5 Minutes with Bo Hanson: The Three C’s of Communication with Millennial Athletes

Bo Hanson
4x Olympian, Director, and Lead Consultant

You can think of this ‘audience’, the millennial generation of athletes, as the most distracted generation in history because we’re dealing with smart phones, video games and high-speed technology. The reality is, that their concentration or focus is switching all the time. For our communication to be effective, we need to ensure that we’re getting through.

So it’s more important than ever that our messages are constant, clear and compelling. I’ll break each component down.


Our messages need to be constant, not changing over time. When we talk about values, the standards we expect and our objectives for the season, the messages need to be constant. Not delivered once at the beginning of the season and not addressed again for six weeks. When it comes to the style we want our players to play, the message is constant. The behaviors we want them to develop, the message is not changing over time. It’s constant.


As well as constant, the message needs to be clear. There can be no room for ambiguity. If you’re not able to pitch your message in a clear way, it WILL be misunderstood. The more words you use, the greater the chance of misunderstanding.

When we talk about clarity, we talk about the systems and symbols that you create. An example of this is when we have a game plan. It’s got to be written up; it’s got to be clear, ‘here are the three things we want to do today’.


Add compelling to clear and constant and you’ve got the formula for communicating with millennial athletes. There’s another great YouTube clip of Coach Mike Leach (we will leave you to search for this as it likely isn’t appropriate for our website but you’ll know when you’ve found it). In this clip, his point is that they failed to get their game plan across, because they just didn’t make it compelling enough for their team.

You might have college athletes that come to you three times a week. You have to deal with the fact that they’ve got other stuff going on. If you can’t make your message compelling, they won’t want to listen to what you’ve got to say. And, you won’t be able to cut through all the other clutter that’s going on around them. What you’ve got to say has to be really compelling. And, for the message to be compelling, YOU have to be MASSIVELY compelling too. You have to look like you’re totally into it too. You have to be completely captivated by what you’re doing. There can be no question, or your athletes will pick up on that.

I had a Coach called Tim McLaren. He’s an Olympic gold medal Coach. He coached me to three Olympics. He would be at the rowing club in the morning, before we got there at 4.45 and then he wouldn’t leave until 9-9.30pm that night. Consistently. There was nothing else he’d rather be doing, in a professional sense.

When you see that level of dedication and commitment from your Coach, you don’t mind rowing with blisters.  You don’t mind if the Coach says, “fellas, leave your phones alone, we’re going to have a team meeting”. You don’t mind catching up for dinner once or twice a week, because there’s nowhere else you’d rather be, because you’re seeing a phenomenal role model and that counts for everything.

At Athlete Assessments, we’re experts in the people side of sport. We know sport and live high-performance every day. Our reputation and proven success at the elite level speaks for itself. The results that our National, Olympic, Professional and Collegiate team clients achieve directly reflects their focus on getting the people side right.

Athlete Assessments’ Team Programs have been specifically designed to maximize the people side of your team.


Looking to catch up?
You can watch all videos in the 5 Minutes with Bo Hanson series.

At Athlete Assessments we’re here to provide you with excellence in service and to help you be your best. If there is anything we can do to be of service, don’t hesitate to contact us.

You can watch all videos in the
5 Minutes with Bo Hanson series.

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Where so many other factors in sport, across sports programs and organizations are very similar, managing the ‘people side’ well differentiates the mediocre and truly great. DISC Profiling will take your team’s performance to the next level, allowing you to get ahead and stay ahead.

Our team packages include DISC Assessments plus importantly, a series of consultations via video conference. Our goal is to use the information of the DISC profiles to the benefit of your program and coaching and make it as useful and practical as possible.

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