The 33 Percent Rule

The 33% Rule

I recently reviewed several videos by Sue Enquist who was the ladies softball coach at UCLA.

She won 11 National championships, not bad considering she was coach for 22 years.

During that time she came up with the 33% Rule.

What is that you ask?

All I can say is I wish I knew this rule during my in Coaching time.

The rule is this:

33% of the players and parents will not give you grief. They will be a dream to work with. They speak with positivity and not with poison. Every time they show up they support you and the team 100%.

33% of the players and parents will flip flop. You are a genius when you win and when you play their kid. However, lose a few games and their kid does not get their minutes, you become an idiot. Most of these players and parents do it in a very covert way and when asked will usually deny it.

Sound familiar?

33% of the parents and players will SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF YOU! Keep in mind that these 33% will gain support for the 33% who flip flop depending on the win loss record and the playing time that their kid gets. So, it could be as high as 66% !

So, I guess this leads me to the next question. At the time of team selection does a coach select the players who have the most talent or do they select the players who have the most character?

Tough question. Coaches in Minor Hockey are supposed to win. That is what they volunteer for or get paid to do. Associations base their success on wins and losses, not what the athletes have learned. If associations identify, who they are by the win/loss record they are in trouble. It becomes part of their DNA, the bad kind! If they focus on the CORRECT process they can get the desired outcome. Convert the arrogance for winning and all-knowing attitude into humility so you can produce better people and athletes. If you are arrogant, no one wants you to succeed. We have all seen it. How we get there is far more important than what you did. Select character over talent every time. It may not be the popular decision, but it is the right decision for the team. Have you ever thought that the most talented player in tryouts could be a bubble player? Coaches put these players at the top of the talent list before speaking to the athlete and the parent. I have done it! Then three weeks into the season this kid goes on his own plan and not the team plan and for the next 18 weeks you are stuck with the kid and the parent. They are B33 and sucking the life and energy out of you and the team. The player selection is all based on talent and is usually a rushed process. Coaches assemble a group of talent and think they can impose their systems on a group of individuals that they do not know anything about their character. I have been guilty of that and wish I could turn back the clock.

 Keep in mind that there are two types of character. Performance character, how they play the game and Moral character how players live their life. Each of these types of character can be coached. It takes a solid program that requires buy in from all three parties.  Coach, athlete, and parent. All three need to have a growth mindset. This mindset allows all parties to push the boundaries of learning and yes it will rock the bowels of minor hockey until some coach at a higher level begins to talk about it.

So, I guess in a long winded fashion this brings us back to the 33% rule. If Coaches can somehow alter this rule to more favourable balance say 65-20-15 then coaches can do what they are supposed to do.

If you were to ask a minor hockey coach who John Wooden was 70% most would not know who he was. The30% who did would say he was a Coach and they would be partially right. John Wooden was an educator, a teacher. His classroom was a gym. In that gym he taught basketball and the game of life. A great football Coach was asked once if considered himself a good Coach and he answered “we will find out in 20 years? “

I will leave you with a quote from Coach Wooden and his definition of success:

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. “

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