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Issue 426 - "Championship Recruiting" (Suzanne Yoculan Part Two)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 426
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Suzanne Yoculan was the head coach of the women's gymnastics program at the University of Georgia from 1983 to 2009. Coach Yoculan' s teams (the Gym Dogs) won10 NCAA championships, including a run of 5 consecutive national championships during her final 5 seasons.
Coach Yoculan's teams had four undefeated seasons and her 7 National Championships in her last 11 seasons reminds me of Coach Wooden's championship run. What philosophies did they have in common in their "Championship Recruiting"? In her book, Perfect 10 with Bill Donaldson, Coach Yoculan described her philosophy:
"Give recruits the most objective and accurate picture possible of life as a student-athlete at UGA—no more, no less. The decision on where to attend college is one of the most important decisions a person makes in his or her entire lifetime. So, it's important that the gym¬nastics staff and team assist a recruit in gaining a comprehensive and accurate impression of what the University of Georgia will do for her. It would be totally irresponsible to mislead a recruit about any aspect of college life at the University of Georgia in order to persuade her to come here as a gymnast."
In his book with Don Yaeger, A Game Plan for Life, Coach Wooden described his approach:
"Hand in hand with consistency come honesty and trust. When a teacher or a coach or any kind of mentor is consistent in his or her principles, it creates trust between the mentor and the people he or she is mentoring. I never tried to talk a student into coming to UCLA. I tried to show him what was there and what to expect, and I never told him he was going to play; I told him he would have the opportunity to play, and if he was good enough, then he'd be able to."
Recruiting great talent in business or athletics is essential. When a company or school paints too rosy of a picture to attract top talent, they will have a disillusioned and unhappy team member when things don't work out. If you are recruiting a salesperson, tell them the least money and the most money they might make. If only a very small percentage of your sales team achieves the high number, make that clear. The great competitor you want will take it as a challenge and sign up. The future excuse maker will go elsewhere.
Coach Yoculan and Coach Wooden had very few athletes over the years that transferred to other schools because they were disappointed with their playing time. They stayed, in part, because they had a great relationship with their Coach, which had started with the strongest of all foundations: The Truth!
What's the core of your recruiting philosophy?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



The Benefit of Trouble

If life were rosy and skies were blue
And never a cloud appeared,
If every heart that you loved proved true,
And never a friendship seared;
If there were no troubles to fret your soul,
You never would struggle to gain your goal.

It 'a trouble that makes you and proves your worth,
It's trouble that spurs you to better things.
It isn't the person with the joys of earth
Who courage and strength to their duty brings;
But the person who bends 'neath a burden great
Is the person who wins in the fight with fate.

It's something to work for, a debt to pay,
A place to gain that a young person needs;
The difficulties that line the way
Are really the mothers of splendid deeds.
The person with something they hope to do
Is the person who toils with a purpose true.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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