Click herCurrent Reading: Atomic habits - James Clear (55%), Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman (audio) (18.5 Hours remaining), and How to Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan (pg. 320).
Supplemental Engagements: "All or Nothing - Manchester City" and "All or Nothing - Tottenham Hotspurs"
Admittedly, I got sucked into this show and thoroughly enjoyed the inside look at these elite clubs within the English Premier League. Three things that stood out most: 1) The cultural impact of these football clubs on their cities/ localities is profound, 2) Major financial investments are being made in the Premier League to create conditions of high performance in their coaches and athletes. (Little to no mention of investment in mental performance or mental health services but I would be surprised if this is not becoming an integrated part of their approach), 3) Adaptability is everything; whether to injuries (which are inevitable given the load the athletes are under), coaching changes, or global pandemics. Teams that take ownership and find ways through challenges together appeared to be the most successful. Other features that stand out: the introduction of Jose Mourinho at Tottenham was a fascinating process of transformation to see. Also, watching a professional club grapple with COVID on a personal, competitive, and financial level is important knowledge to gain for anyone interested in the world of elite sport. Check it out !
- The desire to be liked v. being respected: Most often, being liked is the past of least resistance compared to being respected. Being respected requires communicating clear and easy to recognized boundaries, and then holding all parties (self included) to those boundaries. This can mean carrying out agreed upon consequences that makes others uncomfortable. When others are uncomfortable (with not meeting an agreed upon expectation) they may project that discomfort and claim that we are the source of their discomfort. This activates the fear of not being liked, which can prompt the creation of exceptions or conceding on our needs instead of continuing to hold a valued boundary with others. In the long-term, we will be respected for creating conditions for others to change. It shows our belief in their ability to grow and find new ways to deal with challenges. Adjusting our boundaries in order to be liked will only discourage change and enable the same frustrating behaviors to be repeated.
- Social consistency: Instead of putting pressure on yourself to maintain strong friendships with quality interactions, focus on consistency. Especially through COVID, the pressure for every interaction to be good and meaningful can get in the way of maintaining human connection. We are all social creatures (of course there is a variety of expressions of this) and clunky but consistent is always going to be a better long-term strategy than sparing "high pressure" connections. Because if you haven't realized it by now, we are in the "long-game" with social restrictions and quarantining for some time still to come. What can "consistency" look like? Here are a few ideas: Create a standing weekly call with close friends. This is a time to check in each week and you can feel comfort knowing that if there is something you need to bring up, you have space for it. Another idea is to create a type of check in each week. Make Fridays for discussions about new music. Or maybe do a "food draft" in which everyone chooses their favorite fast food or Halloween candy. Having a topic or activity can really relieve some pressure on the interaction. Starting to sound like a book club? Good. Because there is a reason book clubs are great examples of socialization.
Other Engagements: Deep Work, Pomodoro Method, Binaural Beats for Studying and Relaxation (Jodie Hutton Youtube channel), One Night in Miami (Netflix), and Realms of Human Unconsciousness - Graf
Future Directions: New Hypnosis recordings for relaxation, integration of mental health services for athletic performance in elite programs, and review of Can't Hurt Me
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All inquiries can be directed to email@example.com to edit.
Current Reading: Atomic habits - James Clear (44%), Can't Hurt Me - David Goggins (Finished!), and How to Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan (pg. 304).
Supplemental Engagements: Reading about endurance racing, special forces training, and stories related to David Goggins. The audio book gives unique insights and interviews not included in the text. If I were to summarize this book (which is powerful on many levels including surviving trauma, overcoming adversity, military culture, and extreme brands of consciousness), I am reminded of a song from the show Jackass "If you're gunna be dumb, you better be tough". I say that with an incredible amount of respect to the author and the accomplishments described (and agree with the message about the power of pain as a transformative force). And in many of the cases, suffering was the point. But the number of stories about lack of preparation and planning (only to "successfully" suffer "through"), and how stretching became an incredible source of wellbeing really take a detour from the lessons I prefer to preach regarding performance (granted we are talking about sport performance). I guess I was really pulling for David and wished that his endless hard work could have yielded the results he was pushing for (Delta, racing victories, etc). There is A LOT to unpack from a book like this and it may need to get its own complete write-up. #stayhard #canthurtme
Grief - There is no debate regarding the disruption COVID19 was and continues to be. And while vaccines are being deployed and some prioritized routines are regaining a footing, this dark year has not lessened its grip on the collective psyche. "Ambient stress" is the best way I have heard it described. Everyone is just under an added layer of hardship as they navigate the changes to social interactions, career prospects, and feel the limitation of ability to predictably plan for the future. And yet if you are reading this, you must also acknowledge that your suffering does not compare to those who have or will lose their lives during this pandemic. I don't say "compare" as an invalidation of what you or your family have endured and the incredible lengths the pandemic has stretched so many. But rather, it is improper to compare because the struggles of the living maintain the potential for change whereas the finality of death is just that; final. Death comes in many unfortunate forms, and will continue to be the marked feature of COVID's legacy. But to be a casualty of the pandemic, one does not have to acquire the virus. I am speaking, of course, about suicide and the many who were struggling to find reason to live before their world was broadsided, and the months behind or still to come are testing their last strands of hope. Making it more difficult to believe that anything can change or that there is anyone they can go to with this feeling.
A phrase I frequently rely on to when discussing suicide or suicidal thoughts with clients is "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem". Yes, a gross oversimplification of the depths depression can reach and the seriousness of suicidality, but this is where I always start. Because my goal is never to judge, or confront, or to jump in and change someone's suicidal thoughts. My role is to be the voice that is different, and to remind a client of what they already know; that things can change. I refrain from lying and saying "everything is going to be great!" or that they have nothing to worry about. Simply to help them recognize that things can change. They always have. And always will.
As I write this, I am thinking of those who are grieving. I am thinking of those who have had to accept that permanent solution. And I am thinking of the many more suicides we are going to face as the year unfolds. I hope that this work is enough and I hope that people can remember what they have always known; that things can change.
2020 disruptions of relationships and expectations. Removing barriers of self. (To be discussed further in the COVID reflections post)
Ego states and disruptive self-talk. (To be discussed further in the ego states post, and added to resources).
Future Directions: Completing the comprehensive booklist of "recommendations" that I receive during sessions, editing and adding clinical hypnotherapy audio
*Inclusion of materials is not an endorsement of the content or the content creator. No identifying information will ever be included in any post.
All inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Reading: Atomic habits - James Clear (40%), Can't Hurt Me - David Goggins (5:00:00 remaining), and How to Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan (pg. 304).
Supplemental Engagements: "Helping athletes, coaches and teams grasp with the importance of mental health and wellness" - Counseling Today. This is an interview with Dr. Shaun Tyrance; just the second full time team clinician for the NFL. Dr. Tyrance is in his second year with the Kansas City Chiefs his role covers a range of services including individual therapy, draft prospect evaluation, performance consultant, and mental health resource coordinator for players and staff members of the organization. The Counseling Today article is not online, so here is a link to an announcement by the Chiefs.
Concepts Covered: Transitioning through new work environments and recognizing the strengths of strong companies to diversify sources of validation for employees. Many companies say they value your personal growth and want you to take steps towards development (trainings and workshops) only to make your review all about the bottom line, or your output. Some companies are learning to place equal value on development which can provide great insulation for top performers during challenging quarters. This is hard to do! And takes significant buy-in at all levels of the company.
Also covered were topics of attachment and the fear response that emerges at signs of the attachment being stressed/ distance being sensed. Everyone holds numerous (and distinct) defense mechanisms to prevent experiencing the fear or sadness of the thought of losing our primary attachment. Certain comments made by a partner may remind us of that fear and activate the defenses. This can manifest as striking back, harsh comments, or projecting a sense of how upset they would be without the relationship. Most challenging is to acknowledge our core emotional response (fear of loss of attachment), which is innate and within everyone, and to accept ourselves for wanting to maintain these important connections in our lives. This also relates to our use of ego states chart (to be included in the resources) and tapping exercises that work through layers to get to the core of emotional disruptions.
Future Directions: Covid reflections (approaching one year), how professional sports are integrating mental health and performance psychology to their organizations, and use of performance hypnotherapy.
*Inclusion of materials is not an endorsement of the content or the content creator. No identifying information will ever be included in any post.
All inquiries can be directed to email@example.com
Current Readings; Atomic Habits - James Clear, Can't Hurt Me - David Goggins (Audio), How to Change Your Mind - David Pollan
Supplemental Engagements: Secretariat - ESPN Classic Film and Full Heart - SI long-form article on Secretariat --> This came up in a discussion of sport journalism and is an incredible glimpse at the mystery and power of sport, through one of its greatest figures. Powerful stuff !
MLive article about a MI high school hockey player who recently took their own life. Very sad story, and my heart breaks for the Mona Shores and Michigan hockey community.
Session topics/ activities:
Discussions about self-worth and use of the "cup of self-worth" activity (to be further discussed in the resource page). The importance of self-talk, as well as identifying negative beliefs that appear so that we can immediately counter them with words that are more realistic and grounded in the present. This is a great activity and demonstrates the importance of being our own consistent, reliable source of self-worth as opposed to feeling the need for others to validate us... only to be disappointed when they cannot satisfy the need.
Hypnotherapy for pain management and healing: Two new recordings were completed last week and more scheduled for this week. Topics will focus again on healing and pain management. Activities that promote safe, and adaptive mind-body connection are important when dealing with chronic pain or going through a phase of intense recovery (i.e. surgery). Connecting to the natural healing power of the body and each of its cells can not only improve their function but offer a sense of mental healing as well. This is a challenge with opiates and pain blocking medications ! Though completely necessary, they can complicate the relationship we have with pain and the signals the body is relaying.
Other Mentions/ Grab bag:
Steal Like an Artist - Austin Kleon
Chase Jarvis Blog
Future Potential Topics:
I have a backlog of books and topics that clients have recommended and mentioned ! So I will continue to include them along the way.
"2020 was a turning point" --> Reflections on an important and personal year
History of Marriage
*Inclusion of material in WILIT is not an endorsement of the content or the content creator. No identifying information of clients will be included in any post.
All inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe. Stay home. Be well to yourselves. Be well to others.
The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) provides recommendations for athletes and families as they navigate life changes brought by COVID19.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Tips for Athletes, Coaches, Parents, and the Sport Community
Following the culmination of months of training, a fresh season of professional cycling has sprouted in Europe. Often overshadowed by the pageantry of the warmer Grand Tours, the Spring classics fail to get the coverage and attention they deserve, at least in the eyes of an international market. Travel to the Netherlands, Belgium, or the Italian countryside in March and April, however, and you will find what can truly be considered the "soul of cycling" (referenced in the linked article by Richard Williams).
Although it can be difficult to grasp for the casual American sports fan, introduced to cycling through the fervor "LiveStrong culture", cycling defines heroism, strength, and the opportunity to achieve greatness for many Europeans. Enjoy this article on the recent success of a wolf pack that happens to ride bikes, and appreciate that the best stories sometimes come when our season's begin.
A new coach is announced. The introductory meeting is set. Maybe there is fanfare involved (media roll-out, alumni support) to pump the new hire with credibility and sell them to the eager fanbase. Maybe the goal is for minimal disruption to team activities, and the presence of a new coach is treated as if they have been in charge all along. No matter the circumstance, each individual player is going to react differently to the presence of a new coach, and validating these unique, and personal experiences is essential in successfully managing this difficult period of transition. There are three basic categories that players may fall into, each reflecting different needs and warranting unique approaches from team support staff.
There is a category of players on every team experiencing a coaching change that will mourn, or display a negative emotional response, to the departure of that individual. Perhaps this was a beloved coach. A coach the player personally connected with, and felt supported by. This could also be a coach they have worked with, and developed their love for the game with for many years. There is a deep level of trust that is being replaced by a complete stranger, and can make the player feel unsteady, and guarded moving forward.
In a similar context, the coach may not have been a favorite, but the player may have benefited greatly playing under them. For example, a player who has established status, playing time, and opportunity with a specific coach may view playing for a new staff as a potential demotion, or at best, a lateral move in their career and development.
Lastly, individuals experiencing a negative reaction to a coaching change may simply disagree with the decision to replace the coach. While coaching changes are typically conducted with a sense of "majority support" (meaning the decision makers believe that most of the team is in support of change), there will always exist a group who quietly protests the logic behind a coaching change, and even the subsequent replacement. Because of their desire to "buy in" to team principles, they are rarely vocal about this dissent, and will likely only confide in their closest allies in the locker room.
How do you help "The Down"?
Accept the fact that not everyone will be happy, and that individuals are entitled to disagree with the decisions of their leaders. These are the forces that make democracy an efficient and effective system of government. These principles are no different in competitive team settings. What matters is to validate (by not assuming everyone will "buy in" right away), offer support (through discussion and follow-up), and offer a path forward to those who may have more to say on the topic (clear expectations under the new coaching staff). Except for in rare circumstances, players are not responsible for decisions related to coaching staff. However, the staff is responsible for clearly communicating (including listening) with all players, which starts by meeting them where they are (including those negatively affected). The last thing a team in transition needs is small band of dissenters, who consolidate their shared negativity into a real force of resistance.
Picture this scenario: a player is recently traded to a new team. They spend the first two weeks learning about the new environment, getting to know teammates, and making sure their performance is meeting the expectations made clear through their trade. They are beginning to understand the culture and norms with their new team, but still very much the "new player". Then a coaching change occurs. In this scenario, it is unlikely the player has a strong connection with the outgoing staff, and may not have strong feelings either way on how things are being handled. The overall goal for these individuals is to carry on and get on with the damn season. They may even be put out by how much emotion certain players are displaying, pushing everything to extremes and distracting from the real issue at hand; winning games.
How to help the "neutral":
Again, accept that not everyone will emotionally invested in the same way. Similarly, don't let the loudest voices receive all of the attention ! In a competitive culture where it is very common for the "squeaky wheel to get the grease", a statement letting players know that it's okay if they are in the middle and that you appreciate their patience in going through the process with everyone, can go a long way towards the desired successful transition. Healthy management of the team environment by support staff is most important for this group of "neutral" players, because they are watching closely and making impressions on their teammates, the organization, and the coaching staff. Make sure they do not come away from a coaching transition thinking less of an organization and its members.
Players happy with a coaching change greet the transition with a genuine sense of relief. A weight has been lifted. Optimism is once again in full bloom. For the players unhappy with their previous position on the team (playing time, status, or role), the transition period represents the very rare "clean slate" that can inspire, motivate, and activate players previously dormant under the old "regime".
BE CAREFUL OF GLOATING! It is a natural progression for team members to dissolve into petty gloating over a coach losing their job, and to align with a sense of "victory" over the change, but short-sided mode of coping can have a harmful effect on the team's transition process. While natural to expel frustration and vent emotionally, support staffs must encourage reasonable conversations on the topic, especially in private settings.
The Happy crowd also often finds themselves as the vocal majority in the team setting, as their views most closely align with the potential reasons for a coaching change. Players want to win. The coaching change (may have) occurred based on the desire to win more. Therefore players are in support of the coaching change. This is often the path of least emotional resistance when processing a coaching change, and is a common stance for players to adopt. However, as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, The Happy do not represent every member of the team, and there are multiple perspectives that require equitable attention.
"Singing For Your Supper":
No matter what category a player falls into during a coaching change, they face the challenge of establishing themselves in the eyes of a new leadership structure. No coaching change requires zero change from the participants of the team, and individuals best suited to adapt to the new environment will ultimately be the ones who thrive. Whether reacting to the change with fear (of loss of status or playing time) or excitement (at the potential to earn more), energy must be mobilized effectively in order to offer the player the best opportunity to be successful through and beyond the coaching transition.
- Get your "resume" in order (by being able to answer the following questions):
Who are you as a player?
Can you accurately describe your playing style in a 30 second "elevator speech"?
What are your strengths?
Can you describe your weaknesses and describe what you are doing to work on them?
What value do you add to the team?
Can you display your "body of work"? (Community outreach, academics, leadership, etc.)
New coaches must rapidly form impressions of every player now under their tutelage. They will do this whether or not you provide examples of your strengths and self-awareness. However, as a player beginning to work with a new coach, you do have the ability to shape the narrative and be an active participant in the role you will be eventually asked to play. The alternative? Doing nothing? You are leaving a lot up to chance.
Overall, every player reacts differently to a coaching change. Most important is the validation of those differences and the inclusion of all team voices in the planning and execution of the transition. A team that values individuality and inclusion fosters authenticity and self-actualization, which is the foundational goal of every team. A team that allows players to successfully be themselves, as the best potential for individuals to become the most successful versions of themselves.
Coaching changes come in all shapes and sizes (see Part I). Changes on the bench inevitably have an emotional impact on individual players as well as team dynamics. Taking the necessary time to process the transition can be difficult, especially when the change is sudden or unexpected. But avoiding a formal and facilitated discussion with the players can have disastrous consequences, including the carry over of old problems, strained relationships, and overall ineffective team performance.
Here are a few recommendations/ considerations to processing a coaching change with the players:
1. Hold a meeting.
Make sure every player can attend and that plenty of time is allotted (an hour at the very least). Take into consideration who is allowed to attend this meeting and the impact it may have on the type of discussion that is going to take place. If staff members (either old or new) are in attendance, this my limit the amount of open discussion that actually takes place.
2. Consider who will run the meeting
As mentioned above, if an assistant coach, GM, or staff member facilitates the meeting, there are going to be limitations to how much the group is going to be willing to share and open up. Limiting their ability to process an emotional event can lead to negative team outcomes that can hinder a new coach's successful transition. A qualified member of the team support personnel (sport psychologist, athletic trainer, team doctor), unbiased to player opinions or comments can work very well in these situations. Another consideration would be reaching out to community mental health professionals who have rich experience in running group therapy sessions. This is not to say that the team is going to undergo therapy or has a significant mental health need, but counselors know how to structure insightful sessions that build off the emotional offerings of participants. In a good group session, the facilitator does very little talking, and rather draws comments from the audience.
3. What the meeting might look like
Here are a few recommendations a qualified and trained professional in facilitating group conversations may provide:
- Get the group to circle up (do not run the conversation as a lecture with everyone facing the same direction).
- Establish a clear purpose (report why the meeting is taking place, what is hoped to be accomplished, and how long it is expected to take)
- Set clear expectations and rules (this should be an open conversation in which individuals should feel comfortable sharing. All comments are valid and it is important to allow everyone their chance to speak)
- What is said in the room, stays in the room (to be a part of the group, everyone must verbally agree to protecting those who choose to share. This will help improve the depth of conversation achieved).
- Get everyone to share (opening "rounds" are a great way to open a group: "in a word of a phrase, describe what the past week has been like leading up to the coaching change for you")
- Build bridges (If a player makes an interesting comment, ask if anyone agrees/ disagrees. Ask them to elaborate further)
- Be the referee ! (The facilitator is responsible for controlling the conversation, especially when tensions get high. This does not mean halting a difficult topic of conversation, but rather directing it back to the original stated purpose).
- Avoid "hijackers" (Every team has loud and quiet players. Do not rely on the loudest voices to speak for everyone. Be sure to foster an inclusive environment even if that means avoiding a "loud voice" and seeking out the opinion of a quiet player).
- Stay neutral (The facilitator should remain unbiased and only concerned with helping the group achieve the goals of the meeting, set from the start)
- Avoid vague or close-ended questions (For example, "Raise your hand if you think this has been hard" provides much less information than an open-ended question such as "What is one word you would use to describe the recent coaching change".
Again, it is highly recommended that a trained professional be utilized to run this group session. While it may be possible for a coach or staff member to get the group talking (at length) about how they feel about the coaching change, redirecting the conversation (and the energy of the room) to a productive and collectively beneficial place can be extremely difficult, otherwise known as "sticking the landing". If the group is cracked open emotionally and not properly patched up, they may leave the meeting worse off than they started ! However, if done properly, a meeting discussing the emotional impact of a coaching change can be profound. Players can grieve. They can reestablish support in the room. And most important, they can clear space for the new coach to establish their leadership style on the room.
Overall, the player meeting following a coaching change is essential. There are many voices in a locker room, and it is very important that each is provided a supportive space to discuss an emotional experience. Trained and experienced professionals should be deployed to run the meeting, which may not include members of the coaching staff. Meetings should be organized, questions intentional, and the facilitator should continuously ground the session in the previously established "purpose" of the meeting. Hopefully, a team's goal for the meeting is to come together and enhance the common bond they share, while establishing new goals to embrace the changes. However, if left to their own devices, players may take a myriad of different routes through a coaching change which unfortunately can lead them away from the desired outcome. As will be discussed in my next post, each individual player may take the coaching change differently, and require unique forms of support to help them be successful under the new coach.
It's only December, and the NHL has already seen five head coaching changes (Kings, Blues, Oilers, Blackhawks & Flyers). While that may seem like a lot, it represents only a small percentage of the coaching changes that are currently being navigated this hockey season. In fact, the trickle down effect of those five changes alone have generated a flurry of promotions and role shuffling reaching through minors and into junior hockey. Hockey is a small community, and the ripple effect is felt by all.
A head coaching change can have a major impact on the life-cycle of a team. In fact, for the NHL teams opting for personnel changes, a major change in team dynamics and performance is what is hoped for. A new coach can bring fresh ideas, or inspiring energy that can rejuvenate processes that may have become stagnant. With a new coach, players can seize at the opportunity to play a new role and emerge feel like they are getting a fresh start.
But very little is ever discussed on the true impact of a coaching change. How it is perceive by the players. How the loss of a team's central leadership structure is coped with and rationalized, especially when the terms of the change require more explanation than "the team wasn't getting the job done".
In my next three entries, I am going to discuss the process of a coaching change from the perspective of the players, and how important questions should be asked of the team throughout the process to ensure they come into the change with acceptance, optimism, and without grief, regret, or fear of the unknown. Losing a coach must be seen as much more than a performance decision, and acknowledged as an emotional experience that if handled appropriately, can bring a team closer together.
There are three primary reasons for a coaching change: 1) promotion/ life changes, 2) response to a specific incident, and 3) inevitable change due to poor performance. The first category, "promotion/ life changes", involves a coach that is leaving their team on good terms, and for agreed upon reasons. Perhaps they have the opportunity to coach at a higher level, or have found a situation that better suits their family situation. In these cases, the change may be sudden, but it is not traumatic. Team members view the coach with compassion and collectively grieve the loss of their leader, but quickly accept the circumstances under which they are leaving. Regardless: despite being more acceptable, the coaching change is still an emotional experience, as players may be left with great uncertainty as to who will take over, and what that means for their standing on the team.
The second category of coaching change (response to a specific incident) involves the rapid response and mobilization of a team (or management structure) to replace a coach who has in some way acted inappropriately or has breached the terms of their contract. This category of coaching change moves fast, involves private discussions, and has the potential to drive a significant wedge between members of the team. On one hand, the coach being replaced may have a strong emotional response to the decision, and may attempt to recruit allies in the locker room to advocate for their cause. This can confuse team feelings of unity on the decision to move on. There are also a lot of private discussions happening during this type of change in which players are making their own conclusions based on rumors and hearsay. If kept too much in the dark, players may begin questioning the management structure of the team, eroding confidence in the club itself.
Overall, the sudden removal of a coach should be viewed as a traumatic event. Players should be expected to have thoughts and opinions of the decisions being made, and should be given the opportunity to share those opinions in an appropriate setting. If left unattended, players are left to solidify their own opinions of a dramatic event that inevitably will be projected onto the next coach who is introduced to the locker room. This is a very common occurrence and can delay team growth through already difficult times. (Strategies for leading a team discussion following a sudden coaching change will be discussed in my next post).
The third reason for a coaching change involves the gradual change due to poor performance. The squeeze out. When the writing is on the wall. This category of coaching change usually occurs at the end of a season, or when a significant milestone has been missed (e.g. rivalry games, tournaments, playoffs, etc.). Although occurring due to negative circumstances (akin to category two), this type of coaching change can be met with a sense of relief from the players and the organization. All of the negative emotions and feelings about the season almost seem to be packed up (although momentarily) with the coach as they walk out the door. And while the talent and personnel doesn't necessarily change, optimism towards new possibilities can have an immediate positive impact.
As is the case in all coaching changes, this too is a very emotional experience for players to go through. Although a different style of grieving, the team is still experiencing a loss, and the appropriate discussion at the right time in the correct setting can make a huge difference for when the team does decide to move forward. And given the rapid pace of competitive sports, there might not be much time allotted to process the change before the team is expected to perform again. And it is when these highly emotional events go unprocessed, are not discussed, and no opportunities for healing are provided, that teams experience an extension of the problems they were hoping to rid themselves of through the coaching change in the first place.
In my next post, I will discuss potential solutions to players and teams going through coaching changes that deliver collective optimism and shared direction in times of extreme uncertainty.
ESPN story on Carter Hart
Good things come to those who wait... yet fortune favors the bold. Any goaltender fighting their way through the ranks of elite hockey understands the delicate balance of pushing a career forward versus staying put. Incremental growth has been the norm for decades, and goalies are taught to wait their turn (or for the starter to burn out). And this can be sound advice. Take the goalie who pushes to fast, gets tossed onto a team (or into a league) where they are in over their head. A barrage of pucks in the back of the net can not only damage their confidence and pride, but also their career prospects, and a coach will start looking down the bench for who's next.
But to hold back can be equally damaging. Without challenge, without competition, a goalie can wilt. And without proper coaching, an attempted leap to the next level can be a terrifying endeavor.
But if there aren't enough spots for everyone to be an NHLer and there aren't enough games for everyone to be a starter, what is a goalie to do?
In what the game of hockey lacks in clear starting roles for goaltenders, it provides an endless supply of pucks. There are no shortages in players ready to shoot those pucks, and there isn't a net out there a coach prefers to see empty. And so regardless of your situation, find your net. Find your pucks. Master your approach so that you can get better every single rep. Do a good enough job with that (add a sprinkle of luck), and you'll be tapping the posts of your dreams before you know it.