A note from the Editor: Recently I came across a coaching method advanced by a young coach that truly serves as a great example of an “athlete centered coaching method.” Podium Sports Journal is no stranger to advocating coaching methods that are more focused on the athlete’s needs vs. the coach’s preferred style of coaching. For example, Dr. Michael Sheridan, a coaching educator, published a piece in Podium on ways Coaches Can Empower Athletes. In a later edition, we featured a Podcast Interview with Dr. Andrea Becker who’s research on “Optimism in Coaching” showed clear discrepancies in how coaches viewed their players perceptions of their coaching style. The Millenial Method was created by Jason Schreiber, a baseball coach with a Master’s degree in Fitness and Human Performance. It features a very unique approach that requires the athletes themselves to produce videos teaching teammates the proper execution of plays and techniques the coach has gone over in practice. In this article, Jason covers the Top Five Reasons this method works with his athletes.
Top Five Reasons to Use “The Millennial Method”
1. Takes zero time away from practice.
2. Takes an athlete less than a minute to make a video.
3. Takes a coach less than a minute to watch a video.
4. Enhances an athlete’s sense of urgency to learn what is taught in practice.
5. Coaches know for certain their athletes understand the concepts taught in practice.
As a college baseball coach, I am always looking for ways to get through to my players. This past season I tried something unique, and experienced tremendous success. For the first time in fifteen years of coaching, I was certain every player on my team was on the same page with me.
The idea came to me at a coach’s convention where a speaker emphasized we retain only 10 percent of what we hear, 50 percent of what we do, and 90 percent of what we teach to someone else. For me, 90 percent represents a large number. So, I thought to myself: I have to get my players teaching.
I quickly realized there is just not enough time in practice to have my players teach to the team. I then remembered that each of my guys has a cell phone with video capability. And so I wondered: Why not have my players teach me the ideas taught in practice by making videos on their smart phones?
I talked to a few of my players about the idea. Their response? “Coach, we make videos all the time just not about baseball. You want us to make YouTube videos about baseball?”
Athletes Teaching Athletes Using Video
When I decided to use this concept I call The Millennial Method with my team, I saw remarkable results. Not only were my players learning through teaching, but the method also made me a better coach. I could determine immediately if I had done an effective job teaching in practice.
One of the ways I used the Millennial Method was to teach our defensive plays. One day in practice, I installed our plays for defending a bunt. We talked through each play and practiced the plays live. At the end of practice, I asked my players to make a video teaching me back their responsibility on one specific play I assigned. As my players walked in to the locker room the next day, I asked to see the videos they made on their phones. Most of the players had their video. Those who forgot quickly produced a video at their locker. As I watched the videos, I realized I had done a terrible job teaching in practice, most of my players did not know the play.
Quality Control for Coaches
In years past I would not have spotted the mistakes until witnessing them in practice or worse, in a game. Moreover, I would have been required to spend time analyzing each player’s movements before I could fully grasp the corrections needed. With the Millennial Method videos in hand, however, I was hearing from my players’ own mouths an explanation of their misunderstanding. They could actually tell me what I needed to know. This made me a far more effective coach as I was able to implement corrections.
Armed with that information, the coaches could spend a few minutes with each player in the locker room correcting the mistakes and emphasizing the corrections needed. As a result, the Millennial Method allowed the coaches to correct mistakes even before practice started. The videos had isolated the problems before they emerged on the field. At that I thought: “Why stop there?
This time I assigned videos explaining their roles on a different play. I found myself excited about the prospect of viewing my players’ videos the next day—not only to review their knowledge of the play, but also to determine if I had done a better job teaching it. I began to recognize the Millennial Method as more than a way of ensuring my players’ knowledge of the game. I was realizing it also could help me improve as a teacher.
The next day however, I became a bit concerned. Only a handful of players arrived with their videos complete. It was then I spotted the laggards in the locker room intently producing them before practice. They seemed fully engaged in the assignment. I concluded they had seen others waiting until practice the day before and now had decided to start the trend. Rather than fume about this dereliction of duty or worry about a breakdown in discipline, I thought about it and decided I liked it. The fact is, we were changing the culture and coaching methodology and they were slowly adopting this new technique.
My players were responding to the Millennial Method so well, they now appeared comfortable producing their videos on the run. I recognized that as another advantage for the process. In addition, I noticed some of the players helping each other and it was giving them more reason to engage productively as teammates. I could hear the sophomores teaching the freshman. It seemed clear to me that the Millennial Method videos also would become a tool for building leadership and enhancing communication, and at the same time, contributing to team cohesion and players finding roles that they could play in contributing to our overall team goals.
Benefits for the Team
Now, we use The Millennial Method to teach our plays as well as our mental routines. We use it for skill development, and, we have even used it to correct a behavior issue.
The results so impressed me that I wrote a book entitled “The Millennial Method” to chronicle the many ways we use this teaching method and elaborate on how we implement the method in our programs. It can work in any sport. However, coaches looking to use it must understand certain motivations of the millennial generation. They love their skill with technology, they also appreciate their ability to chronicle their progress as athletes. The responses I have received about this concept are remarkable, both because coaches are excited to try it with their athletes but also because some want to bring it into the class room.
About the Author
As a baseball coach at Alvin College in Texas since 2000, Jason Schreiber has sent more than one hundred players to the Division I level and twenty into the pros with two of those making MLB rosters. Schreiber holds a bachelor’s degree in sports administration from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in fitness and human performance from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Before his coaching career, Schreiber was named Houston high school player of the year at Bellaire High School in 1993. His college career included one season at the University of Kansas, one season at San Jacinto Junior college and two seasons for the University of Houston.
In 2013, ACC were the Division XIV South Conference Regular Season Champions with a 45-16 record.
Coach Schreiber can be reached at: JSchreiber@alvincollege.edu
Click here to order “The Millennial Method” by Jason Schreiber on-line.