Generation “Why?”

Generation “Why?”

What generation are you? You know what I mean. Are you a Gen Xer? Are you a Grandpa Millennial like me? Maybe you’ve been coaching for a few decades and are a Baby Boomer. There are a few names for our current generation, but I call them “Generation Why?”

Why? Because they always ask, “Why?” Not only do they always ask why, but most of them, in most situations, aren’t too inclined to do much of anything until they know exactly why they are doing it and have decided that doing it is worth their time.

This characteristic is both frustrating and worth commending. It’s frustrating because even after you have established trust with your athletes, they still refuse to do much of anything if you haven’t clearly articulated why they should do it. You must constantly remind your athletes of the why behind every aspect of your program. Not only that, but many of them aren’t going to remember the why or understand the why until you’ve clearly articulated it multiple times and in various ways. Doing so takes a lot of time and energy. It can be frustrating.

You must remember that wanting to know the why behind everything they do is also commendable because it demonstrates that your athletes desire to think more deeply about why they choose to do this or that. Nine times out of 10, it’s not a tactic for avoiding working hard like we so often assume. It’s a genuine desire to be purposeful.

When you were playing, how often did you do something with no questions asked because Coach said to do it? Constantly, right? Generation Why? isn’t wired that way. They demand that you explain the why behind everything continuously. You can decide to resist that reality or embrace it. It’s your choice.

Our teams are full of athletes who are waiting to work hard for a coach who will take the time to constantly and clearly articulate the why behind everything the program does. But it’s important to recognize that merely teaching the why isn’t enough for this generation of young people. They’re also craving another characteristic from their coaches. 


Generation Why? demands that their coaches love and care about them as people, not merely athletes. There’s an old cliche ringing more true every minute: They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The old cliche has never been more true about high school athletes than it is today. Today’s athletes are more relational than ever before. As a result, they value advice and instruction from someone they know well far more than they do from someone who knows well.
You can summarize these changes in two words: relationships and purpose. Study after study has shown that today’s young people long for real relationships and profound purpose in all they do, especially something that demands as much commitment as athletics. The bottom line is that if your program doesn’t offer the opportunity to forge authentic relationships and a sense of deep purpose, your team won’t attract today’s athletes.

You need a system for building a culture founded on relationships and purpose. You need a plan to help your program develop young people who are great athletes and great community members.

Focusing on relationships and purpose is integral to building your culture. Only when real relationships and profound purpose are present will individuals rally around a shared ambition, set aside their agendas, and serve the team.

Once athletes and coaches understand your Why, What, and How, they are free to be motivated by a love for the sport, teammates, and a love for the program. Every program has its own unique Why, What, and How. The Culture Coordinator System will help you discover yours step-by-step. The system begins with a tool your athletes can use to find out what motivates them and enables you to identify the strength and weaknesses of your current culture. It also provides action ideas for assisting your athletes in moving towards being motivated by a love for the program.

The Culture Coordinator System will also teach you how to be a coach who embraces your athletes’ desire to know the why behind everything you do and become a coach they trust deeply and enjoy following.