Go for the Gold

Go for the Gold Pep Talk

Setting the Table for Go for the Gold

A team coming together is built upon the relationships within your team growing. In order for them to grow, players need to build connections with one another. Unfortunately, building deep connections with one another isn’t a strong skillset many athletes possess.  Conversation with the goal of connecting is a lost art and our relationships are the ones suffering. If we can’t build connections; how are we going to grow closer?

The Going for the Gold exercise will teach your players how to have deeper, meaningful conversations, leading to greater connections.

"“The Going for the Gold gave me a plan and strategy to try and build deeper connections in conversation. I find myself ‘going for the gold’ when I talk to people now. It’s pretty fun.”"
A Lead ‘Em Up Training Camp Graduate, High School Senior

Go for the Gold Lesson Plan

Gold is anything that opens the door to a potential Goldmine. Goldmines are connections. Take the following conversation as an example:

Player One: “I went out to eat last night” (GOLD)

Player Two: “Where’d you eat?” 

Player One: “I went to Chick-Fil-A.  I love Chick-Fil-A”

Player Two: “That’s awesome, I love Chick-Fil-A too” (GOLDMINE)

Some goldmines are small (we both love Chick-Fil-A) while other goldmines are big (we both love dogs, we have the same dog and we both got our dog from the same breeder), just like mining for gold in real life; some are big and some are small.

Once you communicate to the team what goldmines are, you will pair your players off. Pair them in pairings with teammates they admittedly don’t know like “that” (as mentioned in the exercise podcast).  

(side note: if you notice your players express displeasure with having to do this exercise, remind them this is what they signed-up for when they chose to play a “team” sport.  Relationships are as much part of the game as catching, throwing, hitting, shooting, etc.) 

You will give everyone 3-minutes to uncover the most number of goldmines with their teammate.  The pair with the most goldmines at the end of the 3-minutes wins. The players aren’t being asked to have full conversations but rather just relentless search for goldmines.

Remind them, if a miner went down a path where there was no gold, they wouldn’t stop mining, they would just go down a different path.  The same holds true for our search for connections. Don’t get discouraged, it’s part of the process.

Rules to note: 

– After each Goldmine a pair uncovers they need to clap-twice.  You should hear double-claps happening all throughout the room.
– Identify a few goldmines that don’t count, for example: we both go to the same school, we both play the same sport, etc. (we know – you both go to the same school and play the same sport – those don’t count)
– They need to keep track of the number of goldmines they uncover.  It’s a competition.
– After the 3-minutes, have everyone stand-up.  Then begin the eliminating process; will everyone who had 3 or more goldmines stay standing.  Everyone with 5 or more, stay standing.  Continue until you get to the final two groups.

Once you have the final pairs have them come up and share some of their goldmines with the group.

As they’re sharing, look for what we call “dropping gold” – (dropping gold is when you uncover a goldmine but you miss out on making it more valuable, essentially you dropped a few pieces of gold.)  For example: “we both have dogs” (goldmine). See if the pair asked what type of dog the other person had.  In most cases they didn’t do that extra step.  Let’s say they did and discovered they had the same dog, their goldmine would’ve been extremely more valuable.

Once they share, celebrate them and then they can have a seat.  We encourage giving a prize to the winners (our stickers, buttons and green team bands are great prizes – visit the Lead ‘Em Up store)

Go around the room and ask the players to share 1-2 of the goldmines they uncovered with their teammates.

Take a moment to reflect on the number of goldmines being discovered around the room; 5 goldmines here, 11 goldmines there, etc.  Remind the players how special this is; it is common for teammates to go entire seasons playing alongside teammates and not know a single thing about them, not one goldmine.

It makes it difficult to consider your team a “family” if that’s the relationship among teammates.

Uncovering goldmines is just the first step; you’ve got to do something with it.  We now want players to “invest” the goldmine to make the relationship “richer.”   

Identify one of the goldmines from the group as the goldmine you’ll use for the teaching point.  For example, let’s say there’s two players who love Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  Discuss with the team how two people could take their shared love for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (Goldmine) and invest it to make the relationships richer.

Examples: one of them sees a Ben & Jerry’s commercial and they video it on Snapchat and send it to the other one with a “this commercial is making me want some Ben & Jerry’s, you feel me?”  One of them goes to Ben & Jerry’s after school and on their own initiative brings their teammate back some.  During a locker room debate about ice cream, others are saying Ben & Jerry’s is no good and together they have each other’s back to defend Ben & Jerry’s.  

Off something as a simple as a shared love for Ben & Jerry’s, when invested, a relationship has the ability to be enriched.

Once you learn the strategy of Going for Gold in search of Goldmines, making sure you don’t drop any gold, how to invest the gold to make the relationship richer, the highest level we should work to pursue is the role of the Banker.

Bankers are familiar with everyone’s gold.  Bankers know what gold we each hold in our account.  As a result, bankers have an ability to connect other people’s gold.  Bankers work relentlessly to connect their teammates gold.

“You love fishing?  Did you know Josh goes fishing everyone Sunday?  Y’all should connect.”  

“You grew up in Michigan?  That’s crazy, Sarah & Nicole just moved here from Michigan.  I wonder if you all grew up in the same town, let’s go find out” 

Oftentimes when people refer to a player being “great for the locker room, without saying this exact term, they’re most likely referring to a banker.

As a result of the Going for the Gold exercise our players should have a strategy to build future relationships.  Our players should now feel comfortable if you ever called on them to go to a player, spend a couple minutes and uncover as many goldmines as possible.

Have fun & #LeadEmUp

Player Growth Areas

Exercise Length

Go for the Gold Example Videos

See Go for the Gold in action below to get a better understanding of how to teach the the Exercise.

Go for the Gold Additional Resources

Go for the Gold Posters

3 sizes to choose from starting at $10
Download and print yorself

Go for the Gold Shareable Graphics

Share these in the locker room, coaches office or on social media.

Go for the Gold Exercise Reminder Card

To emphasize and reinforce the lessons learned in this exercise with your players, download and share this graphic with them 24 hours after completing the exercise.

Sugar and Salt

Go for the Gold Quiz Questions

Use these questions below to engage after you have taught the exercise.

  • What is a “goldmine?”
  • What occurs when we drop gold?
  • What does the role of “banker” require one to do?

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