Well it has been some time since I have had anything to say, but a recent interaction has changed that.
I am not a wealth of hockey knowledge, but I have been very fortunate to be around some people who have an extremely high hockey IQ. I am proud to say that I have benefited from these individuals. They are not only good hockey people, but character people as well. They respect the athlete first and the game second. I my world, that is the way I see it.
Last week I was playing golf with a good friend and a fellow that I met on the first tee. About three hours into the round the topic of Coaching came up. The new guy started discussing this one particular Coach and how he was verbally abusive to some team members of a team he is familiar with , but he was a very good Coach because his teams win. Me being me, I went off ! I said “winning games and being a good Coach were not mutually exclusive”. I told him he was not the first nor the last to be confused by this phrase. Hockey Canada sure as hell is. I said that this person had hockey IQ , but he was not a Coach if he is verbally abusing players. If an incident like this were to occur in a classroom there would be hell to pay. Coaching is about developing people and through the development of people , good coaches use the game as a vehicle to teach and accelerate the development process. Now, there will be those in the hockey world that you need to be a hard ass to get your message across. Being a hard ass comes will the tag as being a screamer, yeller, and abusive. Coaches that do that usually have a very short shelf life and players will carry that voice in their head for years.
Great Coaches understand that they are being invited into the players world and they need to understand how they communicate and process information. That does not mean sucking up to them, it means you are building a relationship with them and you need to trust each other. Coaches need to understand that players have access to information 24/7. Therefore, information that is being given to them must current and delivered in a fashion that they understands. It is up to Coaches to adjust. Please do not confuse adjusting with being passive. They are not mutually exclusive.
I can honesty say that it wasn’t until recently that I got that message. I actually stumbled upon it in my search for golf knowledge. I read a book called “Every Shot Must Have A Purpose” by Swedish golf coaches Lynn Marriot and Pia Nillson. They spoke about the think box and the play box of the golf shot. I then asked myself the question Why is this not being taught for hockey? Coaching players on the mental side of the game during the game. The think box would be the bench in between shifts where players could observe the game. The play box is the ice surface where they can take those observations and apply them. Every shift must have a purpose. It can not be left to chance. To me, that is Coaching. If you asked my golf acquaintance or that verbally abusive Coach they would probably not understand the concept or perhaps a large percentage of the hockey community.
It is always interesting to listen in on conversations such as these to see if the culture of hockey is changing or are coaches are being measured by their wins and losses. I think the culture is changing very very slowly because we trying to change over 100 years of hockey culture.
Until next time.
Be well Stay Safe.
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