Category Archives: Working together

Capitalize on Coaching Opportunities

Interactions with athletes are littered with opportunities to have a positive impact on their lives. It requires being present to their needs, what they’re asking, and what they’re open to at the present moment. Your athlete might be preparing to start an event requiring a little bit of last minute technique and mental preparation coaching. Or on the flip side of the event an athlete that just DNF’ed (Did Not Finish) might require some immediate empathizing and encouragement to allow the distress of the event to wear off before exploring what caused the DNF.  These are prime opportunities to have a lasting impact on the athlete’s future performance, whether it’s the event they’re about to start or the event after the DNF’ed event.

Last minute preparation is a very individualized process, however sometimes there are certain obstacles that can potentially derail our routine. When this happens I encourage athletes to have the courage to bring their concerns to the coach to work through whatever is going on. What a coach does with this opportunity is crucial to the athlete’s performance. The coach must acknowledge the athlete’s awareness of their own process, be very attentive to the athlete’s specific needs, and ensure that the athlete’s needs are met by the conversation. In this scenario the coach must take a holistic approach to ensure that the athlete is mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming event.

DNF’s can occur for a variety of reasons depending on the sport. The cause that is being addressed here is physical and mental preparation. This is a vulnerable time for an athlete because this is what they have prepared for. This situation calls for a much different response than the previous, but both require complete and total presence to the athlete. It’s the coach’s responsibility to figure out what happened, and wait for the opportunity to educate the athlete on what and why it happened. Then the coach must work with the athlete to implement a plan to ensure the same mistake doesn’t reoccur.

Allow this post to be an invitation to be present to each and everyone of your athletes. They’re individuals with different needs. It is your responsibility to meet those needs. I believe in your coaching ability. The question is do you?

Skating Efficiency

Let’s talk about conditioning for ice hockey, shall we? I want you to ask your self a couple questions about off ice conditioning: 1) Are you running your players endless? 2) Are they running at a steady pace? The answer should be “NO” to both questions. Here are two things you should be doing instead:

  1. Do right by your athletes by spending time working on skating efficiency. No matter how hard you run them off ice, if they can’t transfer the benefits of off ice conditioning to on ice performance via efficient skating, then it’s all for not. But if you train them off ice effectively, and team them to be efficient on ice then it’s a win win situation.
  2.  Off ice you should be focusing more on a fartlek style interval training. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s randomized interval training comprising of sprinting, running, and walking. Think about the sport in question, ice hockey, we sprint, glide, skate at a steady state for a moment.

Number should be a no brainer, simply stand around yelling at your athletes to sprint, run, or walk at various random intervals for 10 minutes, then let them rest for 5 minutes then repeat 2 more times. Be creative in those five minutes. However there is a dilemma with number 1! Are you qualified to teach your skaters how to skate efficiently? Having been a skating coach for 9 years, I’ve had the privilege of producing some phenomenal skaters. Most of my skaters have gone on to play AAA, high level prep school, and juniors back east. I’ve also spent lots of time undoing bad skating habits accumulated from years of bad skating instruction. If you have any doubts about what efficient skating looks like, then go talk to a figure skating coach. Yes, I’ve only played ice hockey, but I’ve had the same skating coach since I was 8 years old, Gary Visconti. The skating instruction I pass onto my skaters is a tradition. It’s that simple. If you want to discuss effective ways of creating efficient skaters, please feel free to contact me.

Where is the light I saw yesterday?

I find that we learn the most from our times of struggle. I’m getting all this out now, because it’s getting in the way of me writing my paper. Most people see me as this perpetual optimistic bubble of joy. Well you know what? I have my ups and downs just like most people. And I’m choosing to share it with you today.

It could be my frustration with not being able to focus on this paper, or the rhythmic rock in my ears dictating the flow of my fingers on the key board. Rhythm is only allowing me to be fully open right now.

 

The Power of Community

Thank you for allowing me this time to vent to you. Who know’s you might even be connecting with what you’re reading and will be inspired to share your story with the world. That leads me to another point! So many of us are trapped with our faces in our phones browsing social media, and ignoring the world around us. Well this is another form of social media. I may not be a friend of yours, but I do have your attention. Welcome to my world, and thank you for letting me be apart of yours. It’s truly honor to have your attention.

Now take your face away from the screen and smile at a stranger. Make someones day. You’ve already made mine by being there for me.

 

The fear of success after injury

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about getting hurt in a beer league hockey game. That was the last time I put on my equipment. I thought about playing Friday but then I realized I’m not ready. I showed up anyway to watch my teammates play. They won the game but that’s not the point. The point is that I wanted to be on the ice but I know at 31 years old, sustaining 11 concussions and a brain contusion, I can’t play that way anymore. I can’t sustain hits to the head, being knocked out every week. No matter how hard I try I  seem to attract the attention of some aggressive outbreak. So where do I draw the line, coaching, teaching, watching?

When An Athlete Cries

Our lives revolve around our sport. We live our lives to the fullest, walking a fine line between sanity and insanity. Our breakdowns are few and far between but powerful and painful to witness. The fear we have of our lives being taken away isn’t obvious to on lookers because we don’t feel understood.

Last night, I got jarred pretty good in my beer league hockey game. Not sure what I did wrong, if I did anything at all to deserve a blocker to the back of the neck or to the face. As I walked into the locker room alone to remove my pounds of sweaty gear, I continued to hear the sounds of an out of control hockey game which resembled the intensity of raging testosterone adolescent males desperately trying to impress the cheer leaders.

I clasped my helmet in my hands, balling and gasping for a breath to ask “why?” again. What is the purpose behind these blows to the head, inducing a severe panic attack, followed by outrageous rage, leading to abnormally high fear. My life comes full circle in a matter minutes. Feeling death, confusion of birth, anger of confrontation and fear of loss.

All of these experiences are what make me a great coach. My mission is to support my athletes through stages of growth, maturation, elevation of sport and life skills. My friends inspire me to keep going, knowing that I’m good at what I do. I change lives as my friends, coaches, and parents have worked diligently and supportively to help me form my life.

I’ll continue to push the limits because the limits are where I feel uncomfortable and on the edge of the something great. It’s the feeling of discomfort where growth is possible. I know going over the edge is terrifying, painful, and potentially harmful, but I also know that not coming close to the edge leaves me unfulfilled and regretting the moments I’m alive.

I train smart so I can compete hard.

Being Great!!!

Over the past couple months I’ve made myself available as a virtual coach. Providing phone sessions, and posting YouTube video samples of exercise recommendations. This is not a service that I’d ever thought I’d provide, but after being able to change the lives of others from thousands of miles away, I’ve realized that the virtual world has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Now I know that there are people who have been doing this for years, but for me it’s new and exciting.

This new world has given me an opportunity to hone my verbal communication skills. If I am not able to verbally communicate what needs to be done, then I will not have served my client to the best of my ability. The question that pops to mind is; how am I able to deliver what I’m delivering without ever seeing a client in person? Here’s my simple break down!

1. Patience
2. Curiosity
3. Full commitment to the moment
4. Full commitment to my client’s goals
5. Presence to my client
6. Compassion
7. Empathy
8…
9…..

Yes, I know I’m listing qualities about myself that make me the great coach that I am! The same things that make me a great coach in person, are the same qualities that make me a great virtual coach!

What makes you great?!?!?!

 

Seeing the Trail through the Trees

As we learn to focus on our goals, we will get distracted on long the way. This is normal, and it happens to us all.

We can think of our path towards our goals as a trail to success. And most trails are cluttered with obstacles and lined with beautiful distractions. It takes practice to travel a long our paths with focus and determination. Planning and preparation is key. However all the planning and preparation cannot prepare us for the endless possibilities of what could get in our way.

This is not about planning and preparation. It’s about picking ourselves up. Dusting ourselves off. Recollecting ourselves so that we can continue down our path. (This will be discussed more in the second part)

I’m revisiting this after a conversation I had with a dear friend this afternoon about the homeless in downtown Los Angeles, California. The conversation turned from discussing the current state of homeless to potential causes of falling so far from a path that leads to a life of desperate begging. Two words came into play; failure, and embarrassment. And we posed the question, How do we overcome failure, and embarrassment to continue down our path to success after tripping over an obstacle on your path or being distracted by something along side it?

As I see it we have two options: 1) Go at it alone with a feeling of solitude and independence. Leaving it completely up to us as individuals to get back on the trail. And 2) Travel with others who have different destinations, but are still on a path for success. Giving us a support system that encourages, comforts us if we fall down. I’m not saying one is better than the other, what I’m saying is that we have the ability to make choices. That’s what it comes down to! Making the choice to travel alone or with others.

This is part one of a two part series. I’m inviting you to think about the two options. Ask yourself; which way do you travel on your trail? And how do you feel about the other option?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Either way, travel safely, mindfully. If you get distracted, get back on the trail to success alone or with others.

Back in the Saddle

This weekend was my first weekend back on my dirt bike since I had a minor tumble in January that left me limping away, and kept me off it for several months. That accident also kept me off the ice for several months. As I got back on my bike, started to kick it over, I realized after the 15th kick, it was probably telling me, “ya, you’re not ready to ride me yet.” Once I did get it kicked, It wouldn’t idol unless I kept the choke on. Seriously? This just got irritating, but then I had an epiphany!

How do I improve at something I’m not great at that I do a handful of times a year, but truly love?

The answer is; DO IT MORE!!!!

As a hockey coach, that teaches power skating (ice skating specific to hockey), and instructs off ice strength and conditioning classes, I get asked quite frequently from new skaters, “how do I improve my skating when I’m off the ice?’ The answer is there is no replacement for practicing a specific skill.

My epiphany! When not participating in the skill that needs practice, focus on other aspects of my self that I utilize on a daily basis! My strength, endurance, power, focus… blah blah…. yeah I said blah blah… say it! It puts a smile on your face.

Next time, a student/client asks me what can I do to improve when not practicing, that’s going to be my answer.

This topic can go on forever… so now I want your thoughts!

As a professional in any field, have you experienced something similar with yourself, or a client?

Building Community & Friendships…

In the past couple months I’ve had the opportunity to reach out and communicate with individuals in the health and wellness community all over the world thanks to Twitter.

All of these individuals that I’ve had and are having the pleasure of brainstorming with are inspiring me in the process of creating something great.  Reaching out and inviting others to participate in educating and inspiring our readers and clients to be proactive in their lives as we are and have been in ours.

I just want to say thank you to all of you out there who are taking the time to have a positive impact on those around you.  I know that there are oscillations in the path that we’re on, but when we stick together we’re able to get through the rough patches.

Cheers to the path we’re on, and the friends we make a long the way.