Set the Table

Listening is a skill many of our athletes need in order to be successful but don’t spend much time working to develop. Listening is a critical component in our learning process and is essential in our success as a leader.

In this exercise we’re going to move our players from just “listening” to “processing.” There’s a major difference.

Listening is going to happen whether our players try to listen or not. They can’t turn their ears off.

Processing is the act of putting thought to what you listen to and searching for ways to apply it. Leaders don’t listen, they process.

Build momentum with this exercise in getting your players to begin “processing” what they’re listening too.

"“I’ve never been very intentional with my listening. I’ve always listened but after thinking about it more, I almost never listen to the point of processing. This exercise has challenged me to listen more intently when my coaches, teachers, parents and friends are speaking to me.”"
Varsity Offensive Line Football Player

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Lesson Plan

Player Growth Areas

Exercise Length

Shareable Graphics

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

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.

Quiz Questions

Quiz Questions

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

  • Why is listening essential to our success as a leader?
  • How is processing different from listening?
  • What happens in “adjustment to attention?”
Quiz Questions

At Home

Coaches, use the below question, reflection, and action to engage parents, guardians, and other family members in the lessons learned in this exercise.

Suggestions on how to use: Email to parents the day you have taught this lesson, add it to the materials you send home, or text it to text message threads with your players.

  • Question: What is the difference between listening and processing?
  • Reflection: When do you find it most difficult to process information? Why?
  • Action: Discuss how you’ve been intentionally trying to process things at practice this week. Share how you can use the skill of processing at home as well.
Quiz Questions

Coach’s Reflection

Coach, take a moment to reflect on the lesson and how you can lead by example to your players. 

Coach, during the season you have a lot going on in your life and in your mind. It’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to others but not processing what they’re saying. Whether it’s at work or home, reflect on where you can improve your skill of processing. How much better would you be at home and work if you were better able to process all the information that comes your way?