Tag Archives: coaching

Trust the Process – Winning is the Result


98G State Champs 2014

Over the last 8 months I have had the unbelievable privilege of working with the Loudoun 98 Girls (U16) Youth Soccer Team in Northern Virginia as an assistant coach and goalkeeper trainer.  During this time, this group has been able to rise above the plateau that they had found themselves on to become Regional Finalists and National Tournament Participants. Finally, this past weekend win the elusive State Championship that they have been working toward over the last several years.

This remarkable group of young ladies has been nurtured over time (nearly 7 years) by two unbelievably talented and dedicated coaches.  The first, Rae Ann Taylor who built a foundation of technical excellence and tactical awareness that provided the girls with the fundamental skills which have allowed them to succeed in soccer and in life.  The second, Randy May who is now the Head Coach of the team, has continued to build on their foundation and has added additional tools in terms of technical and tactical capabilities while helping fine tune the emotional aspects of the game that often come with being 16 years old.

One of the key aspects to this development has been the consistency and willingness of the coaches to stick to a plan.  Over time, there have been numerous instances where players have grown and developed at different rates, players and parents have focused on winning over development, and some players have moved on to chase immediate gratification rather than focusing on becoming a complete player.  To the credit of the coaching staff and a core group of parents and players, this group has stayed the course and seen the results of sticking to the process, winning the Virginia State Championship.

As many of us understand, nothing that is worth dreaming about comes easy.  It is the hard work and dedication that goes into achieving greatness that makes it all that more wonderful when we achieve it.  Additionally, it is only through a series of failures, corrections, and breakthroughs that true continuous improvement occurs.  Like any other endeavor, sport is full of variables and processes that, when understood and properly accounted for, can be approached in a way that makes success inevitable.

During my 8 months with the team, I have been introducing Lean and Six Sigma concepts (without identifying them as such) to help the team to find ways to reduce the variation in their training, game day preparation, and performances to achieve more repeatable and reproducible results. We are just now beginning to see the benefits of this as most of the players are starting to grow in their roles and understand the concepts of team dynamics.  You can find more information about using Lean Six Sigma for Human Performance in my previous post Human Performance Lean Six Sigma: A Process Based Approach: https://thecommonsensei.com/2011/10/07/human-performance-lean-six-sigma-a-process-based-approach-to-improving-human-performance/

Now that we have reached our initial goal, we must refocus and look for new ways to step up our game because sport, like life, is about continuous improvement. Trust the process.

Until Next Time,

Happy LEANing,

David Allway

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Filed under Coaching, Human Performance, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Soccer

Human Performance Lean Six Sigma: A Process Based Approach


Every action taken is the result of or part of a process. Lean Six Sigma is the systematic methodology for driving out mistakes and reducing process variation. Human Performance Lean Six Sigma is designed to reduce variability and mistakes within human activity.

When organizations, teams, or individuals are trying to improve, their efforts often involve an individual or individuals taking part in a process. These processes whether entirely new or updated versions of the original, will require proper assessment and training of employees or team members to reach optimal results. The failure to incorporate this assessment and training can undo any benefits that may have been realized by the improved processes.

Achieving Peak Human Performance

Peak Performance relies on the 3P’s for Human Performance (Physiological, Psychological, and Proprioceptive).  When you can maximize efficiency in these three areas, you have reached the pinnacle.

Utilizing Lean Six Sigma and Human Factors Analysis we can improve performance as well as increasing the magnitude and sustainability of improvements. By utilizing our Integrated Human Factors Lean Six Sigma approach an organization, team or individual can optimize their process improvement results through a systematic methodology focused on human performance.

Human Factors Applications in Lean Six Sigma: An Integrated Approach

Developed and implemented by experts in Human Factors Analysis and Lean Six Sigma, the approach begins with the Lean Six Sigma Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) approach. This approach structures solutions within the rigorous Lean Six Sigma methodology and concurrently solves performance problems that require addressing the human component within processes.

This methodology uses a powerful toolset that does not otherwise exist in the typical Lean Six Sigma tool set: the analysis of Human Factors in understanding Human Performance.

Ideal Areas for Human Performance Lean Six Sigma:

– Individual and Team Sports

– Physical Rehabilitation

– Repetitive transactional process

– Assembly Line Work or Manual Labor

Human Performance Lean Six Sigma utilizes the proven methodology associated with the DMAIC process and combines it with our Expertise in Anatomy & Physiology, Kinesiology, and Psychology. Understanding how the human body is intended to move, how to train an individual to perform efficiently and effectively in their given environment, and the level of motivation an individual needs to carry out their assigned task is critical to the success of any manually driven process.

To unite the benefits of Human Factors Analysis with the rigorous Lean Six Sigma methodology, we have integrated its elements into each phase of the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC process:

Define: Which actions are most critical to the process and how can it be ensured that those actions are properly carried out?

Measure: How can you evaluate when and where desired/undesired actions occur?

Analyze: How do current actions affect the desired outcome of the process?

Improve: How can actions be maximized to ensure the greatest impact on positive results?

Control: To sustain improvements, how can training and development foster peak Human Performance to ensure the desired results?

As a former college soccer coach and researcher/instructor at Michigan State’s Youth Sport Institute who now works applying Lean and Six Sigma to providing solutions within the Federal Government, I have seen the need and experienced the benefits of Human Performance Lean Six Sigma.  It may seem like a stretch but, it may just be a little more common sense.

Until Next Time, Happy LEANing,

David Allway

Common Sensei

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Filed under Human Performance, Lean Six Sigma