.

They care about that. And they also have communicated here what their role is. So that’s one of the biggest complaints is a lack of transparency around role, that roles that we see the last few years, we’re not getting that anymore with the teams that I’ve worked with. That’s not a that’s. That was a factor for years now with player improvement plans, there is no lack of transparency, cuz it’s written out.

This is exactly where they are currently in the rotation. So it addresses a lot of issues. And the best thing is it just helps the player feel valued.

[00:31:44] Mike Klinzing: One of the things that I think is a theme that runs through the book is when you put something down on paper, when you talk about it as a team, when you talk about it as a coach player relationship, and you have things that you agree upon in advance, this is who we want to be.

This is how we’re going to get there. This is what we’re all about. This is the behavior that we expect to see. Then when those things are not being seen, it’s easy for everybody to go back and say, Hey, didn’t we agree to this, whether it’s as a team or as an individual, or, Hey, are we doing the things that we said needed to be done in order to get where we wanted to go in order to be who we wanted to be as a team or as an individual, it feels like there’s a lot of that.

When you talk about building a great culture, you’re talking about making sure everybody understands the expectations. And then because you’ve talked about it in advance, you now can then hold people accountable to those

[00:32:46] JP Nerbun: expectations. You know, I’m going to give a parenting example. And I apologize if this falls short, but  I, I’ve got a six year old and a five year old and a two year old almost.

And my six and five year old today were at a friend’s house. And. If you parents at this age like they go to a friend’s house. It’s really hard to get them out of the house. They like don’t want to come home with you. And it’s this like constant battle. Like we would go through with our kids.

And it’s amazing just even if I’m able to say, Hey, alright, now you’re getting to go to a friend’s house. Special opportunity privilege. When I come to pick you up. I just said like, when I come in and I say, it’s time to go, what’s going to happen? Like, where are going to go? I’m like, all right, now, what do you think would, if you don’t and you run her upstairs and try to hide from me, like you did last time, like, what do you think would be a good consequence?

And you’re like, and was like, oh, probably not get to go back. I was like, yeah. And I think it’ll be great for you to go back. So then I show up today to pick ’em up. I’m like, it’s time to go and look at me. Nod their head and walk out the door like that was it now, right. I’ve just by pre agreeing to that, you’re, you’re, you’re priming people’s minds and it’s the same within your team.

It, it’s not always going to be easy, but it’s like, Hey, Hey, we said this, like, this is what we need to do to be successful has that changed? You know, and, and your players will no, no, they’ll, they’ll give you the nod. And I think that’s what the cool thing about the player improvement plans is is those players that struggle emotionally?

I think a lot of times you know, if they’ve, if they’re bought in, in a calm moment in an, in whether emotions aren’t high and we’re not in the heat of the game, if they’re bought in there and they’ve agreed to you be able to step in and help them, like that’s a game changer. But we’ve have to first get them to buy in, in a non-emotional moment.

And that’s where the power of one oh ones is. Is that you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re helping them to agree to certain behaviors and your ability to step in and call them up.

[00:34:53] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, I think again, by doing the prep work, you make the work later on much, much easier as opposed to you spring it on somebody. Hey, we, we have no recollection that we ever talked about.

This there’s nothing there. And suddenly you’re asking to do something. No, we’ve talked about this in advance and as you said, a non-emotional state, and now when you get to a point where, Hey, we have to really call somebody up on this, we have to make sure that we’re doing the things that we’ve talked about.

It becomes so much easier when you’ve done that prep work. And that’s how you really establish the culture is get to people to agree, and then you hold them to that degree of accountability. So the next section of the book you start talking about once we’ve established the culture, how do we support that culture?

Once we have, once we have it established. And I want to hit on two different sections here that kind of jumped out at me one team culture days. I know this is something that people talk about a lot is how do we, how do we build a culture with our team? How do we make sure that we’re supporting what it is that we do?

So talk a little bit about team culture days and what they should be all about and what they should accomplish.

[00:36:02] JP Nerbun: Yeah, I I’ve given some, I think they’re vastly different approaches to team culture days or whatever people might call like team building events. Right. Maybe I’m wrong on that. But I think that I really hit on and share the story of Greg to gold Indiana Wesleyan and how he takes his team to the Macon Republic every two years.

And they go out there and they’re essentially in brutal heat helping communities rebuild, building bridges. Impacting lives. And then after a day a 10 hour day in the sun, then they’re going and playing basketball games in the evening. And the concept is not, everybody’s going to go to the Dominican Republic.

And, but it’s the idea of like how other coaches that I’ve worked with. One of the most impactful things you can do is go and do community service together, community service, where you’re getting your hands dirty or community service, where you’re really engaging with people and the BA the beautiful thing there is.

I think we talk a lot about we want the entitlement or kids that aren’t great, that are not grateful. They’re ungrateful today and service and helping others is, is one of the best ways to reframe and, and help us to be grateful for what we have. and so that’s one of the, it’s a simple thing to do.

It obviously improves and looks good for your program, but it’s more importantly, and you’re helping people, but it’s also like really impactful for your athletes to do that. So that’s one of the, my favorites is, is the I talk about in the book is the community service and going and serving, going and helping others.

But there’s also I think other things that people shy away from today, like doing really hard things together, like really physically exhausting training, boot camps, hell weeks, whatever you want to call it. Togo calls it junkyard workouts and they do four of them, I think in September and one of the midnight in June.

And it is just it could be military type stuff. I, I think we’ve moved the last 20 years to, everything’s going to be very sports specific training. I, I think I agree. I think for, I grown up as a high school athlete, we would run every day, like four or five miles jogging. And it was like, well, that’s not really important, but man, growing up in South Carolina and that was, there was still some value and us getting out there and running as a team, it didn’t need to be three days a week, but having to do these long runs in South Carolina heat together, it built certain things within us and it’s not necessarily always be sports specific.

So designing some of these really hard workouts to do and pushing people outta their comfort zones and creating shared suffering where if we’re going to complete this task, we have to do it together. And I’m going to lean on you. And I’m struggling with, to do this many pushups and this other teammate steps.

And it helps me that creates shared vulnerability and connection and that. And, and it’s powerful. It’s very powerful. And you help people to realize when they’re going to this point of, I can’t do anymore, that they can do more and it’s it that that’s really, I think great team building, but also mental toughness training.

[00:39:26] Mike Klinzing: And I think it’s interesting, just the perspective that you just brought with those two ideas, where you have community service and then you have doing something extremely difficult together. Cuz a lot of times I think when people hear team building, they think something fun. They think like the coaches versus players, whiffle ball game, or they think, Hey, we’re all going to go bowling.

And that, that’s the only way that you can have these team culture days. So I like the idea here that you bring to the table where it’s not just necessarily, Hey, let’s just have some fun and all hang out together. Hopefully those things are happening too. But I think here you’ve given two. Very distinct ways that coaches can put their athletes in a position where they have to come together one to, for the greater good of someone else.

And then in the process of doing that, they’re also bonding together, but then you also have this shared difficult task where, Hey, we’re all sweating through this together. And when we come out on the other side, we’re going to be closer for having gone through the experience.

[00:40:32] JP Nerbun: Yeah. And it’s cheaper than paintballing.

I’ll tell you that.

[00:40:35] Mike Klinzing: That’s true. There’s no doubt about that. There’s no, there’s no, there’s no question about that. All right. The next one that jumped out at me in this section was the issues list. And I think one of the things that’s interesting to me here is that as my kids have gotten older and I haven’t just looked at things from a coaching perspective, because as a young coach, when I didn’t have kids, and then when my kids were very young and they weren’t involved in team sports, You tended to see everything from either what you could recollect from your own playing experiences or from your experiences as a coach.

And now that I see it from the other side as the parent of an athlete, I’ll have my son come home and he’ll mention something that he sees that something that’s going on in the locker room or things that kids are talking about that are, I think, issues for his team. And I’m sure his coaching staff, but in a lot of ways, the coach may not even be aware of some of the issues that my son is bringing to me as a parent that are not bubbling up to the coach’s attention.

And maybe a lot of ’em are minor things, small things, but they’re things that I think if a coach knew. They’d want to try to start to address. And oftentimes, as we know, small things can turn into big things. So just talk about how important it is for a coach to be able to bring issues within the team to light so that then they can be handled and dealt with in the proper way.

So you can continue to build the right culture and not have it kind of be destroyed by issues that could come up over the course of a season or throughout the year.

[00:42:20] JP Nerbun: So this is how the system is, is works to support itself, because if you haven’t created relationships and started to build safety and you haven’t empowered people through something like a captain’s or a leadership council, then a, you don’t have a place where people safe to speak up, or you don’t really have processes in place to get people to speak up.

So by having captains and units, like we, we talk about in one of the chapters. You’re you’re allowed. You’re, you’re getting people to check in with everybody to find issues, to bring them to the surface. And there’s incredible value in just getting things out there quickly quickly. And so as a coach, you have to create that, that culture where people feel safe to speak up, and then you have things in place where the issues are brought up to the table, but then we don’t dwell on the issues.

We just get very quickly focused on solutions. And it’s a powerful thing to sit down with elected leaders of your team each week and say, Hey, you checked in when the guys in your units, that means every guy was checked in on the whole team. What issues do we got here? You know, and whether it’s a playing time issue or like in the, the show, Ted lasso, there’s a issue at the shower.

He has an issues box there, or suggestions box. Cause the shower sucks. You know, like it’s like big or small. Practices are running too late. We’re tired whatever it be or some off core drama between two people, okay, how can we work through this? This is really empowering for the athletes. And when your team sees that you value and issues come up and you address them right away, you gain credibility and respect very quickly, very quickly when issues are brought to the table and they are not addressed.

And doesn’t mean that they always be fixed, but you’re not already putting action in action. Some sort of solutions. It may not be the solution that works, but if you fail to do that, you lose credibility very quickly, very quickly. And I, I know this from experience you know, just even my wife, she used to work within Amazon and, and, and just, she saw the leaders.

In these fulfillment centers that would be successful were the ones that listened to employee concerns and addressed them right away. And the ones that ignored them quickly lost respect. And so creating an issues list is one thing, but then helping others and also being a part of a solutions based process is critical.


[00:45:06] Mike Klinzing: It just seems like when you put that in place and you bring issues to light, no matter whether they’re big or small, and as you said, you jump on ’em right away and you make sure, Hey, look, you may not be able to solve every single issue to the satisfaction of every single person involved. But when your team knows that something has come up, that is of concern to one or more individuals on the team, and it’s going to potentially impact the team’s performance and you get on that right away and you address it.

Yeah. I could see the power in that because. You know that little fires, aren’t going to turn in the big fires. And we all know that with teams, oftentimes that’s what happens. Something starts small and mm-hmm, people look the other way. They look the other way. And before you know it, what could have been a problem that could have easily been contained, has now become a much, much bigger problem.

That’s infected more people. And then consequently, it’s had a negative effect on the team. So just getting those issues out. And then I think the second step, which you really talked about and hit hard is you’ve have to do something about it. It’s it’s not enough to just have it be okay. I know what the issues are now.

I’ve actually have to take some action and do something so that everyone can see that, Hey, we’re going to take care of this and try to get it back on the right track so that we can get the culture and keep the culture where we want it. And not just have it, try to sweep it under the rug.

[00:46:24] JP Nerbun: Yeah, it it’s.

Conflict is good within cultures when it’s task conflict and you’re trying to get things. Then our task conflict out there quickly. So before they come relational, or if relational conflict comes up, you, you address it in the book. I shared a story of Toyota and how they address issues within their factory production, which is the cord.

There’s a cord along the assembly line that employees could pull at any stage two stop production. And the idea being, we have an issue, we have to address this issue before we continue to put cars out. And it’s it’s and sometimes the solution doesn’t work. But you know, the employee might suggest some sort of solution.

They put implemented it doesn’t work, but then another employee comes along and helps, helps to address the solution. It’s really cool how they’ve done that over the years and, and why. Most people love their Toyotas cause they’re really dependable. It’s same within the culture here. It’s just finding some sort of cord that people can pull.

And for that, sometimes it is the Ted lasso suggestion box in the office, sometimes it’s a digital Google form link. That’s included in a lot of your messages to your players of, Hey, have you seen any issues come up? You can drop it in anonymously or put your name on it. Just, what’s an issue here that you’d like for the, our leadership council or our coaching staff to discuss at our next meeting.

So that’s just what, some simple ways that we’ve seen coaches get those issues to the, to the front.

[00:47:54] Mike Klinzing: And then you go out and talk a little bit about communication, which we know that it’s so important for coaches to be able to understand how to talk to athletes. One of the things that I’ve talked to a ton of people on the podcast about JP is just how powerful.

What we say as coaches can be for athletes and that things that we say good or bad can be things that we probably don’t even remember saying, but our athletes still remember them 20, 30, 40 years later. Just like, I’m sure there are things that you remember that a coach said to you at some point in your athletic career.

I know there are things that coaches said to me that I remember, and I’m sure if I went back and talked to those coaches, they would have no recollection of having ever said those things to me. But you talk about how to communicate and just, there’s a whole bunch of different things in terms of how you provide feedback.

But I want to focus on the acronym. U just tell us a little bit about what that acronym stands for, and then just explain, explain each one of those little parts of the, the acronym earn.

[00:49:02] JP Nerbun: Yeah, it’s not it’s at the end of the day, our communication, we have to be intentional because it’s not about what we intend to say.

It’s the message they. It’s not about what we intend to say. It’s the message they actually hear. And we have to take responsibility for that. And a lot of times we might, as coaches say, well, that’s not what I intended to them to, to hear, or that’s not what my intention, that’s what they heard.

But I also think there’s just so much research around communication, effective feed effective feedback in effective feedback, effective encouragement, effective praise in effective praise. And as leaders, we have to be intentional about that, but we can also teach it to our team. And that’s what earn is about.

Earn has evolved over the years through my research that you actually used to be RN. And then two years ago, we, we made an R because we really started to come across more research. Essentially the E stands for encouragement, which I think most people know it’s injecting energy. It’s positive things before the action before the event.

So. You know, you’re allowed bench, you’re cheering people on. You’re saying, come on, Mike, you got this, let’s go heads up. You know, like you’re encouraging things there. The, a stands for affirmation. And we like to teach coaches and we like to have coaches teach their players difference between affirmation and praise, extensive research on the, the impact of affirmation.

You know, you’re focusing on the behaviors. So it reinforces behaviors. Whereas praise you’re focused on the outcomes. Oh, you made the shot. Good shot. You know, and that actually only adds more pressure. So praise can actually become harmful, harmful. And I like go to watch practices and I’m guilty of it myself.

I listen to myself in practice. Ah, the amount of times they say good job. And it’s just most of the times they ignore it, but then even then it’s, it doesn’t do anything or it hurts. So we’re talking about affirmation, which is focusing on the behaviors. That’s positive after the beha or after the action or positive after the event, then there’s neutral before the event, which is a reminder.

And I think we know what reminders are. I love PGC basketball, talk around reminders. You know, I think a lot of times our communication though, is not effective reminders. Like we’re always like ball help, denying basketball. It’s like, is that really what I need to remind you of like that I’ve got the ball here and you know, like maybe it is, but also I might, if I’m out on defense and I really struggle to remember to force him to the baseline, I might need a teammate, Hey, Hey, baseline force a baseline or shooter.

Like we want intelligent reminders. I he’s a shooter shooter. Watch the shooter. Like those are things we want to be communicating. So you really start to lay out with your team. Okay. What do we need to be reminded of? You know? And you’ll see, sometimes guys need to be reminded of like, Head up after that shot and have a teammate remind him of that.

That’s pretty powerful. And lastly is notifications, and this is a term I stole from Daniel Coyle and his book culture code. We talk about pilots and they use something called notifications. And whether it’s normal routine flight or they are going down for a crash landing here notifications is the way they approach their communication, which is just observing what’s going on in the cockpit and with the plane and stating that.

And that’s what you’re trying to do in a feedback, effective feedback. The research would show you have to be direct, but make sure in your tone and your body language, it’s not judgemental. So like if player’s not sprinting back on defense it’s you don’t want the tone or the words to say you’re lazy.

You know, quit being lazy. Get back on defense. You want the tone, the body language and the words to say what you sell you didn’t sprint back on defense. They scored on a basket. That’s it now that’s feedback is direct, but I’m not introducing a lot of judgment. So that, that’s what we try to focus on was teaching our players and our coaches that, and then developing that throughout the practice.

And so I talk a little bit about how to implement that within a team and, and you start a drill. It’s like, Hey, what, what are some good reminders in this drill? You know? Like what, what, what would you be reminded of? You know? And we, a lot of times we use like success criteria around that our term or emphasis, but you just really try to train communication because I think that’s something that has to be developed.

And part of

[00:53:19] Mike Klinzing: that, right, is thinking about it beforehand. When you’re talking about putting together a practice or thinking about the drill or going into games, and what’s going to be important, you think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it again, just like you mentioned before, prior to getting into an emotional state where you may end up saying things that.

Aren’t as beneficial that aren’t as helpful to your athletes to try to improve their performance. I think that prep work again is key when you, when it comes to effective communication.

[00:53:49] JP Nerbun: Yeah, absolutely. I, I think it’s, it’s even looking at your practice plan before you get out there and saying, Hey, what do I really want to teach my players to communicate in this drill?

Not just communication is the emphasis it’s what are we trying to communicate? Absolutely. All

[00:54:04] Mike Klinzing: right. Part four of the book, enforcing culture, one of the things that you have in here that I think it’s sort of been what we’ve been talking about all throughout this whole time, but you talk about celebrating behaviors and I think it’s really important to make sure that coaches understand that when you have your standards and you have your non-negotiables, you have to be able to attach actual behaviors to those things.

Otherwise they just kind of become a poster on the wall where we have to really be able to identify, okay, what behaviors. Are we looking for that we can celebrate that reinforce our team culture. So just maybe give us an example of two of what that means to be able to celebrate celebrate behaviors.

[00:54:48] JP Nerbun: Yeah, it’s kind of the reinforcement of, of the culture is what I call it in this chapter in many ways. So you’re reinforcing those behavioral standards in a way that’s positive. Two big things are like creating a cultural language where it’s, it’s a phrase says a lot and, and it could be sweep the sheds, carry the water, leave it better than we found it.

You know, it’s just constantly having some of those mantras that reinforce those behaviors. So it becomes easy to communicate and, and remember for everyone. But I also think it’s about finding ways to celebrate. And one of the there’s two ways I talk about that in the book. There’s a lot of ways, but two of my favorite are one is.

Just stopping and calling it out when you see it in a positive. And I love this at Anson dos at North Carolina, for his soccer team, he he’s one of his core values is to compete. I mean, he’s all about competing. He’s got the competitive cauldron, which is a reinforcement of that. You know, a lot of our teams use a competitive cauldron as well within their practice.

But like if a player’s collide instead of running in going, oh everybody okay. He’s like, yeah, awesome. Love that. You know, like, and you’re like, oh, where to go, Ashley? That’s what we need more of right there. You know, like, and a lot of times we, maybe other coaches would, wouldn’t jump in there and they’d be more concerned with maybe safety and stuff, but he’s just constantly trying to reinforce the competitive fire in these competitive practices.

So it’s just stopping practice, not just when things go wrong, but stopping practice when players nail it. Right. The other thing is, and I, I love this one and it’s something, something simple. But is, Hey, right, get a Gatorade or something that you just give out after practice, but say give it to one of the players and say, Hey Mike, who do you think best represented our value of competitiveness today?

Who is the best competitor out here today? And then if player has to give it to somebody else, or maybe you go to one of your captain and say, Hey, it’s this captain’s day to day to acknowledge the competitor or this captain’s, who’s something. Somebody is really selfless. Now what happens in here is all of a sudden when Mike gives it to Joe, this Gator says, well, Joe’s man, he’s been really selfless.

Cause you know, he he lost his starting spot, but he was still cheering everybody on last week. And it was just phenomenal to see that it’s not like he’s the teacher’s pet now, Joe. He doesn’t feel that the pure affirmation’s probably more important than the coach affirmation. The coach affirmation’s typically done best in one on ones.

This is huge and there’s a lot of research that would show that the peer bonus is essentially what you’d say in a corporate world. That’s incredible because it doesn’t just benefit the receiver. And my, I talk about this, the book, my wife has this at Google. They do peer spot bonuses where the Google gives them money to give to each other on their team and other teams.

And my, my wife talks about how much she, oh I gave so and so the spot bonus today and just, it feels good for that end, the giver, right. To give bonus. And it’s like, ah it felt good to let them know how much I appreciate their help on this project. It’s the same thing here in NC, you know?

So Mike gives the big Gator to Joe, lets him know that all of a sudden Mike feels like, oh, and then all of a sudden morning, here’s like you’re coming back to your core values. So it’s pretty powerful.

[00:58:21] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, I love that. I love the idea of peers recognizing peers. I think that’s definitely can be more powerful than the coach recognizing somebody.

Not that coaches can’t recognize in the same way, but certainly that peer to peer recognition, one, as you said, it recognizes the individual who’s receiving, but also the giver feels good about it. And also it forces them to think about, Hey, what is somebody out there doing to support the culture? And I would have to guess that that has an internal impact on them of, Hey, tomorrow.

It could be somebody giving out the Gatorade for something else. And maybe it’s something that I can get, or maybe it’s something that I can do. And so looking around for more opportunities to be able to support the, the culture and be able to exhibit the type of behaviors that are going to lift the team and really support what the coach and what the culture is trying to, trying to build.

Next part of enfor, forcing the culture. You talk about three different types of consequences. And I know you can go into lots of detail on each one of those, but maybe if you can just give us a quick synopsis on the three different types of consequences that you talk about in the book, natural, progressive and restorative.

[00:59:28] JP Nerbun: Yeah. It’s a vastly different approach to discipline within a team that I think we’ve used as coaches. Natural consequences are things that would naturally occur. For instance, if you know, players are supposed to put their dirty jerseys into the washing machine after practice, if they didn’t do that, then they might have a wet Jersey to wear the next day.

So allowing them to experience the wet Jersey helps them motivate them to do the job, to put it in washing machine, right. That’s one aspect of it, but the international consequence is failing to work hard and on a Thursday’s practice, we go into Friday’s practice and we’re not as. Prepared and we don’t play as well.

So sometimes you’ll allow them to experience the natural consequences, but sometimes you just talk about the natural consequences guys. If we continue to give this type of effort, what’s going to happen tomorrow tomorrow’s game. And just having them name those things and discussing that’s what you’re really doing in establishing the culture is you’re saying, Hey, what’s our goal.

What do we need to do? If we don’t do those things, what’s going to happen? Well, we’re probably not going to become conference champions this year. So it helps to reinforce motivation around the behavior. So there’s sometimes allowing them sometimes it’s discussing just, and it helps motivate the desire to meet the standard.

Progressive consequences are largely logical consequences that are delivered in a way that makes sense for the athlete reinforce. Some cultural values. So when a player’s not working hard has a bad attitude. They’re whatever it is in practice or in a game. And we give them some reminders we might get on ’em come on, man.

You have to start working hard. Like eventually we either a just continue to tolerate the behavior or traditionally we make ’em run or we kick ’em outta practice. Right. And we’re, we’re trying to do with progressive consequences is not go to DEFCON five and kick him outta practice right. Of the way it’s more like, okay, you’re not working hard.

I’m not going to run you because that’s something that’s good for you. And you know, well sometimes we use that phrase, it’s this get to not a, got to, well, that’s great to say that, but do you really reinforce that? And you can reinforce that through a progressive consequence. So they’re not working hard, the drill you might say.

Let’s you know, they do a rep. Let’s, let’s try that again. Unless time let’s go at the effort. I know you’re capable of, so it’s a do over you might reset the whole team. All right, we’re going to go back to the start. We’ve been doing this drill for three minutes. We’re going to go back and we’re going to do it for five minutes, but we’re going to do it for five minutes at a high level.

I know you’re capable of doing it. So we’re going to restart the clock here. The other next step in the progression would be, you know what? You’re not working hard. Mike, why don’t you just step outta the drill? And you can hop in the next drill. Okay. So you just, you’ve just lost the opportunity to get better in that drill.

So you’re just reinforcing that enforcing the consequence in that way. Mike still struggles. You might say, Mike, you know what? Just hang on the sideline. And when you, as soon as you’re ready to start working hard or start having an attitude, I know you’re capable of, you can hop back in. It’s an empowering way.

It’s reminded that you have a choice and, and, and you can take back. And this is taps into intrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivations around autonomy. and, and real, so reinforcing competency would be two, the biggest drivers of, of that. So you’re allowing players to still feel that they have a choice.

They have autonomy in the situation, but also you reinforce the idea of this drill is supposed to help you to become the player. You want to be the competency that you want to develop at your sport. So , so by doing these things eventually we’ve had coaches that said, say, you know what, Mike, you’re not feeling today.

We’ll, we’ll see you tomorrow or just hop out there. And you’ve lost the opportunity to get better today. You know, so you’ve progressed and you haven’t gone to that stage without having already, but you really get to that when you do all these other progressions lastly is their natural consequences and not everything can be solved with this progressive logical consequence.

You know, a player shows up late to the bus you know, one of your non-negotiables is speed on time. Do you leave without them? You know, do you go to the game without them? Maybe. You know, wooden might have left , but I, I personally wouldn’t leave, especially if they’re my best player. And I need them to win the game.

That’s just the truth and the reality of the situation. And so what, what do we do? Well we think about something that’s creative. So first off restorative is like, well, what’s here is trust has been broken. He, it affects the team. Other people feel like there’s a double standard. So we need that.

There’s some consequence. Do we just make him run a bunch? No. So for a player late the bus, they might have to be early. Every practice, every game, the next week, the first person at the gym and the next bus trip, they bring donuts. Now, everyone now loves it. Ah, he guys gets donuts, they get donuts.

Everyone’s happy something like that is fun. You know, things like that. I had a coach. Who ran into a situation last year, where the assistant coach and the player got into it in a game player started talking back, the assistant coach lost his cool assistant coach was like’s run him. And the coach was like, no, there’s been a rupture in that relationship.

So what can you do to help fix that relationship? You know, you’re the adult here you don’t have to say what he did was acceptable, but you know, how can you help relationships? So the coach actually took that player to lunch. Coach asked the player the same thing, Hey, you weren’t really respectful to coach.

What can you do to make it up for coach? And I, I don’t know why they ended up, came up. This one, maybe the state of the coach’s car was horrible, but he had the player washed his car. , which I thought was funny, but it was like, that’s funny, what would it make it up for his coach? You know? And it’s like, well, the cool thing is they end up leaving.

Maybe It would’ve felt better in the moment for the coach to have that player running. But end of the day, it felt better long term for both of them, because they were able to spend time together and repair that relationship. And that’s what restorative consequences are about. They’re about repairing the rupture that has happened within the team.

[01:05:50] Mike Klinzing: Well, and you don’t have that animosity and that resentment that can be created. Right? So you hear you at a situation where these two individuals had a disagreement and obviously escalated to the point where they’re arguing in a game. And if you punish ’em and the coach is on the sideline standing and has the stopwatch out and is.

Time, the kid, as they’re running, there’s not good feelings for either one of those people as that punishment is going on the player, certainly isn’t enjoying that. And the coach, maybe you’re getting some small, slight sick satisfaction out of watching the player run and struggle, but ultimately you’re not, as you said, you’re not repairing their relationship and ultimately what’s best for the player, the coach and the team is that the relationship is repaired improved.

So that in the long term, that doesn’t happen again. Whereas you can see where the running is just going to create more resentment and more of a divide between the player and coach, as opposed to bridging that gap and bringing ’em together.

[01:06:52] JP Nerbun: Yeah. And, and all this stuff, like I didn’t just come up with it, like these terms and these things.

I I’ve relied on a lot of the behavioral science and I, I study a lot about parenting and discipline in the classroom and parenting like. Because I don’t feel comfortable with my, my natural approach to parenting discipline, which is to make them feel bad for something that they’ve done. And a person I actually love is Dr.

Jane Nelson, who’s the author of positive discipline and like whatever 20 books on positive discipline. And she always says this thing around, like, where did we ever get this crazy idea that we had to make people feel bad to do good? Where did we ever get the idea that we had to make people feel bad to do good?

And I always resonated with that. Like, why do I have to, like, if I can just bring awareness to the behavior, like what you’re doing there, that’s unacceptable. That’s not meeting our standard. That individual typically feels bad already. You know, like I don’t need to rub salt in the wounds and yell and scream.

It’s just like, Hey man, you’re not meeting the standard. And you just bring a level of awareness to that. And really what we want is we want players that are aware of how their behaviors are affecting others. That’s what we want. Then for them to say, okay, I’m going to make a different decision now. And that’s where you build character.

But if we are constantly using fear, punishment to discipline, then all of a sudden people start to do the things that we want them to do, because we have told them to do it. And they’re afraid if they don’t do it, there’s going to be this consequence. They leave our program, then where are they in life? We want them to leave our program and be internally motivated to be selfless, to bring, to be grateful, to work hard because they know that those things are who they want to be and it’s going to help them to get where they want to go.

That’s the end of the day, what, what this consequence approach is about, this is where character’s developed. It’s not in a classroom session. It’s not in a lecture. It’s not in you telling them how they need to be more grateful or like this is where characters developed. Reps where we can’t I think about the weight room.

It’s that, man, this is a hard rep or you maybe even don’t get the rep you fall short, you know that that’s lifting the bar on the bench press like that’s where you strengthen the muscles there. Well, when it comes to character, it’s sometimes there’s some failure. Sometimes it’s just a lot, a lot of resistance and you have to help them get that bar up on some of these reps here, as far as character and their way they respond to mistakes or whatever it is like, this is where character development happens.

[01:09:34] Mike Klinzing: That’s a great point that it’s doing it in practice and not in practice like a basketball practice, but an actual practice of, Hey, I’ve have to make sure that in this situation that we’re handling it in such a way that there’s an actual life lesson learned, there’s an actual. Benefit to going through the situation long term, that when that player leaves the program that lesson’s been internalized and is going to make them a better person outside the confines of our basketball program or our soccer program or whatever it might be.

And I think that’s a powerful lesson, a powerful message that you can send by going through the process of using those different types of consequences that you just described and talked about the very last section of your book, JP fight for your culture. There’s three little subheadings that to me, kind of all run together in a way.

So I’m going to just read those three subheadings and then just share something that was once shared with me. And then I’ll let you expound on that. But the three subheadings that caught my eye there, one don’t seek their approval. Two. Know, when to take a stand and then three know what’s worth being fired for.

And I think all three of those to me tie into this same idea, which I once had a coach tell me that when you go and you coach and you do a, a great job as a coach, there’s always going to be people that are going to disagree with decisions that you make, because there’s going to be kids who aren’t going to play as much as they think they should play.

There are going to be kids who don’t get as many shots as they think they should get, or families or parents who think that their kids are somehow getting short changed or whatever the case may be. And the point that this coach made to me was when you’re a head coach, what you have to do is you have to coach the way that you believe is the right way to coach so that when you lay down at night and put your head on the pillow that you know, you’ve done things.

The best way that you possibly can, and you’ve done them in the way that you believe is the best for you, your kids and your program. And to me, all three of those subheadings kind of speak to that. So just maybe summarize that last section of fight for your culture and just what those subheadings meant to you as, as we finish up here with the, with the book.

[01:12:01] JP Nerbun: Yeah. You know, there’s, there’s one subheading before that, where I talk about you have to be open to feedback into criticism and, and that’s where some of my best growth has happened. And, but we can’t, and you’re talking about these issues and we’re talking about these things in this, in this culture system about essentially changes that we would make in, in our leadership.

And I think sometimes when we start to make these changes you know, there, there is, there’s sometimes resistance to new ways of doing things and. We’ve got to have some self-belief when we’re doing it, we’ve have to have some conviction when we’re doing it. Like this, isn’t a soft approach to coaching.

And I really hope when people listen to this, like they really understood the consequences piece. That’s really hard. It’s really hard to ask a kid to step out of a drill rather than just a traditional hit the line. Let’s go like, like put ’em on the line and run. ’em like, this is harder. This feels harder as a coach, it feels harder for the players.

But it’s better way. Let’s say the way that we used to do is a bad way. I just say, this is a better way. This is the best way that I know. How so when you start to face the resistance, when, whether it’s parents or maybe a certain player, or maybe your ad is questioning that, or you’re not getting the results that you want right away, you’re not winning.

You’ve got to just be convicted as a coach and you have to have a level of self-belief and that’s why it comes kind of comes all the way back to the beginning. And the personal disciplines is making sure you have the right people around you and you’ve got the right things that can help you to stay grounded in what you believe and know and know so that you can stay the course.

I, I think that’s what it’s really about because as I share in the book, it’s not going to always go according to plan things will things will go a little go through some tough times, but that’s where the great cultures come out of. That’s where the great leaders emerge from. It’s not the companies that Had this plan put the plan in action and they were successful.

They experienced large amounts of turmoil. They experienced resistance. They experienced recessions in these companies. People trying to buy buy ’em out like these type of things. And they were able to weather those storms and grow through them. And I think that’s its same as for teams is you’re going to experience turbulence.

And it’s about you as the leader, helping to write that ship. Sometimes the passengers will know the turbulence was there. Sometimes they won’t. Even because you’ve, you’ve kept it heading in where it needs to go.

[01:14:45] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, it’s well said. And I think, again, you have to, in the course of doing what you believe, I think the piece that maybe I left out is you have to continue to grow, right?

And you have to be open to suggestion. You have to continue to grow and evolve as a coach and look at what are the newest practices, what are some things that I can incorporate as I continue to have that growth mindset and look, and learn and have mentors and, and grow as a coach. And I think your book does just an outstanding job, JP of laying out how coaches can build the type of culture that not only enables them to win on the floor, but more importantly, enables them to win the process of building a great team.

And in the process of doing that building great individuals who not only are going to have success within the confines of their basketball program, but are also going to be able to go out into society and be tremendous. Fathers mothers, daughters, friends, and really that’s what it’s all about. When we come down to the bottom line of coaching is we want to have an impact on the young people that are in front of us and be able to do that by using whatever sport it is that we’re coaching the sport, that we love to be able to use that, to have an impact on young people.

And I think your book does a tremendous job of laying out how coaches can go about doing that. So before we wrap up, please share how people can find out more about you find out more about thrive on challenge, where they can get the book. And after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

[01:16:25] JP Nerbun: Yeah, you can go over to TC

If you subscribe to our newsletter there, you’ll get a free chapter of the book. You go over to my culture It’s got links all across the world for purchasing off Amazon, the book. And it’s on ebook and paperback and it should be in middle of August on audible as well. So we’ll have the audiobook released as well.

So you can go over to Amazon too, and just check it out the culture system. And as I shared, I’m not very active on social media, but you could follow me on Twitter. And occasionally I, I dropped some stuff there as well, too. So

[01:17:03] Mike Klinzing: JP cannot thank you enough for taking the time outta your schedule to jump on and share your book with us.

I appreciate you sending me an advanced copy so that I could read it in preparation for our episode tonight. Like I said, it is extremely well done. I would highly recommend any coach at any level, any sport. If you go out and you pick up the culture system, you’re going to read through it and it’s going to inspire you to want to create the kind of culture that JP describes.

In the book. So please go check it out, pick up a copy and JP again, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to join us tonight. Really? Appreciate it. Time. Number three. I’m sure we’re not done. I’m sure you’ll be back again, but again, thank you. And to everyone out there appreciate listening and we will catch you on our next episode.


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