Zero Sum Game

Athletics is a zero sum game.

Black or White. Win or Lose. With the end result there is no shades of gray.

Individual performance? Sure, there is an ability to measure yourself and your performance, but as to the overall result, it is one or the other – not both.

What do you want the outcome to look like?

What price are you willing to pay?

Win or Lose?

AHCA – Championship Coaches Panel

Every year, the AHCA invites the four finalists from the Men’s DI and DIII Frozen Four to speak on a panel. Each school gives a summary and some talking points about what made them successful and how they were able to get to the top of the mountain. This year, the DIII teams were SUNY-Geneseo, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, SUNY-Oswego and National Champion St. Norbert. The DI teams were Boston College, North Dakota, Minnesota and National Champion Union.

There were some common themes among the coaches, including:

  • Goaltending has to give you a chance to win every night, and sometimes steal a few games
  • Leadership – all teams that make it to the Frozen Four have good leadership and a senior class that buys in
  • Losses are often used as learning experiences and opportunities to grow – every team had an experience that pushed them over the edge
  • Overcoming Challenges – every team faces challenges, the Frozen Four teams really overcame them with poise and aplomb
  • Every team seemed to have an identity that the players and coaches bought into and embraced – they moved forward with this identity and believed in it

Some team-specific notes:

Union spoke a lot about how their previous experience in the Frozen Four helped them to stay focused on the task at hand. Their first time, they were excited to go to the Frozen Four and were wide-eyed and soaking it all in. This year, they had a hunger to win and an understanding of what that took. The veterans had seen it and done it, so it was no longer a brand new thing.

BC had a very talented offensive team. They had a tough weekend early in the year where they tied and lost to Minnesota. This early setback challenged the team and helped them to understand where the bar was in terms of being a successful team.

St. Norbert built their culture through using peers. The players help to set the standards and then they are responsible for holding their teammates accountable. They have a leadership that includes the captains and one leader from each class, they meet to talk about academics, social life, etc.

What it Takes to Win

“Winning is what happens when commitment, desire, talent, preparation, hard work, and leadership all come together.” – Tom Coughlin, NY Giants

Love this one from Coach Coughlin. You can win individual games on talent or work ethic or great leadership, but you cannot win consistently without all of those ingredients. Think about people you know who had desire and talent but no commitment or preparation. Or teams that worked hard but didn’t have enough talent or leadership. Winning consistently takes a lot of different elements. That’s why the phrase “dynasty” is reserved for the very select few that make it to that elite level.


What Is The Win?

More great stuff from Leadership Freak – I love this part about “What is the Win?”.

The question is, “What is the win?” Define success in behavioral and emotional terms.

  1. What does winning look and feel like?
  2. What improved results are we seeking?
  3. How will we act differently?
  4. How will success be measured?
  5. What does implementation look like?
  6. Who are the champions?
  7. How will we celebrate wins and correct failures?

As coaches, we must define wins on a regular basis. What does winning a workout look like? What does winning a practice look like? What does winning a recruiting class look like? Winning a game (that you might have lost on the scoreboard)? Winning a year? Coaching is all about developing people through technique and motivation. You must define winning and how we will change behavior before you can go out and do it.

Monday Morning Motivation

Time to get the week started! Every week is a new opportunity to put your stamp on things and make an impact. Few things get me ready to go better than a quick motivational movie. Here’s one of the best I’ve seen recently: