Breakdowns

Brian Polian: How to Coach Gen Z

Notre Dame special teams coordinator Brian Polian has been coaching Div. I college football for more than two decades, so he’s had ample experience dealing with young, elite athletes. When it comes to dealing with these kids, he says, it’s all about the relationships. This led Polian last year to write a book — Coaching and Teaching Generation Z: Honor the Relationships.

Polian, the son of Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian, joined the 33rd Team Call last week to talk about some of the things he learned while writing his book and to offer some advice to the former NFL coaches and GMs on the call as to how they can better understand the current generation of young athletes.

“I take the stance that my profession, the coaching profession, is at a generational crossroads,” Polian said. He believes that older coaches who refuse to change their ways will become obsolete.

“Relationships lead to winning,” he said. “Young people today are relational learners. If it’s evident to the student that the coach, the administrator, the teacher cares about them, they will work harder.”

Some other Polian quotes from the call:

“I saw a quote out there: This is the physically safest generation yet the most mentally fragile.”

“You’ve got to keep them entertained when we’re teaching. We have to, or we have no chance.”

“This is the single biggest piece of advice I can give you: You have to honor the relationship before you can ask them to honor a task.”

Watch the videos:

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