In the Field with Generation Z

This past weekend I got to immerse myself in Generation Z by providing workshops on Championship Communication and Team-Building to the girl’s basketball players attending UCSD’s team camp. The workshops were open to any interested teams, and I was delighted by how many attended throughout the weekend.

My first at length interaction since writing parts 1 & 2 on coaching Generation Z did not disappoint, and below are a few of the highlights…

Upon asking a room of about 85 players if they knew what generation they were a part of one gal guessed, “Millennials?”

“Nope. After Millennials” I said.

“Generation Y?” guessed another girl.

“Close,” I said, “it’s right after Y…”

“X!!” A girl excitedly screamed.

“So close,” I said, as the room filled with laughter and her teammate slowly patted her on the head.

After correctly guessing the letter after Y I cited the University of Maryland study that found that “79% of the iGen display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices”. Upon entering the room my only instructions to the players had been to put all of their stuff on the side tables and find a space on the floor to sit with their team. After sharing the results of the study I said, “Now knowing that fact, and without judgment, I’m going to give those of you who may still be holding onto your phones a minute to go ahead and put them with the rest of your stuff.” In every session, at least 2/3 of the room got up to put their phones in their bags. One player told me after the session that to be fair, she didn’t really think of her phone as “stuff” because it was always with her.

On the second day I went to set up for the team-building workshop and heard voices coming from inside the room. Thinking that there might be a meeting taking place, I cracked the door slightly and saw 4 girls at the front of the room. Where I had written “Championship Communication” the day before, the giant whiteboard now read, “Lauren & Christine’s Communication Class”. One girl, Lauren, was telling a story to the other 3 and stopped abruptly to ask, “Okay, what about NOW? Were you thinking about what you wanted to say next, or were you really listening?”

“I was really listening!” the first girl said.

“Me too! I think… well, I was trying to anyways,” said the girl beside her.

“Man” said the third girl, shaking her head, “this is hard.”

I closed the door quietly to dab the corner of my eye where an appreciative tear had quickly formed. Thank you, ladies. Keep up the hard work!

Stay tuned for Part 3 on practical applications for coaching our youngest, most tech-savvy generation.

[Thank you for reading! You can subscribe to "Lately with Betsy" by clicking here and your feedback is always appreciated.]