Coaching Chemistry

One of the most exciting aspects of Captains Day is that we keep getting new ideas to add.

At Captains Day yesterday, we debuted an activity called Coaching Chemistry. We had our coaches write down a lesson plan for an activity they use to build team unity. We had more than 20 responses that we will be sharing in the upcoming days.

Here’s one idea to get you started. This one came to me from my dad, Tom Roggeman who was an assistant coach at the University of Southern California under head coach Larry Smith.

He told me about an activity called compliment cards, and it is my pleasure to share it with you.


Compliment cards

Spring Captains Day!

Captains Day provides a great opportunity for coaches and players to meet their peers from throughout the county.

There will be team building activities, coaches sharing ideas to build team character and chemistry, prizes, gifts, and a free lunch.

Please join us at the Salinas Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, Feb. 8, at noon.

See the flyer attached!

Spring CD 14 Flyer final 2

You Lost Your Opener – Now What?

By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC

The seconds on the clock melt away, you can see the disappointment in your players’ eyes, and the score is not in your favor.

After months of off-season training and weeks of preseason practice, your season opened with a thud. The people in the stands are questioning you, the team is down, and nothing seems right with the world on this Friday night.

What do you do next?

Coach any sport long enough, and you will be confronted with defeats that threaten to break your spirit. The gift that comes from defeat is that you learn far more about your team and yourself through the adversity of losing than you ever will from the spoils of victory. Losing a game is a moment when we can teach our players how to handle disappointment in life, and you need to be a great role in your deepest moments of frustration.

Here are a few ideas:

Reassure the team that you are still on their side – Losing games can destroy a team because people begin to turn on each other. It will be important after a defeat to tell the team that your love for them has nothing to do with a result on the scoreboard. Your loyalty and devotion to every member of the program can never be shaken by losing a game. You need to be the epitome of trustworthiness even though you are frustrated with the way the team played. Remember, your goals are much bigger than simply winning games and championships.

Teach them to take responsibility, by taking your share first – Everybody wants to take credit for victories; nobody wants to take responsibility for defeat. If you dodge the responsibility for defeat, however, you are also relinquishing your ability to enact change, for we can only change what we control. Great leaders own up to their role in moments of defeat, and this will be important for your team to see immediately after the game. “They coached better than we coached and played better than we played,” is a powerful statement to the team.

Everybody had a role – If you are sharing credit for victory, allow everyone to share in the responsibility of defeat. From the starters to the scout team, if players feel responsible for losing a game, you are telling them that they are a critical component to the team’s success (or in this case, the lack thereof).

End with something positive – No matter how disastrous, there is always something positive to be taken from a game. Perhaps the team played their hearts out but was overmatched. Compliment the team for their effort and tell them that they are better for having played a great opponent. If the effort was subpar, end by saying that you know we are a better team than we displayed tonight. Let’s be thankful we have a chance to prove it next week.

Remember that your goals are tied to the process of building healthy young men and women who will grow into great leaders and citizens one day. Don’t let a defeat dissuade you from that path.

You Won Your Opener – Now What?

By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC

The seconds on the clock melt away, you can see the happiness in your players’ eyes, and the score is in your favor.

After months of off-season training and weeks of preseason practice, your season just got off to the start you wanted. The parents are excited, the team is celebrating, and all is right with the world on a Friday night.

So what do you do next?

Make no mistake, preparation for next week begins immediately after your contest is over. Your message to the team will set the tone for your next practice, and you want to be sure you hit the right note to keep the building the crescendo of the season.

Here are a few guidelines:

Stay focused on the process, not the outcome – When you speak to the team, remind them of the process that resulted in victory. The value in their achievement has little to do with the final score. Rather, it is the sweat they poured into the field and weight room that put them in the position to have success.

Spread the credit – After every victory, make sure to recognize the scout team players who prepared the starters to perform. You must validate the efforts of these players as they are a vital component to a successful practice. If you hope to continue your success, you will need them to be at their best at Monday’s practice. This will also reinforce the message that the value of your entire team is what will lead to greatness.

Stay humble and hungry – Glory is fleeting. It can disappear as quickly as it comes. Complacency is born from satisfaction, and satisfaction comes from people spending too much time admiring their work. Recognize a job well done, but after reviewing the game film with your players, they need to return to the core of any great program – a relentless work ethic built upon a mutual commitment to every person on the team by every person on team.

Use the thrill of victory to build unity – Explain to the team that success resulting from dedication and commitment are cornerstones to great relationships. You can build off a victory if players recognize the contributions of everyone on the team. Winning can be poison if used for self-aggrandizement.

Your love for them is constant – Be sure the team knows that you do not love them more because they won a football game. Your affection for the team is rooted in their inherent value as human beings not in their performance as players.

Sending this kind of a message to your team lets them know that while you accomplished your temporary goal of winning a game, the value of our long term goals – dedicating our time to a cause greater than ourselves –  is where the ultimate reward will always lie.

Coaches can Learn from Mom


The family Mom built from Left to right: Karen, Buck, Dad, Pam, Mom, Rock, Julie

The family Mom built from Left to right: Karen, Buck, Dad, Pam, Mom, Rock, Julie

By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC


Everyone should have a mom like mine – Florence Roggeman.


The true head of our household, she took care of five kids while my dad, Tom Roggeman, coached high school and college football for 38 years.


Mom did all of the shopping, all of the housework, made all of our lunches, and cooked all of our meals until each one of us left for college.


She also endured the stress that accompanied Dad’s career in college football, riding along the agonizing twist of fate, knowing that her family’s paycheck relied on the outcome of 11 games a year.


Perhaps it was her solid Midwestern Polish roots, but Mom did it all without complaining right up to the end when anaplastic thyroid cancer took her life on Aug. 31, 2007.


There is plenty to be learned from a Mom’s life well lived and many of those lessons translate well into the realm of coaching. Here are a few:


Stay Calm – Mom remained remarkably calm throughout all of the crises that hit our family through the years. Drawing on a strong faith in God and knowledge that the family she built was unshakable, Mom could handle anything that life threw at us. When coaches are put under extreme pressure, they will need to stay calm to have a clear mind.


Nurture Your Team – Coaches are good at motivating groups to perform, but we also need to know how to nurture a team. I can’t count how many times Mom helped prepare ice packs for me after games or hugged away the pain of defeat. One of my favorite pregame rituals was taping our players ankles and wrists before a game. It was one way that I could nurture them, showing a physical manifestation of the affection I felt for our team.


Feed You Team – There is nothing like breaking bread together that builds community in a team. Planning an activity to go with the meal allows players the chance to express how they feel about being the team.


Unconditional Support – No matter the result of our games growing up, Mom always supported us in the right way. Great coaches know one simple rule – you need to love them win or lose. As soon as you turn on the team in defeat, you have lost the team along with the game. On the other hand, your team will bounce back from defeat more quickly, and more importantly, learn the life lesson embodied in the classic wedding vows “for better or for worse” by standing by each other through disappointment.


Cheer for Them – Sitting by mom during one of Dad’s game was a full body experience. She would cheer, squeeze my arms, and pound on my legs, all in her excitement. Dad said she was the most competitive person in our family. As you instruct your players, cheer them on with rousing words of encouragement. Draw out their best effort with enthusiasm bred from an unconditional belief in their ability.


Looking back, Mom was a great coach. If you can incorporate these lessons into your coaching, you will be on your way to showing genuine love to your athletes.


They will remember you forever . . . and smile.


It Takes a Team to put on Captains Day

By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC

Transformational Coaches Central Coast kicked of the 2013 fall sports season by hosting Captains Day on Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club in Salinas.

More than 100 athletes and two dozen coaches shared a delicious lunch then came together to commit to being good leaders during practice, during games, around school, and around town. The day concluded with a concussion awareness training conducted by neurosurgeon Christopher Carver, MD.

The event was a great example of how people can draw on the resources around them to serve the community.

TCCC Vice President Tony Payan organized the meal. He assembled a crew of adult and student volunteers from throughout the area. With contributions from First Awakenings Restaurant and Taylor Farms everybody enjoyed a delicious and nutritious meal.

TCCC Secretary Diane Farmer coordinated a raffle that saw one athlete take home a copy of Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx. One coach was the lucky winner of Joe Ehrmann’s seminal book on transformational coaching InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives.

Farmer has also developed a bookmark with inspirational poems on them that attendees will be able to take away from future Captain Day events.

Board member Tim McCarthy, also the commissioner of the Monterey Bay League and the Mission Trail Athletic League, encouraged coaches from throughout the two leagues to attend. He worked the welcome table after helping set up for the function.

Dr. Carver donated his time on Saturday to increase awareness about concussions. He described how a brain gets injured in a concussion in terms that were understandable for everyone in the crowd.

I had the honor of presenting the leadership training to the athletes and coaches.

Keep checking our website as we plan to post video highlights from the leadership training and concussion prevention session.

The day resulted in upbeat leaders of sports teams from throughout the area standing together for all that is good in sports.

As TCCC continues to serve coaches and athletes along the Central Coast, we hope more schools will take advantage of this free opportunity to teach our high school athletes that they are role models for the young ones coming up.

The gym at the Boys & Girls Club has plenty of room and we cannot wait to fill it up more and more!

Fall Captains Day and Concussion Prevention Training

TCCC is proud to announce that our Fall Captains Day and Concussion Prevention Training will be Saturday, Aug. 24 from noon-2 p.m. at the Salinas Boys & Girls Club, 85 Maryal Drive. Fall sports coaches at all levels and their team leaders are welcome to attend.

We’ll be serving lunch, teaching players what it means to be a good leader during practice during games, around school, and around town.

Bring your medical staff for the Concussion Prevention Training which will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Everything is FREE!

Fall Captains Day 13 Flyer Final



Rest is as Important as Work

By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC

Taking time to recharge is absolutely critical for all coaches.

It’s no secret that coaches value hard work and take great pride in their ability to grind – put in an abundance of hours to outwork their competition.

The value of hard work has been drilled into us since the time we were young. When it came to working hard, it always seemed that we would be rewarded for practicing longer, training harder, and sacrificing more of our personal lives than our opponents.

One of the messages we rarely heard was how important it is to take some time to recharge, so we have the capacity to work up to our standards.

Be sure to take some time this summer to rest and get completely away from your season and your sport. The only way you will survive the demands of a long season will be to get some rest and have some time to reflect.

Our family recently returned from a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and a brief stay in Cocoa Beach, Fla. My nine-year-old daughter Claire had been talking about the trip for months, and my wife Ginny and I listened with pride when we heard her squeal with delight when she saw the ship in port.

While sitting in the Walt Disney Theater with Claire between me and Ginny, I escaped to another world.

My attention was solely focused on the two most important people in my life and trying to build an unforgettable trip. My ride down a waterslide with Claire left my concerns about work and the pending beginning of the school year somewhere in our wake.

We had great conversations in our car rides around the east Florida shore and returned with a full retinue of new family jokes.

On our final day, we body surfed for hours on Cocoa Beach had lunch, then headed to the airport exhausted and relaxed.

Throughout the work year or the season, we pack our days and minds full of tasks that we feel are critical to success and happiness. Those moments with family where you have the opportunity to simply be with them and be present for them help us understand the importance of the cherished relationships in our lives.

It is so easy to become obsessed with winning games and chasing a championship ring that we forget about the infinite importance of building lasting relationships in your life.

Ultimately, this is the greatest value of coaching any team. The more powerfully bonded the teammates are to each other, the further your work will reverberate into the future.

That’s why we need to take a moment to catch our metaphorical breath. When we build loving relationships with our family, it trains us to build similar bonds among our athletes.

It’s what teamwork is all about.

Johnson-Toney Camp – Building Better People


Ron Johnson addresses some of the 400 campers at the Johnson-Toney Football Camp.

By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC

More than 400 kids and 40 coaches gathered at Monterey Peninsula College last week for the Johnson-Toney Football Camp hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County.

The camp is named after Ron Johnson and Anthony Toney, two local football legends who currently work for the Boys & Girls Club.

I had the honor of working on the planning committee for the camp and as one of the coaches at the camp.

The coaches who worked the camp all donated their time, restaurants donated food, and Monterey Peninsula College even allowed the Boys & Girls Club to use their incredible facility free of charge.

The camp was the epitome service, and the lead servant was Johnson who is the Vice President of Operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County. Before working at the club, Johnson had a successful professional football career, first playing in the Canadian Football League and later playing for five years with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver.

The 400 camp participants came from throughout the county reaching as far south as Greenfield and as far north as Castroville, even extending into Santa Cruz County with players from Watsonville.

The theme of the camp was treating each other with respect. One of the goals was to teach the campers that it is possible to compete with another player rather than against another player.

The difference is a simple but important one.

When you compete with another person, both of you try your hardest to succeed and in that effort both competitors improve their ability to play. You also recognize and honor the effort of your opponent knowing the critical role that quality competition plays in improvement.

If you compete against an opponent, then your focus is on defeating the person against whom you are playing. Your goal is no longer to improve as a player, and success is measured only on the scoreboard.

Our campers received high quality football instruction from a staff of positive coaches who were conscious of their position as role models in these players’ lives.

Every day at lunch time, a guest speakers imparted lessons about life to the kids at camp.

On the first day, I had the pleasure of addressing the camp on the importance encouraging each other throughout the day. More and more, society holds people up to ridicule for the embarrassing moments in life. We emphasized building each other up rather than tearing each other down.

Paul Cater, a local strength and conditioning coach, talked to players about making it to the Super Bowl in a manner other than playing for one of the two teams. He pointed out that there were plenty of sports careers, like his own, that supported athletes.  He also emphasized the importance of proper nutrition to live a healthy lifestyle.

On day three, physical therapist Damon Anderson teamed with neurosurgeon Dr. Chris Carver to educate the players and parents in attendance about the symptoms of concussions and the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment of them.

On the final day, former San Francisco 49ers center and current high school coach Chris Dalman spoke to the campers about motivation. He mentioned that having the willpower to get out of bed and show up to participate in physically strenuous activity necessitates a character trait that will take them far in life.

The take away from the 2013 Johnson-Toney football camp is that it is more important to build better people than better players. While the kids received quality coaching from the staff, they also received timeless advice from people who had competed at the highest level possible.

Those kinds of lessons are timeless.

Follow the Leader – Enthusiasm is Contagious

By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC


Never underestimate the power of being positive.

One important aspect of being a coach is imparting a love of your sport to the current generation of athletes who are choosing to play it.

And trust me, young people these days have to make a conscious decision to play a sport. With all of the distractions available at their disposal, there are plenty of other ways that they could choose to spend their time.

A coach who is enthusiastic will make sports enjoyable and will retain more athletes. Joy is at the core of enthusiasm, and it easy for coaches to lose sight of that joy when we are obsessed with competition and searching for whatever edge we can find to defeat an opponent.

Sports have value in our society because of the life lessons that they can teach. The values of discipline, hard work, humility, teamwork, unselfishness, perseverance, endurance, loyalty, gratitude … the list literally goes on.

Yet, it is also critical for coaches to remember that all sports are games.

Coaches lose sight of this fact as the amount of money and pressure to win increase as coaches ascend to higher levels of competition.

It’s easy to allow the stress to form a cloud of self-inflicted misery in a coach’s life. When bearing the burden of a self-image defined by a great won-loss record, coaches will drag that pressure to practices, and the ones who usually suffer the most are the athletes.

Coaches who focus on building positive relationships with, and among, their athletes, however, have a natural buffer to the pressure to perform. These coaches still have the same exterior circumstances in which they coach, but with their definition of success rooted in constructing team chemistry, these coaches set their vision on something far more positive.

This shift in emphasis frees coaches to continue to love their sport for all the right reasons and share that passion with their athletes.

Positive team chemistry begins at the top. When a coach is positive and enthusiastic, the team tends to mirror the coach’s personality. Conversely, if a coach’s joy for life has been eroded by the pressure to win, the team is likely to be miserable as well.

Enthusiasm will bring energy to practice and athletes perform better when they have a bounce in their step and life in their eyes. All coaches have felt the frustration of trying to practice when a team is dragging. If your team is sluggish, check yourself to see if you are projecting it to the team.

Understand that attitude is always a choice. We cannot always choose our circumstances, but we can always choose how we will react to them. You control your outlook on sports and your life so be strong enough to be positive.

Finally, be honest by being yourself. Some coaches are loud and enthusiastic and others project their joy more subtly. Find a way that fits your personality because that will be more genuine.

Both misery and enthusiasm are contagious. As a coach, you need to realize that your team will generally follow your mood. If you want to have an energetic, enthusiastic team, then make sure those characteristics start at the top.