How the Seattle Seahawks Could Fix Our Schools

“The big idea is that happy players make for better players.”

I’ve a troubled relationship with Pete Carroll.

On one hand, he seems like a super-affable guy who gets his teams fired up and has genuine affection for his players.  On the other hand, he coached the Patriots into the ground before the Belichick Era and managed to get out of USC just before all sorts of NCAA-violation gnarliness reduced the campus to marching-band-bragging-rights only status.

However . . .

After reading Alyssa Roenigk’s ESPN: The Magazine article,  I think the Dick Clark of football coaching might be back in my good good graces.   Here are four (of many) reasons why public education ought take a good look at what is happening with the Seattle Seahawks.

1. The Seahawks are building personalized learning models.

Carroll craved a chance to reimagine the coaching role in the NFL. “I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?”

2. The Seahawks motivate players to participate in enrichment activities by rolling them out strategically and on a voluntary basis.

For the newcomers to his sessions, [meditation coach] Gervais keeps them short, about six minutes. For those with some experience, he prepares longer, more individualized meditations. No one is required to be here, yet about 20 players show up at various times every week to breathe in, breathe out and open their minds.

3. The Seahawks are helping players with all aspects of their lives, not just their abilities to perform in high stakes situations.

And in a trial program entering its second year, a group of 15 to 20 players is undergoing Neurotopia brain-performance testing and has worked with Gervais to create status profiles — updated every week on an iPad app — of what’s going on in their lives, how much sleep they’re getting, their goals and how they’re dealing with stressors.

4. The Seahawks are doing what they believe is best for their players, even if the rest of the league is conducting business the same way it has always been done.

“I talk to guys on other teams, and other teams aren’t like this. We do stuff different here.”

— Quarterback Russell Wilson

See how the season plays out.   If Russell Wilson and company have a winning record, and many prognosticators have them slated for a Super Bowl appearance, well, maybe we ought to get some meditation coaches, practice field DJs, and Jumbotrons in our schools.

And I’ll owe Pete Carroll a tip of the visor.

About Dan Ryder

Dan Ryder & Jeff Bailey, co-founders of Wicked Decent Learning, a blog, podcast, Twitter feed and who-knows-what-all-else devoted to teaching and learning in Vacationland and beyond. Teachers, dads, actors, writers, geeks, buds.

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