Coaching Athletes from the Inside Out

Coach Bri: Hi Coach, how are you doing today?

Coach2: Not so good Coach Bri, that’s why I have come to see you!

Coach Bri: Well what seems to be your struggle today?

Coach2: I’m so angry because we didn’t go to the second round of the playoffs and I believe we are a much better team than the team we lost to!

Coach Bri: Well maybe you were but you’re not now!

Coach2: I knew you’d say something like that!

Coach Bri: When did you think things began to derail or go pear-shaped?

Coach2: Well that’s what I’m here to figure out. I really have no idea!

Coach Bri: Okay let my friend I’ve known you for years and you’ve been coaching for years so I don’t but we need to rethink this!

Coach2: That’s why I’m here, I want to understand what happened!

Coach Bri: Okay, when did you start noticing a change on your team or in your team?

Coach2: That’s just it I’ve been racking my head about this and I can’t figure that out!

Coach Bri: Overall the players on your team, who are you most disappointed about or disappointed with?

Coach2: While I really am not sure, there are three or four guys that I don’t think played very well!

Coach Bri: When did you notice this, was it during the playoffs, that series?

Coach2: No, it was the last game of the series in the first round!

Coach Bri: Okay, what happened?

Coach2: It was our final game in the first series, what I remember is one player in particular showed up late. Now I have had many run-ins with this player during the season for his tardiness. I thought I had managed the situation very well and then he does this!

Coach Bri: What is the best you’re referring to?

Coach2: Well he’s always a kid who always pushes the limits on everything and I have to always stay on top of him and he was really playing well for us in the first five games!

Coach Bri: Okay what did you notice?

Coach2: What do you mean what did I notice?

Coach Bri: Hey, this is an old problem it sounds like you’ve done quite a great job with this kid but during the playoffs something happened?

Coach2: His attitude was changing and I knew it!

Coach Bri: So, what did you think when his attitude was changed?

Coach2: Oh shit, I remember thinking I don’t want to upset the apple cart now let’s just get through this round and everything will be okay!

Coach Bri: Now I’m going to ask you this question and I need you to answer it honestly do you think you can do that?

Coach2: Yeah I know what question your going to ask me? Who am I really mad at right?

Coach Bri: Wow, it’s close enough I was going to ask you: who are you choosing to be angry with?

Coach2: Well what you taught me my first response is I’m pissed with the kids but the fact is I’m really angry at myself!

Coach Bri: That is great self-evaluation. Tell me about being angry at yourself.

Coach2: I knew that this kid was having problems. He’s high-maintenance, he’s been a problem all year! But he has also been the player that made the difference all year, we couldn’t have won without out him!

Coach Bri: Are you sure about that?

Coach2: Yes, in those big games he was the one that always came through and set up the winner or scored that game-changing goal!

Coach Bri: Ok, so what have you learned?

Coach2: I think I made the choice to stop coaching him! Now I am angry because he knew it, I know it and I even think the team knew it!

Coach Bri: So what tells you that?

Coach2: I know I dropped the ball because that day he came in the dressing room the 2nd game of playoff I knew something was going on in him! And I didn’t do what I normally do was pull him out after the game and find out what it was!

Coach Bri: So, what were you thinking about?

Coach2: Just Winning!!!!

Coach Bri: So, what do you think the message was that you sent to him?

Coach2: Well winning matters more than him! But it does, doesn’t it!?

Coach Bri: I’m sorry I can’t answer that question for you! But I can ask if you were to do something different what would you have changed?

Coach2: I know where this is leading but I have a right to coach the way I want?

Coach Bri: You sure do! But what has happened on this team when you have used internal psychology with them and removed all the external control habits?

Coach2: Why am I pissed right now? I just want to say screw this I hate coaching and quit!

Coach Bri: Well isn’t that what you did? In some sense anyway?

Coach2: Yes, I know your right!

Coach Bri: Hey, I don’t want to be right coach! We are in this together. We started something with this team and you are and I were excited about it, and so were a lot of people. You did a great job but you know and I know that wasn’t enough!

Coach2: I get that! I’m just thinking how throughout the year you have been talking to me about quality and building an environment where they get it’s safe, and we care about one another and in a flash it can all come tumbling down, like a house of cards!

Coach Bri: Yes, but what would you have done different?

Coach2: Another thing that I am pissed about is the captain of the team asked me if I want him to talk to him. Then I said no! I told him I would and I didn’t. So I lied to him!

Coach Bri: Yes you did. Why ?

Coach2: Because I was afraid to upset the hockey Gods. No really, it was because I thought that addressing it wouldn’t be the right thing to do at this stage! You know winning and all!

Coach Bri: Can I ask you a question?

Coach2: Sure, but I am worried about what it is!

Coach Bri: What has been the main thing you have being working on all year with this team?

Coach2: Making sure we, in all situations, define quality and work towards it!

Coach Bri: Ok, so now you are telling me that if you were managing a company and you have this product it has taken you all year to turn it into a quality product but the day you are putting it on the market you notice a major flaw, you launch it anyway! And hope for the best!

Coach2: I wouldn’t have a job long if I did that! I get your point!!

Coach Bri: So what  would you have done different?

Coach2: Why do you keep coming back to that damn question?

Coach Bri: I can ask it another way? What did this situation teach you?

Coach2: Well, it taught me a lot of things. It reinforces how important environment is-all the time, it tells me about constant improvement, it tells me about taking responsibility for what I do, and the importance of relationships in all situations no matter what!

Coach Bri: That’s fantastic my friend, we have come a long way!

Coach2: I think I need to go back and do some more training. This stuff is a lot deeper than I thought. There seems to be all kinds of layers to this internal psychology.

Coach Bri: Yes Coach, we’ve scratched the surface!

Coach2: Thanks so much for your help Coach Bri. I like the fact that I can always be authentic and pull out the bullshit with you. This sure is challenging!

Coach Bri: Yes, but you love it! It’s all about the quality of the relationships.

Coach2: Touché

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