One of the greatest opportunities we have as a coach is to help our athletes understand that being passionate about life, not just sports, is what can drive them to live a very happy and productive life.

The time with our athletes is a gift; we have their undivided attention (most of the time) for hours on end and we can use that time for more than sport. 

I coached a 15 and under travel volleyball team last season that faced some adversity, but we hung in there, and made a good run late in the season. I started coaching this team about 2 months into the season and one of the first things I asked all of the athletes was “what is your passion?” I was shocked when they all looked at me with blank stares. None of them could tell me what they were passionate about.

When I talk to sports organizations across the country, I use a tag line, and it sticks with the organizations long after I leave:


We’re fortunate in that we have already identified a passion in our athletes, volleyball. Now we can help them find another, and another, and another! Help them understand that sports can be a passion, but it can’t be the only one. We all need things that we’re passionate about that have both intrinsic and extrinsic value and motivation attached to it. I always recommend to drive motivation with intrinsic values, things that make us feel good for doing good. It’s great to get a trophy or medal, but what will continue to drive us is what we “feel” in regard to our passion.

Here are 5 ways to help your teams dig deep and find passion, a zest for things that drive them:

  • Ask them what, if anything, moves them other than what we see on the court
    • Favorite subject, type of music, favorite book or movie
  • Share your personal experiences on how you came to be passionate about coaching
    • My teams feel my passion, I share with them things that bring me to tears
  • Share examples of what other teams found to help drive them.
  • Help them understand that controlled emotion is a huge part of passion
    • Control your own emotions in the face of adversity
  • Don’t be afraid to show emotion of every kind, they will feel your passion
    • I have cried in battle, I have cried in front of my team, my kids, my friends…passion has no bounds, it’s a special form of love, don’t be afraid to show it. Deliver your message with conviction.

I encourage all of you to talk about passion with those you coach and mentor. I am certain you’ll be surprised not only about the lack of it’s existence but what they are passionate about. Some athletes will make you scratch your head or laugh, and some will help you be a better coach for them. 

For related reading for coaches click HERE. For related reading on coaching the mental game click HERE. For additional coaching education click HERE.

About the Author

Kevin Brylski was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and graduated from Johnstown High School in 1988. He joined the Navy in 1990, served 20 years on active duty, completed numerous combat deployments, and retired in 2010. Since retirement Kevin has built his business, INVICTUS Training, with one thing in mind, helping people be the best they can be. He is a personal trainer, a life coach, a motivational speaker, and conducts Sports Organization Training. In addition, Kevin is the leadership Director for JVA member Wisconsin Juniors Volleyball Club, the Parent/Coach Liaison, and 15-1’s coach. Kevin is the father of two wonderful children, Maegan is 14 and Grady is 11; both Maegan and Grady are student athletes and maintain an “A” average in school.

If you are interested in contacting Kevin to learn more about how INVICTUS Training can help your club, team or organization he can be reached at 847-533-1185 or

“Be Unconquered