Why I Coach: Relationships

There are many reasons why I coach. Probably too many to get into all of them. This morning, I had reason to pause and consider one of them while responding to an email from someone I’ve known for over 10 years – and only because of the sport of hockey.

After my freshman year of college I seized an opportunity to work at a hockey camp in Nisswa, Minnesota – Minnesota Hockey Camps. Since that summer, I’ve spent 9 summers in the Brainerd Lakes Area as either a counselor or a coach, coaching, mentoring and working with young people from all areas of the country. Anyone who’s ever spent time at MHC will tell you it’s a very special place filled with special people.

One of the people that I met there is now playing college hockey on the East Coast. We got to know each other through MHC, first working as counselor & camper, then as co-workers at the camp as we aged. When it came time to look at colleges, she asked me for some schools to look at, as she was considering going somewhere out east. I was someone from outside of the normal circles and someone who had experience in other parts of the country. I value the experience of moving away from home and meeting new people, as it was a huge part of my growth and development as a young man and something that I think has immense benefits.

Yesterday, I received an email from her. Last week I ran into her men’s coaches and asked about her and how she was doing. It was so cool to hear how happy she was, how much she was enjoying her experience and she was thankful for my help in finding a college. She has had a good career with a growing program and helped them find new levels of success. To read that email and know that I had an impact on her life is a very special feeling and one you don’t get after a game.

As a coach, you impact many people’s lives on a daily basis but you don’t always truly know the impact of your words and actions. The ability to motivate, inspire and mentor young people is an opportunity and responsibility that coaches have every day and one that is often taken far too lightly. Meetings may only last for 15 minutes, practices for an hour and games for two, but these relationships that we build can last a lifetime.

The impact of that email that I read this morning cannot be understated – it hit me at a time when I needed it most (as these things usually do) and helped to remind me of one of my core values as a coach. Relationships. Building, maintaining and cultivating relationships is at the very core of who I am and what I do. Why do I coach? Because of the email that I see

Why do I coach? Because of the email that I receive from an old friend thanking me for my influence in her life.

The Difference a Minute Makes

Amazing the difference one minute can make in the world huh? At 11:59pm we’re talking about all the good and bad things that happened in 2016, and then all of a sudden at 12:00am we’re talking about all the things that we will (or won’t) accomplish in 2017.

And it all happened in the span of 60 seconds.

Imagine if all the minutes in your life had that same impact? What if we could completely change our outlook on the future in the next 60 seconds? Produce an optimism and excitement about what’s next rather than dwelling on what happened?

Every minute of your life you make choices. You make the choice to focus on the past or on the future. The choice to build positive or negative habits. You make a choice to take action or live with regret. Every 60 seconds in your life can have the same impact of 11:59pm on New Years Eve.

Happy New Year – may 2017 be a year full of minutes that make a difference.

8 Coaching Mistakes I Wish I Never Made

We all make mistakes. Players, coaches, people. The best thing we can do is learn from others and recognize potential mistakes before they happen.

A great article with some timely reminders for a Monday morning:

8 Coaching Mistakes I Wish I Never Made

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Bandits Backcheck

Bandits Backcheck.jpg

A backcheck/transition drill this week.

The drill starts with five O players stationary – two F’s below the goal line, one high F3 and two D on the blueline. X starts with the puck on the half wall.

On the whistle, X takes off with the puck. The D play the rush while F3 backpressures the puck carrier (or however you structure your backchecks). Either the D or F3 angle the puck carrier into the wall and force a turnover while the other player retrieves the puck and quickly transitions it up ice to either F. The defensive team then transitions to a 3v0 attack on net (D join the play).

To add another element to the drill, place two defensive D down low with the forwards below the goal line for a 3v2 offensive attack.

I really like this drill as a transition, gap, reattack game scenario for all players involved.

Why I Love Cooking

When you cook, you can’t really do anything else.

There is no multi-tasking, no multiple internet windows, no phone calls, no emails. Just you and the food.

Cooking requires concentration, focus and single-mindedness. Otherwise you might use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. You might overcook the onions. You could skip a step.

I love cooking because I get fully into what I’m doing and forget everything else. It’s hard to say that cooking is stress free, as getting everything to be ready at the exact same time takes preparation, foresight and experience. When I cook, I reduce my overall stress level as everything else goes out the window.

I don’t cook nearly as much as I should, but I did start today by preparing some pulled pork for a dinner tonight with my defensemen. A great way to kick off the week, although I’m not sure I advise chopping an onion before 6:30 in the morning…

Wednesday Drill of the Week: 10 Minute Drill

10-minute-drill

A fun competition drill this week. Forwards vs D & Goalies.

Set the clock to 10 minutes. The forwards have to score 15 goals – if they do they win, if not the D & Goalies win.

The drill starts with the two F’s closest to the Coach getting a pass and going in 2v0. They get one look at the net and then the play is done. Coach will give them a second puck where they go down 2v1 on a D (same one look at the net).

The two F’s now pick up a third from the far corner (with a puck) and go down on 2 new D, 3v2. After the 3v2 ends, the 3rd F who joined then gets a breakaway.

After the breakaway ends, the drill starts over. If the Forwards score 15 (or more!) they win.

A great drill to do to end practice, it’s fun for the team and has a great compete element. Losing has consequences!

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Peewee to Pro

Peewee to Pro.jpg

A great continuous passing drill today. Can be done with any level (hence the name…)

The drill starts with all the players lined up at the redline. The first player (black line) goes around the far cone, second player (green) goes around the second cone and the third player (blue) carries a puck around the first cone. Blue passes to green who passes to black. Black then goes in and takes a shot on net. Blue and green now continue on with purple starting the next puck. Going around the opposite set of cones, purple takes a puck around the first cone and passes to blue. Blue has moved from the first cone to the second cone, receives the pass and gives it to green. Green has gone around the third cone (from the second) and now goes in and takes a shot. It becomes continuous, with each player going around the next cone in the sequence.

As the players get the hang of the drill (shouldn’t take too long), you can then move half of the team to the other side and have both sides going at once. This will work to stress the system of your players, needing them to play with their head up and move the puck quickly to avoid head on collisions.