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Some advice on a recruiting trip sparked an idea for a book for Brian Polian

While on a recruiting trip to a catholic school in Massachussets, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly asked the headmaster of the school if he had any advice from his career in education that he'd be willing to share,

Irish Sports Daily shares the story of that trip and the one sentence of that response from headmaster Alex Zequeira that really stuck with special teams coordinator Brian Polian, who was accompanying Kelly on the trip.

"This gentleman looked right at Coach Kelly and said, ‘Here's what I've learned after all these years, you have to honor the relationship before we can ever ask them to honor a task,’”

Zequeira shared that over the last two decades, studies have shown time and time again that boys care more about who is teaching or coaching them than the actual material.

“They are relational learners, which means that they value the relationship,” Zequeira added. “They want to make sure that the person who's working with them cares about them and if that's evident to them, they will do anything for that teacher or for that coach."

“So that's really where it comes from. It's this idea of honoring the human being in front of you, honoring what that kid brings to the world and in our case as a Catholic school, the fact that student is a unique expression of God's love. And if we recognize that, the boy will do anything and really work his tail off for you; whether it's academically or on the field.”

That conversation, coupled with the COVID pandemic that drastically altered the ability for coaches everywhere to hit the road and travel for recruiting and do things over the summer like coach at camps like they normally would, provided Polian with the push he needed to take on a major project.

That project was to author a book titled "Coaching and Teaching Generation Z." The book was released in December and is currently on backorder on Amazon.

With the extra time on his hands, Polian, the former head coach at Nevada from 2013-16, dug into research studies and had conversations with some of his coaching mentors and teachers to put the book together.

The article points out that Polian's book covers everything from the best on-the-field approaches to connect with players, to how texting can absolutely be a way to have a meaningful conversation with today's players, and how valuable it can be to just pull up a chair in the locker room.

Coming from a former major college head coach and decorated assistant looking for some ways to put his experiences into a way that others will be able to understand and learn from, this book from Polian looks like an excellent read.

Read more about it, and some added commentary from Polian on the book and how it came together, here.