"Creativity is contagious, pass it on." ~Albert Einstein

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Monday, October 22, 2018


1. You need to work to change the perception of golf at your school. This is a hard task, but too often golf is viewed as that “other” activity to participate in during the spring or fall if you aren’t out for track, soccer, volleyball, softball or cross country. As a boys golf coach, I often run into the perception that student-athletes have to run track to become even better athletes. As a golf coach and avid golfer, I don’t buy that. My thoughts are that if you want to make your athlete even better, have him/her golf. It’s hard for some to relate to that statement if they aren’t a competitive golfer, but it’s so true. During a round of golf it is all you. Nobody else. There are no time-outs, no referees. You are responsible for every decision and reaction. When you have a bad shot, you must have a short memory and move on to the next shot. Easier said than done. As a golf coach, I can’t substitute a player out if he is having a bad day. The game of golf can be extremely frustrating. And learning how to manage the mental aspect of golf is a challenge that every golfer will struggle with, but when a golfer finds a balance in their game, it’s a wonderful thing. And this is why I think we need to do a better job of recruiting kids to our sport at a young age. I’ve had too many players go out for golf for the first time during their senior year telling me how they wished they would have participated in golf all four years of high school. While the game of golf may not be as popular as it was in the Tiger era of the ‘90s, it’s still relative and with the current younger players we see on the PGA tour, it is a great time to pick up the game. High school golf is as competitive as ever! 

2. Golf is hard. Be patient with your younger players. The game of golf can be extremely frustrating for your younger players that may have excelled at other sports. Golf is entirely different. Golf isn’t flashy and it demands a mental aspect that not a lot of student-athletes are prepared for. We discuss the mental game piece quite often at our practices to try and help our players through this process. The parallels between golf and life are amazing. I heard someone once say that a round of golf is like life condensed into four hours. You get frustrated, excited, disappointed. You most certainly will face adversity. And you have to keep your composure. Yes, this is hard for teenagers first learning the game. Playing a round of golf is an amazingly rewarding journey. One way that I have had success in relieving any frustration with the game of golf is to teach the game of golf from the green backward. Sixty-five percent of our shots come from 125 yards and in when playing a round of golf. Focus on the short game and make it fun and competitive during practice. Enable your players with little successes around the green before heading out to the course. Don’t push your younger players out to score too early. Let your veteran players play, while you work with your younger players around the green.

3. Offseason practice and competition is key. We don’t have a certain expectation when it comes to golfing in the offseason, but we highly encourage practice and competition when they can fit it into their busy summer schedules. I have a lot of student-athletes that are involved with other activities and sports and personally, I don’t like to make a student choose which activity they will participate in the most during the offseason. We have been fortunate to have a handful of student-athletes over the last several years that were willing to put the time and effort into practicing and competing in the offseason. These players embraced the opportunity to compete in the Nebraska Golf Associations junior and men’s events during the summer. For those that don’t want the higher level of competition, we encourage them to compete on the Nebraska Junior Golf Tour and purchase the FORE! Card offered by the Nebraska Golf Association. I can’t say enough good things about what NGA Executive Director Craig Ames, Assistant Director Justin Ahrens, and Manager Ben Vigil do for the game of golf in Nebraska. We as golf coaches can rest assured that these leaders will continue to provide great competition opportunities for our junior golfers during the offseason.

4. Make your practices competitive (and FUN). One of the first changes I made when taking over as the head golf coach at Aurora was to make certain parts of our practices ultracompetitive. When we are competing in drills or playing we always have something riding on the outcome. It can be a  simple “get out of practice early” reward or I will end up jumping in a drill myself. When the coach enters the game, the intensity seems to ratchet up to a whole new level. Players always want to beat the coach. If I lose, I buy the team ice cream! I’m always trying to simulate the pressure that our golfers will experience while on the golf course during a meet. It’s hard to simulate the pressure situations players will experience on a golf course, but with a little bit of creativity, you can get pretty close. One of our favorite drills is called the “Last Man Standing Drill.” We will compete in this drill a couple of times a week. It’s up to you how hard you want to make it. I will make it more challenging later in the season for my top 6-7 golfers, but at the start of the season, everyone competes in the drill. Pick a putt on the putting green. Seven to ten feet is a great distance. Have your team line up and have the player at the front of the line putt. If he makes the putt, he is “out” of the game. This is a good thing. Once you are out of the game you are free to leave practice, but a majority of our players stick around to watch the drill to the finish. Play continues as one by one, players give the putt a try. If they miss, they have to go to the back of the line and wait until it is their turn again. Keep doing this until you are down to the final two. First to make the putt in the final two forces the other guy to “win” the drill. Talk about pressure! It’s the game you don’t want to win! It’s a great drill with a lot of tradition on our team. Our golfers are always wanting to do this drill. If you “win” the drill, you have to accept the prize and have it in/on your bag at the next meet you compete in. Last year it was a pair of Elsa ear mufflers. This year it will be a shirt that I had custom made with “I 3 Putt” screen printed across the front. The winner will have to wear the shirt to school. Be creative and have fun. Your players will love it! Here is a link to some of our other favorite competitive drills that we use during our practices: http://bit.ly/huskiesgolf

 5. Brand your program. Why not tap into the power of social media to brand your program? What a way to give others a glimpse into what happens within your program! A majority of people at your school have never been to a high school golf meet. Use social media to tell your story and bring the action to them. Personally, I like to use Twitter and Instagram to share the happenings within our program. I have created a Twitter account for our golf team (@Husky_Golf) and share information that relates to our program. You may see a tweet with information about an upcoming meet or a video of a drill that we do in practice. I’m constantly creating and sharing content about our golf program. I even live stream live action from time to time at golf meets using Periscope. Last season I approached Taylor Siebert and Eric Allgood from Striv.TV about live streaming one of our golf duals. They came out, set up three cameras and did video commentary. Share your story! It’s a great way to brand your program and model digital citizenship to your student-athletes. Be sure to create a hashtag for your team as well and use it each time you post to social media. Go to your Twitter account and search #huskiesgolf to see some of the things that happen within our program. 

As a coach and parent, I truly believe that golf is a sport that should be learned and played at an early age. It is our obligation as golf coaches to make this happen. As our team mission statement states, “We want to provide experiences that will encourage our student-athletes to play the game of golf forever.”
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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I'm fortunate in the fact that I get to work with Kindergartners. 

Six years ago when I started in my current position, the thought of going into one of our five Kindergarten classrooms flat out intimidated me.  

Today, I look forward to going into any of those five Kindergarten classrooms in our district.  I can be having the worst day ever and I will walk out of one of those classrooms thirty minutes later smiling from ear to ear. 

As I reflect upon the many learning adventures with my little friends over the last six years, I've come to one realization...

We need to be more Kindergartner. 

Why?  

Because in Kindergarten, we hug more.

In Kindergarten we forgive easily.

In Kindergarten everyone is a friend.

In Kindergarten we are curious.  All the time. 

In Kindergarten we are eager and full of enthusiasm.

In Kindergarten it's okay to pick your nose.  Okay, that's not true...I just wanted to see if you were still reading. Well, maybe it is true...just a little. 

In Kindergarten we are allowed and encouraged to be creative...and not judged when we are.

In Kindergarten we jump up and down when we get excited. 

In Kindergarten we soak up learning like a sponge. 

In Kindergarten we get to play to learn.  

Love is everywhere in a Kindergarten classroom

Kindergartners are non-judgemental. Somewhere along the line, we start doing this the older we get.

We laugh a lot, and sometimes we even cry in Kindergarten. 



My Kindergarten friends have taught me so much over the last six years.  

Thank you to Mrs. Huenefeld, Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Groetzinger and Mrs. Anderson for letting me venture into your learning emporiums.  You truly make a difference in every student that steps foot into your classrooms.  









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Monday, March 5, 2018

Thanks for the click. You were scrolling through your Twitter stream and something caught your attention.  Perhaps it was the simple image embedded in the tweet. Maybe you said to yourself, "I wonder what Craig is babbling about now?" Nonetheless, thank you for taking the time to read this far. 

I'm reading a book right now that I believe every student in grades 5-12 student should read.  I believe their parents should read it.  While we are at it, I think every teacher should read it. 

The book is "Legacy vs Likes" by Mike Smith.  I won't go into the details of the book.  You can do that on your own.  At the end of each chapter in the book, Mike issues a challenge that ties with the content of each chapter.  I was intrigued by the fifth chapter in which Mike talks about how we spend our time in regards to social media. Mike dropped some powerful statistics on how much time we invest in information that has no real impact on our lives.  Consuming social media.  Scrolling through our social media feeds. Can you relate?  I know I can. 

The challenge at the end of this chapter was to work on a craft for 2.5 hours. To create something instead of consuming.  

Here I am blogging. Creating.  Working on a craft that I love to do, but tend to put it off.  I always tell myself that I don't have time even though I love the feeling that writing gives me.  

I saw a quote somewhere recently that said, "Instead of 'I don't have time' try saying 'It's not a priority' see how that feels."  

Blogging is now a priority.  I've put it off for too long.  It's my 2.5 project. Stay tuned.  Thanks for the nudge, Mike. 

What's your 2.5 project going to be? 
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Monday, January 8, 2018


I didn't pick a #oneword for 2017.  

I'm gonna give it a go again this year.  My word this year stems in part from my 2016 word and an event that has recently transpired in my life. 

My word this year is "perspective."

My son was diagnosed with Crohn's disease during his eighth-grade year.  You probably didn't know that.  He doesn't share that too often.  From what I understand, a lot of Crohn's patients don't openly share about their disease. I completely understand. 

As I compose this blog post I am sitting in the hospital with my son as he recovers from surgery that was needed because of his Crohn's disease.  We are on day 4 of recovery.  It's a hell of a lot better than day 1.  Day by day he is getting better.  

Watching my first child work through this whole process has been a challenge. If you are a parent, you know that there's an instinct we all have that makes us want to protect and help our child in their times of need.   

There's not much I can do right now as a Dad.  

I try to offer words of encouragement.  

I lend a hand when getting out of bed or walking down the hallway.  That's about all I can do. 

Since my son's diagnosis four years ago, he has never complained about having Crohn's disease.  It's a battle he will fight the rest of his life. 

He has never complained.  Not once.   

Since being in the hospital (Dec 21-24 and Jan 3-later this week) my son has not complained once.  

I would have.  A lot. 

I've learned a lot from my seventeen-year-old son throughout this whole process.  

Most importantly, he's taught me a lot about perspective.  From time to time I may gripe and complain about mundane things.  Why?  Because it's easy.  I needed better perspective in my life.  I have it now. 

My son has taught me to look at things a bit differently than I have the last 45 years. 

I am looking forward to jumping head first into in 2018 with a new perspective. 

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Who didn't like watching MacGyver?  It was an action-adventure TV series full of drama. If you are unfamiliar with MacGyver let me give you a brief synopsis.  MacGyver, the main character, always got himself into a bind.  He always managed to get himself out of these problems by using ordinary objects to manipulate a way out. He was a jack of all trades.  

I wasn't a die-hard fan but would watch an episode if I ran across it while channel surfing.  

I got to thinking the other day about some of the apps that our students are still using to create with on the iPad.  Even after five years of being one to one, they love creating with a handful of certain apps. 

They are the "go to" apps students gravitate towards when wanting to create something for class.  You know what I'm talking about.  These apps never get stale with students.  

Now, for some teachers they do.  I've seen signs banning these apps in classrooms because teachers want their students to use something different. 

I get that. 

BUT, it says something about these apps that have stood the test of time.   I call these apps "MacGyver" apps because you can do about anything with them, just like the TV character could do with ordinary objects. 

MacGyver apps have some identifiable characteristics...

Easy to use

Free (not always)

Multifunctional

Never grows old

Only limited by user imagination

I'm sure you are thinking of some of those apps right now that you currently integrate into your classroom.  

Below is a list of my must have "MacGyver" apps.  If you aren't already using them, click on the app below to download them and explore.  There are so many ways to use these apps in your classroom! 

iMovie

Spark Video

Book Creator

Pic Collage

Seesaw

Canva

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

I've noticed something at our elementary school lately.  I hadn't seen it until about six weeks ago.  When I tell you what it is, you're  going to say to yourself, "that's not that big of a deal," I think it is. 

What is it that I have noticed?  

Students using the voice dictation tool on the iPad.  

I have noticed our primary students using the tool on their iPads without their teacher or me prompting them to use it.  I was teaching a Book Creator lesson a couple of weeks ago in fourth grade and a student found the newly added voice to text feature all on their own.   I sat and watched the student dictate a paragraph (with no errors) to add to the Halloween book they were authoring. 

Stop.

Let's go back to 1988.  I'm sitting in Mrs. Soderman's typing class at Centura Public School.  The hum of 25 electric typewriters fills the room.  I'm sitting in the second row trying not to look down at my fingers to make sure they are on the home row keys.  I'm trying to type as fast as I can.  I LOVED that class. In fact, it was my favorite.  It was all about winning for me.  I didn't care that Mrs. Soderman told us that we would need this essential skill someday.  All I cared about was typing faster than the classmate seated next to me and getting to my goal of 82 words per minute.  Yes, I achieved that goal, and I am so glad that I learned the skill of keyboarding.  It has served me well.  It's a skill that I use every day in my job.   Heck, I even got paid to type up a couple of papers in college!  

Back to 2017.  

We are having conversations about what keyboarding programs we should be spending money on in our schools.  We hear from business leaders in our communities that keyboarding is an essential skill that will be needed. 

Yet I have a first grader hammering out an assignment using the voice dictation tool.  Do I tell them to stop and show them how to place their hands on home row? Or do I let them use a tool that allows them to easily express themselves? 

I'm trying to imagine what their world will look like 10-15 years from now knowing how efficient voice dictation has become just in the last three years.

And most importantly...

I wonder if our pre-established norms as adults sometimes get in the way in the world of education.  









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