Monthly Archives: September 2017

LovePrints- Coach Eric Larkins John Cooper School

Great people make great coaches. Great coaches make great people.

Love in Action. Action in love.

A loveprint is the constant and consist covering of those around you in love. So much so, that nothing else can stick. Nothing else can exist. A vacuum so filled with love that nothing else can occupy it. Acts of kindness, purpose, and love.

I am a combination of many great coaches. Many great people. I have coaching brothers and sisters all over the country. All over the world. No matter where I moved, there was a magnet putting me in the company of great people. It happened when I moved to Texas. Again.

I left Virginia, and behind me was a great collection of people who were family to me. They cared, they mattered, and they had purpose. They loved. Leaving that place created a hole in the fabric. I have heard the phrase “Grow where you are planted”. I try to live with that in mind. God has never put me anywhere I could not grow, or anywhere that I would be alone.

When I got to Texas, I was coming off a coaching high, and wanted to stay active. I found a school with extremely impressive academics, some great coaches and leadership, and a spot for me to coach three sports. I jumped in immediately, and found some new family to work with and alongside.

I tear up just typing this. God continues to put amazing people in my path, for my journey. I seem to find these coaching brothers who understand the right why, the right how, and the right priority. It gave me great strength to know that I was among great people doing great things for great reasons.


There was another multiple sport coach who gave me light. He gave me strength. Someone to trust. Someone to walk with. He was smart, charismatic, strong, Godly, and he had a ridiculous lefty crossover. (the crossover is almost as strong as his faith. ALMOST). He coached with his heart, he was steady with his hand, and his smile made every player trust his word. His actions always matched his word. Vital.

At the end of basketball season, I started having trouble with my back. I leaned on Coach Larkins for support, strength, and he never wavered. At the end of the school year, I had major surgery on my spine. The surgery had complications that put me at risk and in the ICU. My health was under fire, and I was leaning on a strong faith that kept giving me answers. Things took a darker turn, and the hospital feared the worst. I was weakening and wavering as they added procedures that concerned me, and I was in trouble. I was calling out loudly for faith to strengthen me, and I got a visit from Eric at my lowest point. How did he know? He and his amazing wife Jan showed up at the ICU and held my hand, hugged my wife, and prayed with me, for me. I cried. I could not believe that the right persons with the right words and smiles showed up right on time. They gave me the strength to get through the procedures, get out of ICU, and get home. A year later, I am healing, getting strong, and never forgetting.

I do not know what I did to deserve the great people in my life. Eric and Jan and family are constant smiles in my heart. I try to say thank you enough, and they would say “no worries”, but I will try. One of the working orders of LovePrints is “loving and learning through sports”. Well, I am honoring that today.

At least today, you will know how thankful and appreciative of you, your wife, and your faith. I appreciate who you are, what you do, and why. God brought you into my life, sports was the vehicle, and my heart is forever indebted. Thank you for your prayers, your words, and your work.

The young people in your path are blessed indeed. So are the adults. Sometimes the streets are your pulpits. And sometimes, it’s a hospital bed in ICU. Thank you.


Great coaches make great people. Great people make great coaches.

Love in action. Action in love.

Posted in Good Sports
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Coaching Commandments. Why? What? How? When?

Here is the working list for Coaching Commandments. It is not the gospel, it is just the working starter point for coaches, teachers, parents, and educators. The more that is shared, the more that it is known. We can make this an introduction to who we are, why we do what we do, and the way that we do it. We can express How we work, operate, and function. Once the mission and plan are known, understood, and shared, everyone has a greater opportunity to reach whatever goals we put into play.

The printable list is linked below:


  • ASK. Why? What? How? Who? Why you play or coach. Why it matters. Why you are here. What is the goal, the task, the plan, the assignment, the purpose? Who is this for? Who can help you. Who needs you. Who cares about you. Who made it possible to be here. How will this work. How is this helpful? How is the going to happen. How can you make it simple? How can you make this likely? Who gets honored in this? Why is this important?
  • TRUST. Your coaches. Your teammates. Your family. Your plan. Your work. Yourself.
  • WORK. Do your job (before, during, and after the season). Even love requires action. Action requires love. Both are required for success and growth. Let your work be your resume and statement of who you are.
  • RESPECT. The game. The process. The name. The history. The people. Those who love you. Your body. Your time. Your future. Your body. Your home.
  • EFFORT. Give what is required, before it is required. Give yourself every chance. Give yourself the truth. Give your potential a challenge. This can never be an option.
  • IMPROVE. Each rep. Each play. Each drill. Each shot. Each throw. Each test. Each practice. Each classroom session. Each assignment. Each day.
  • PRESENT. Be present. Firmly attached to effort. If you have honored the above, they allow you to be present in the moment, the drill, the task at hand, the practice, the play, the mission, the goal. This is the process.
  • PLAN. Know your responsibility. Know the mission. Know the purpose. Know what you are doing. Know why you are doing it. Understand the plan. Understand that what was planned will happen.
  • FINISH. The most difficult thing to do is finish. Be present in the very next task at hand. Be able because you have respected the game and yourself enough to trust your team, coaches, and work. Be calm in knowing that you have the plan, you have worked and worked on it to get better at it, you know what is required before it happens, and you have the energy to do so.
  • LOVE. If you do the above, it is winning and loving. No matter the result, if you have done these things, you will be successful. You will have done the work to respect yourself, and gotten the respect of others. They will trust you, and you, yourself. The work will be honored, valuable, and worthy. You will create memories, provide a path for others to follow, create paths for yourself, and be able to be proud of what was done. You will have gotten better at that thing, and things that you did not know were connected. And, I am sure that you complete the task because you cared enough about it, your team, your name, and yourself to not quit before it was done. You will have more love for the game in understanding all that goes into it, and all that was put into it. You will be loved. You will love.



Please check out the list, and the video attached for explanation and details.


Love in Action. Action in Love.

Love Out Loud

Coach DP

Posted in Coaching
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LovePrints – What are your Coaching/Teaching/Parenting Commandments?

Great coaches make great plans. Great plans make great coaches.

This may be the toughest question that I ask of you. It may require the most time thinking about it. It may also require that you ask yourself questions that you may not have the answers to.

Why? Who? How? What?

You may already have the answers.

If you do not have to answers, it is time. If you have the answers, it is time to share them.

Each day, coaches, teachers, parents, mentors and leaders face the masses. Those masses are looking for answers, direction, and leadership. If we stand before them under the assumption that we know what we are doing, that we know what we are going to ask them to do, we should already know.

Why are we there, standing in front of them?

Why were you chosen?

Who are you there for?

What is the goal?

How will we get there?

Where do we begin?

What are the boundaries?

Are there rules?

Are there different ways to get to the goal?

Is there existing proof of a right way?

Is there only one way?

What is daily success?

When is enough, enough?

What are the steps to success? How do we know?

On the path to success, the path to any goal, there must be a playbook, a plan, a purpose, and a way. Far too often, these things are not known, understood, or shared with the people who need them the most. The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. Your commandments are your points. They are your straight line.

Do you know your points? Do you know your goal? Do your players, students, and children know?

If you do not, they can’t either. If you know, and they don’t, you can not achieve them.

Let the discussion begin. Let the goals be known, clearly.

I hope that you understand that these are your LovePrints. These things are what they will take with you once the games and tests are over. I hope that you are giving them something worth following. I hope that you are directing them forward and up.

Posted in Edcuators
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LovePrints-Letters from a player. Thank you.

Great players make great people. Great people make great players.

Love in Action. Action in love. Love out loud.

As a coach, we are given a great responsibilities. Be worth following. Have something of value to say. Be worthy of each young mans future and potential. Be the quality of person that they should aspire to be. Be there for them, in the present and in the future. Love them as your own.

Our wishes as coaches generally run from love of themselves, love of others, respect for them both, and the ability to recognize the value of this. We wish for health, happiness, joy, wisdom, and love. We wish for their best, their opportunities, and their future. We hope that they know that we care, that they should care, and to show them how.

Every once in a while, life hands us a living breathing example of why we do what we do. A young person physically grows, emotionally aspires, mentally pursues, and lovingly achieves some of the things on our wish list. They reach, they grab, they acquire. They gather, stand, and extend. And, they love. Out loud.

When a young person takes the time to reach out and share a piece of themselves, you have reached them. It is not always easy for them, comfortable for them, or a part of their nature. When they do, stop what you are doing, pay attention, and listen. Something real is about to be said.

This letter is wind for the sails. It is a reminder that seeds planted with love, grow in love. It is a reminder that sharing strength makes us all stronger. It is a reminder that sharing weaknesses does not make us all weaker. It makes us stronger. It is a reminder that the seeds grow and blossom, even if they are not in sight, they are in spirit. This letter is why we do this.

I get to cheer on my young people as they fall in life, stumble in life, trip in life, and scar themselves. I also get to cheer them on as they gather themselves, stand up, right themselves, and move on, forward and up.

This letter belongs in praise. What God can do for our loved ones, and for us. This letter is a statement of the power of love, the depth of love, and the strength of connection. I am thanking God for his hands on this young man and his family. I am applauding his heart, soul, and spirit. I am thanking him for thanking me. What God did, I am thankful for. What he has planned for this young man has got to be some kind of wonderful.

He is thanking me. I am thanking him. We are both thanking God.

Say your thank you’s out loud. Say them often. Say them freely. They are powerful. They are good. They are love, and loved.


Posted in Testimonials and Stories
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No time to study? 168 hours to succeed!

Great communities make great people. Great people make great communities.

Action in love. Love in action.

It is that time of year again. Students, student-athletes, parents, teachers, and coaches are all wondering how to handle the academic workload. How to manage time. How to make sure that the people in our lives meet whatever standards that have been set. How to ensure peaceful and joyful growth. How to love in a loving way. How to love in traffic and chaos. How to love out loud.

The great divide in academic success comes at the intersection of make an excuse or make a way. The sign by the side of the road  “that I do not have the time.” On the other side of the street is a sign that says “168.” One is an excuse. One is the right way.

I do not have the time usually means that a person simple can not figure out how to manage their time. Prioritizing is simple once the direction and goal are known. Detours are less likely when the destination is agreed upon.

In the other direction is the 168. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Successful people and unsuccessful people both have the same 168 hours per week to accomplish the same things. Successful people use the 168 to set priorities, determine paths, choose focuses, define purposes, and to stay on course to whatever it is that is being pursued.

Misdirected, disconnected, and unfocused people allow time to pass without using their 168 purposefully. The time is wasted and spent, leaving a vacuum of missed opportunities. In retrospect, there are short and direct roads to success to look down. In hindsight, there were clear roads to success in the rearview mirror.

Forward, there are ways to help our young people manage time. There are ways to help them stay on the right path, the easier journey, and the successful way.


If you want control of your 168, plan ahead. Know where your time bank account is being spent. Know what expectations are required of you by teachers, parents, and coaches. Consider sleep, meals, school, faith, family, and chores. Be aware of time spent on social media, watching television, listening to music, talking or looking at your phone, and workouts. Consider your practice time if you are a student athlete, and the time for study halls, homework, film study. Talk to your teachers in advance, let them know your plan for success, and use the connection to make sure that you stay ahead of responsibilities, assignments, quizzes, and tests. Use your time on school buses or car rides home for studying if you are not driving. Use the wait time for practices to begin for studying. Use the wait time after practice for studying. Confirm and reconfirm your projects due dates, and use your time in class for the reason you are there. To learn. Take notes, and share the notes with your teacher to make sure that you did not miss anything. It helps make the teacher better to know that their intended message was heard, received, and learned.




Know your young persons 168. It is hard to help them if you do not know where time is spent and how. You can not know these things if you do not ask. Ask about time on social media, time talking to potential dates, time texting, surfing the net, and listening to music. Know their assignments due, their work turned in, and what is coming due next. Know the teachers and coaches, and stay connected to them for the mutual benefit of your young person. Do not be afraid to ask or demand for headphones to be off when you are checking in on them. Shared information and IQ keeps the connection strong. Its much easier to help when connected. You know when your child goes left or right off the path if you stay connected to them. Set aside time to check in each week with your child. Ask about assignments turned in, assignments due, and what they are learning. Set aside 5 minutes to look over those notes that were taken. It speaks volume on what is going on. Feel free to ask the teacher to sign them and send home for review. The additional boundary of them knowing that you care and will confirm removes a lot of going off the path.



Offer the students access to you for checking notes, communicating with parents, and working with coaches. Truth is, coaches have some additional time and leverage with the student athlete. They have time and reason to check status and standing. The more connected the teacher-parent-coach-student are, the easier it is to be aware of status and standing. This removes the 23rd hour of panic, stress, chaos, and drama of not knowing that something is due, something is wrong, something is missing, something was missed, or something was not turned in. A few moments at the beginning or ending of each week can save the teacher from drama. Use it. Everyone wins.




You have the student-athlete’s attention and time. You have access to the student athlete 5-6 days a week, anywhere from 5 to 20 hours a week. Remember, the first thing remains first. Academics. If a student-athlete is struggling academically, the practice can not take precedent over the academics. Use that time to get caught up or ahead. Sometimes, the practice facility needs to be the classroom. Also, there are usually 10-90 teammates who are taking the classes as well. Often, the same classes. Take advantage of the team’s shared IQ. There are other teammates who took notes, got assignments, are working on projects as well. Let the team help the team. We rise together, so let them study together for the greater good of the teammate if needed. Ask for direct help from the teachers. Get weekly updates, or daily ones if possible. Get weekly communications from the parents as well. SHARED IQ. The more we know, the more we share, the more we agree on, the more we do together, the more success we have together. Teams that study together, and learn together, win together.


For some of you, this is already being done. Bravo, and thank you. If you are not, there is hope. The 168 is there for you to use. It has value, and makes sense. Use your 168. It is a plan for success.

Posted in Students
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LovePrints-Highlight videos (your video may be hurting, not helping)

Posting your highlight video might just guarantee that you are never recruited.

There. I said it. I feel better now.

I know. I know. You are proud of your efforts. You made a great play, or two, or ten, and you want to share it with your friends. If you are a parent and you are proud of your youngster, you post in on social media, and no one outside of your circle with see it. Right?

Not so fast.

The current trend involves players taking their film study clips, mashing them together, and posting them online. They share with friends, people they want to impress, teammates, family, and their own ego. Here’s what happens…it gets seen. Unfortunately, in most cases, it should not be seen.

You may be showing more than you think. You may be showing more than you want. You may be turning a coach against considering you. There are several reasons why you should share your skills. There are far more reasons to edit what you share, be careful of what you send, and be careful about who you send it to.

Ask your coach to help you. They have a better idea of what a next level coach might want to see. They certainly have a better idea of what they do not want to see. Or, how much of it they want to see. Ask them. They can go through the game tapes and tell you yes or no on which plays to share. They can give you some insight as to what a coach wants to see.

Ask a college coach what he wants to see. It helps to know their system. It helps to know what they use to scout. What kind of players do they have, and what kind do they need. What are the important measurables, and what are the important intangibles. They can tell you how many plays, or how long the video should be. They will also tell you the best way to send it to them. Or the best site to post it on. They can tell you what camps they trust, and importantly, what programs they trust.

What mom and dad posted or videoed might be great for impressing the cute girl, maybe not so much for the Division 1 quarterback coach. What you did vs the second team, while productive, only shows them that your competition isn’t very good. What you did in one game is not the same as what you do every game. A different route, a different pitching sequence, hitting different pitches off different pitchers in different games, shooting contested jumpers against quality defenders, or your third fatigued rep on a weight machine. What is the time of your third 40-yard dash? How do you perform when tired?

No point in sending pro style offensive tapes to some coaches. No reason to send batting cage work to others. No point in showing shooting drills if they do not show shots that you wont take in games, or in their system. No point in showing workouts that do not fit what they do. Ask them what they use, and they will actually appreciate you doing so. You will send them a tape that makes sense to them, works for them, and can tell them what they want and need to know.

Most videos are not watched with detail unless it is a known entity. The highlight reel can be an introduction, or it can be a good bye. The route you ran might work in that one game vs the guy who will never play again, but will it be good enough vs a monster? Are you running the route the way they teach it? Are your hands where they need to be? Are you taking good shots? Are you making next level plays?

If you are sharing videos just to share them, go for it. But, if you are sharing them to be SEEN, make sure that they are benefitting your goal.


Be careful what you say about yourself on film. College scouts and coaches will believe what they see, and not what you tell them.

Posted in Students
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LovePrints. Iowa Hawkeyes Football & Childrens Hospital

Love in action. Action in love. Love Out Loud. Loving and Learning through sports. These are the constants of LovePrints. Make the next thing you touch better than when you found it. Leave the next person you interact with covered in love. This is LovePrints.

The Iowa Hawkeyes have a long tradition when it comes to football. From the players who have gone on to play successfully in the NFL, to big time bowl game appearances, to legendary coaches, Iowa has carved out a wonderful niche in collegiate football. Add to that their most recent tradition. Each person, fan or player, Hawkeyes or opponent, band member or cheerleader, coach or official, everyone in the stadium stands at the end of each first quarter and turns and waves to the Childrens Hospital next to the stadium. In that moment, love will be shared, and it will be my new favorite football tradition. It will be the entirety of Kinnick Stadium, 75,000 people strong, all sharing themselves and their game day with young people. And the young people will share themselves back. What I can tell you is that no matter who they are playing, at the end of the first quarter of their home games, I will be standing and waving with the 75,000 plus at Kinnick.

Here’s to the home game Kid Captains of the Hawkeyes. Here’s to each and every fan at Kinnick. Here’s to us all.

< Waving >

Posted in Good Sports
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LovePrints in Action. Arkansas Razorbacks Football and Superfan

Loving and Learning through sports. I have often said that sports can bridge most things if used properly. If athletes use their goodness to make others better, it should be the definition of winning. To cover the next person we see in so much love that nothing else can stick. To leave them so covered in love that they have more to share with the next person they meet, and then the next, and so on.

I use the words love in action. Action in love. Love out loud. Fandom is love. Cheering is love. Hugging is love. Smiles are love.

Watch this video all the way through. Look what we can do for each other. Look at what love can do.


Posted in Good Sports
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Hurricane Harvey. Houston LovePrints

Love in action. Action in love. Make the next thing better. Leave the next place better than you found it. Leave the next person better because of you. Love out loud. Go.

Action without love does not accomplish much good. Love without action does not accomplish much at all. Together, they can accomplish anything. This is the definition of LovePrints. The heart and the hand working together to cover the planet in love.

After a week under the clouds of Hurricane Harvey, I can tell you that examples of LovePrints are everywhere. Individuals and groups actioning in love to help their brother, strangers, children, families, and anyone who is in need. To see men and women volunteer, often at their own risk, to help absolute and complete strangers. To see these people rally to ease the burdens and pains of the victims of this horrific disaster makes me hopeful. It makes me believe in the greater good in all of us. I saw the amazing strength of the human spirit. The power of love in action.

I can not say enough about the first responders who put themselves in the direct path of harms way. To see the rescues up close, time after time, neighborhood after neighborhood, boat after boat, house after house, family after family, and person after person. To see order restored to chaos, calm within the storm, and direction for the loss and disoriented. To see the connection between businesses and the people in the communities who stopped doing business to care about people. To see the politicians get out front and actually be in leadership mode gave me faith in the people in those positions rather than the policy of those people. I stand impressed in our volunteer capabilities. No gain, just help. No reason other than being able to help. Together rather than alone. Thank any and all who donated time, money, clothes, resources, and love. Bravo.

My hope is that we can continue to cover those near us in love without there being a need for chaos to initiate it. I hope that we realize that love in action is greater than fear in action. I hope that we realize that we need to act out for those around us, in love. That is why we are here. To be love, and loved.

For the residents of Houston, I say thank you for the love. I say thank you for the action. I say thank you for love in action, and the action in love.

Here’s to covering Houston in love. And staying covered in love, by action.

Posted in Good Sports
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