In my last article I mentioned about the thud that was coming for the Ottawa Senators and how the entire organization better be prepared to teach. What we are seeing is how unprepared these young athletes were for competition. We are seeing is a team that is falling back to the most ineffectual moment of their training. Remember the Coach Lombard phrase; players need to be taught before being coached. This team is an example of that. If any team has a free pass for a season it is this team, now is the time to teach.
The mindset of practice has to change. Practice has to be competitive. It has to be as realistic as possible so it can transition to the game. Players need to be accountable for their actions. The traditional thinking is game accountability, but it goes further back. Accountability in practice is where it starts. Teams, who consistently perform poorly in practice, play the same way. They may get lucky and win a few games, but eventually it catches up.
Coach Smith and his staff have some pressure, but the real pressure is on Coach Mann and his staff in Belleville. The resources of the Ottawa Senators need to be put to use in Belleville. The General Manger can put some band aids on the situation in Ottawa to hold it together for the year. The Coaches in Belleville must have a developmental plan for every player. It must include mental, physical, and tactical skills. They need to be taught, so they know they can get it done when it matters. Coaches have to help players navigate their way when they run into failure. These are young adults who are not used to failing. Coping tools for dealing with setbacks need to be taught, so confidence does not become fragile. They need to be taught how to be resilient. Trust the quality of what you know, not the quantity. Belleville cannot be like the golfer who can’t take his game from the practice tee to the course. When they get the call up they can’t shoot 80, they need to be prepared to shoot 69. They have to understand that you never have a single mindset to compete. You need multiple mindsets, and it depends, which one you pull out on how you are feeling that day. Athletes who are competitive and have a high athletic IQ do this on a regular basis.
Right now the Senators and the media are trying to convince the fans that the kids are all right. What they have is a bunch of players that look good getting off the bus. Unfortunately, they do not hand out wins for looking good.
As for me I will watch the first 20 games then decide if the kids are alright.
Until next time!
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