Put Your Game Together: Ethical Management in Youth Sports and Business
Reviewed by Lisa McCurley for Reader Views (04/10)
“Put Your Game Together” is a book that has all the elements necessary to successfully operate any program or business, expressed with such heart and sincerity that I was both touched and motivated throughout the entire book. The bottom line (that can be taken straight from the Table of Contents) is to make a plan, make it fair to everyone, stick to it, and do what is right. The message is delivered straight from the coach’s mouth, and so with all of the gruff charm you would expect. There is no magical stringing together of elegant phraseology here – this is a down-to-earth sharing of personal inspiration and conviction that gets through very clearly. And sometimes, when I least expected it, there would be a sentence that called for my highlighter– something deeper to meditate on.
As a parent of a high school athlete and a business owner, I felt at though Donnie Howell was talking directly to me most of the read. I could relate to him when describing his childhood adversities that taught him to always have a plan, about dealing with kids and their parents and other coaches in an athletic program, as a frustrated employee who could see that changes were needed in a business, and then as a manager who put his program into operation with successful outcomes. Whether he is addressing the reader from coach to troubled athlete, coach to tyrant coach, or manager to manager, Howell hits the target with his well-directed message. The book is an easy and delightful read with nuggets for everyone.
I plan to purchase copies of the book for all of my son’s coaches – they are great guys with a great program, and I think they will really relate to this message. It’s only fair that my employees and kids get a copy, too, so they will understand why my “plan” is changing and getting more real, getting more firm.
I understand why Howell’s friends and family encouraged him to write “Put Your Game Together” as a benefit to others. He is a special kind of man who, when faced with challenges early on, chose a code that is not always easy to live by; and the kind of man every mom wants her boys to be coached by – and become.