Key Takeaways:

  • The Main Ideas
  • Salesman or Negotiator
  • Bartering with a Ball-Player

“… (T)he primary focus of this book is to help you become a more effective business negotiator, it is always worth keeping in mind that negotiations happen all the time outside of work, and that the same skills and strategies apply.”


Are you a salesman or a negotiator?

This might depend upon the context of the situation. Sales tends to have a negative connotation, while negotiating seems to infer self-advocacy. Regardless of role or level, Negotiating 101 is a lesson all of us could benefit from as coaches.

The Main Ideas

What we can expect to cover from author, Peter Sander’s book on negotiatiating:

  1. Understanding negotiations occur everywhere
  2. Some negotiate for a living, while most must negotiate to get the job done
  3. Looking for the “Win-Win” (7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
  4. Negotiations should be “fast, friendly, and effective” (FFE)
  5. The counterparty is not the enemy
  6. Consider the long-term: reputation and relationship

The main ideas already have my brain rattling off previous experiences discussing playing time with players, practice plans with staff, or challenges off-the-court with administration. Negotiations happen instinctively. Are there steps we overlook because we seek the easiest alternative? Or do we dismiss our “counterparty” because of our ego, possibly hampering a future relationship?

Sander’s introduction to negotiating emphasizes the pace of decision-making increasing because of the advancements of technology. What use to be a face-to-face office meeting with a player now is likely to occur via text, or phone call if the kid has an old soul. Not always, but the time to consider all the variables seems accelerated. It is often in our best interest to request for a face-to-face interaction or time to think in order to evaluate the situation in its entirety.

“Simply put: Selling is the act of persuading someone to buy our product or idea, while negotiating is the act of working out the details of the deal.”


Bartering with Ballplayers

Bartering is different than bargaining, only in the sense that there is often an exchange of money involved in the transaction. And since we are only dealing with amateurs here we won’t get into the influence of the dollar bill, or crypto if that’s your thing.

Sander defines bartering as, “the direct exchange of goods or services with no money or other intermediary item of value involved.” So let’s consider how bartering can generally exist between coaches and athletes.

(Individual Players) Offer:

  • Personal contributions to the team (i.e. skill/talent)
  • Commitment
  • Effort
  • Positive representation of brand (program & school)
  • A willingness to collaborate or be a good teammate

In Exchange For (From Coaching Staff):

  • Daily devotion (academically, socially, and/or professionally)
  • Skill-Development
  • Comprehensive teaching of the sport
  • Social inclusivity
  • Memories, values, and accomplishments from competitive experiences

“When a goal becomes concentrated, it’s easy to lose sight of all the things that could be important in the discussion.”


As it pertains to the barter between ballplayer and coach, the intentions for both should be to reach a win-win. Coaches invest into the player to support them to reach a level of potential previously untapped, while a player’s complete contribution to a team can help create memories that will last a lifetime for all involved.

Unfortunately, this is not how it tends to go. Have you seen the transfer portal recently?

Negotiating is about the whole deal, particularly the details. If any one objective becomes the sole focus of either party results can begin to suffer, the most likely being the relationship. But, some times equally as damaging can be the reputation. The further we get into the book the more we can begin to discuss things such as negotiating in good faith, or observed strategies that can help both parties optimize on a deal.


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