Coaches, athletes and parents hear from Proactive Coaching speaker


Riverside Middle/High School coaches, athletes and parents recently got the chance to listen to a speaker from Proactive Coaching, LLC.

Rob Miller was invited by RMHS Principal Matt Jensen to come speak on three different occasions on Aug. 13 to help coaches, athletes and parents navigate the world of recreational and competitive athletics. 

Miller first met with coaches. Afterwards, he met with student-athletes in an assembly at the new RMHS gym. After the student assembly, there was a barbecue and ice cream. After the meal, parents and students met with Miller for one final assembly.  

“One of the things we went over last year when we were missing school is what we can do to be a better school when it comes to activities,” said Principal Jensen at the student meeting. 

Jensen said he always loved going to Proactive Coaching presentations because it made him a better coach, which made the teams and individuals he coached better because they started to see more successes (not wins or losses) at school and as a team. 

Miller told the students he normally speaks 120 days a year to high schools and colleges across the country. Typically he’d have spoken about 80 times since March 18. This year, it was just  his third time.

“Like you, I am ready to go,” he said to the students. 

Miller told the students they were lucky. First, there are no fall sports for colleges. 

“Those are not fun days,” he said.

Secondly, Miller commented on how nice of a gym the students have. 

Miller said every team in this school should be great. He added that if their team is not great, don’t look at the coaches and don’t look at their parents, but look in the mirror. 

In regards to COVID-19, Miller said it would either be the excuse or motivation for teams. 

“Make it your motivation to come back here prepared, ready to go and make your team great,” Miller challenged the students.

It was not just sports teams that Miller mentioned as teams, but encompassed activities such as theatre and FFA as great teams in which students may be involved.

Miller shared that great teams reach potential. However, according to Miller, potential has nothing to do with talent. Instead, potential is a choice. 

Other keys to great teams Miller mentioned included coaches getting support from parents, students learning to lead and choices the athlete makes.

Miller emphasized six choices an athlete can make: having a teachable spirit, confidence, work ethic, competiveness, mental toughness and selflessness. Miller went into depth, explaining what each choice looked like and what it didn’t look like.

In regards to having a teachable spirit, Miller described it as taking correction as a compliment. Miller explained having a teachable spirit included listening with eyes and ears on the coach, acknowledging correction and to try everything they are asked to do. What a teachable spirit doesn’t look like, according to Miller, are the easily distracted and the excuse maker.

In having confidence, Miller explained there is true confidence and arrogance. He said to the students he wants true confidence. Miller shared that true confidence is preparation and success. 

In regard to work ethic, Miller defined it is as giving it a 100 percent all the time. This effort is not always physical; as Miller explained. He said it could look different for each athlete. He warned the athletes to never be the one who gives 80 percent 100 percent of the time. Another term Miller had was “selective participants” and warned that they are not reserved for just athletics, but they are out there in the world.

Moving on from work ethic, Miller defined competiveness as not out-of-control anger. He said anger hurts the team. Instead competiveness was defined as recovering quickly from a mistake. 

The definition for mental toughness from Miller was staying positive and enthusiastic no matter what. He said that is what will hold the team together. He gave four warning signs of fighting mental toughness: drama on the team, moodiness, daily crisis, and body language that shows tiredness, frustration and anger. 

The final choice that Miller gave was selflessness, saying that when they join a team, they go from “me” to “we.” He said the team comes first and the athlete should focus on what the team needs. Miller shared six things the athlete can do which included working in the off season, practicing hard, keeping up on their academics, willing to ask for and give help, getting enough sleep, and not indulging in drugs and alcohol. 

Miller finished the presentation by sharing a story of the red shirt warrior, which tells of the Lakota’s test for those wanting to become a red shirt warrior. The test was mainly endurance and each participant needed to bring back a red sash from a mountain within three days. However, the test was one of honor, and if one’s sash did not touch the ground when unfurled, it revealed they did not go to the top of the mountain, but halfway.

Miller said to the students they have a choice to make everyday. They will not be perfect, but Miller challenged the students to make the choices for their teams to reach their potential.