coachbri I am in a difficult place full of anxiety, I can’t seem to get my mind out of this negative thought process can you help?

January 27, 2014


When you see that your mind is fragmented and it is always looking for new angles and new things to think up, your mind will continue to be out-of-control. You yourself must take full responsibility for your own internal life. What is the difference to be preoccupied with one problem of sex or another problem of whether you love Your girlfriend or whether you want to your sport  or thinking you’re a turnup. The whole futility of existence is created by thinking, thought moving in any direction is pointless and self-centered but it is the only thing that thought knows to do. This is the prison in which you are caught. The only way out of the prison is to see that trying to get out of the prison is the problem. To understand that you are the maker of the prison in which you yourself are caught is awareness that awareness is the ending of the prison. Most people believe they are their thinking process they identify who they are with their thoughts. Obviously you are not your thinking process just because you think you are Wayne Gretzky that doesn’t make you Wayne Gretzky. Thinking is always cunning and clever.  If I told you to stop thinking about pink elephants right away the only thing you would be thinking about is pink elephants. Thinking has it’s place only in technological matters and solving technological problems. The fact that thought is always chattering shows us that we have no space inside ourselves to understand ourselves and  in a confused state. Thought has built the prison of it’s own making called the self. That self is the accumulation of experience memory and knowledge stored in the brain that is always active and moving. Whenever one pays full attention to the thinking process without trying to change thinking slows down and will stop. Please do not take my word for it, try it and sees what happens. In the observation of thought, thought stops! To listen profoundly to what thought is doing and at the same time be aware of what is happening outside of you is the beginning of meditation. That meditation is the actuality of being present to what is happening within and without. You cannot practice this because any practice of this is just an action of thought to keep itself active, and the root to all of our problems. The art of awareness is to constantly be attentive to the fact that you are not aware, so that every thought as it arises is seen for what it is it’s origin it’s flowering and conclusion. Only when is the brain quiet so that the mind can act. That mind is not a personal mind, that mine is universal uncontaminated by the thinking process available to everyone. Very few people are interested in all this because they have to give up all of their assumptions and beliefs to discover a single truth. That anything thought creates is disorderly when it is outside the field of technology.

Athlete’s Workshop in Kelowna

March 4, 2012

Denver Post Article on CoachBri

March 4, 2012


Avs’ Ryan O’Reilly finds success through creativity

POSTED:   02/15/2012 01:00:00 AM MST

By Adrian Dater
The Denver Post

Ryan O’Reilly, center, found consistent success after asking his father, Brian, for some life lessons. John Leyba, The Denver Post

When Ryan O’Reilly is performing his job as a hockey player, three tasks are foremost in his mind.

The first: Breathe, master the breath. Second: Think, master the thought. Third: Use the first two to master the “creative situation.”

If that sounds a little too touchy-feely, O’Reilly couldn’t care less. He is having too much success in this, his third NHL season, to doubt the mind-body methods his father, Brian — a “high performance” life coach — helped reinforce in him last summer.

O’Reilly, 21, is the Avalanche’s leading scorer (15 goals, 26 assists) and has been their best player this season. His performance has taken a quantum leap from his first two seasons, during which he had plenty of good moments but never found that consistent high level. Many in the game believe he will receive consideration for the Frank J. Selke Award honoring the best defensive forward.

O’Reilly credits his growth to last summer when he went to his father and asked, “What do I have to do to get a lot better?”

“I didn’t want to be known as just a defensive player, a third-line checking guy,” O’Reilly said. “I started to learn how to be more creative, to have that confidence in myself and to enjoy being creative with the puck and having the puck.”

To Brian O’Reilly, who works with people from all walks of life at his company, Human Potential Plus in Ontario, getting into the “creative zone” is contingent not just on the individual self. To really succeed, in any aspect of life and be truly happy, he said, a person must relate well to others.

“The No. 1 thing I believe in is relationships,” he said in a phone interview. “What I do is I create a group in the summer, and I show people how their relationships will determine their creative system. When you’re in the doghouse with your wife, your life becomes full of misery.

“What happens is, you are at the effect of being away from the person you love the most. What I do

is, I go in and I teach them that self-evaluation is one of the only tools we have that creates a level of effectiveness to be able to get into our creative system. What so many people who are miserable do is, they go and evaluate other people and make it worse.”

In other words, they pass the buck for failure.

The key, he said, is working harder with teammates, or your boss, or your spouse, to understand what you can do to make things better. In pro sports, Brian O’Reilly is frustrated by what he sees as too much of a finger-pointing culture in which players operate out of fear and coaches and general managers fail to create a culture of accountability so that growth can occur.

“It takes a very serious coach or GM to realize the environment is everything,” said Brian O’Reilly, 47. “It’s not what we do, it’s how we do what we do. When they see you have their best interests in mind, they will give what you want. You can’t buy their creativity and their passion. Coaches are shooting themselves in the foot all the time because there is less accountability in an adversarial relationship, because everyone is passing the buck.”

When player’s or other person’s needs are met — through caring teammates, friends, family — only then can he get into his true “creative zone” and prosper, he said.

Brian O’Reilly never wanted to be a pushy father, but when his son came asking for help last summer, his first command was: “Don’t give me what you’re good at. Find your weakness, and let’s exploit it. Then let’s make the mental and physical connections and be accountable for our weaknesses.”

Ryan said he learned how to calm down in the moment, especially when carrying the puck in traffic.

“Your breath becomes shallower. You’re more calm,” he said. “You learn that there’s a real knack for remaining calm. I think when I got the puck before, I would panic with it and make stupid mistakes.”

O’Reilly grew up with many foster kids at his house, as his parents worked in social care. Building relationships with others came easily to him as a result, and that explains why he is hugely popular with teammates and considered a likely captain someday.

“He’s still so young, but he’s way more mature than his years,” Avs center Paul Stastny said. “He’s just getting better and better, playing the way he wants to now.”

Brian O’Reilly said he watches most of his son’s games. An older son, Cal, plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brian remains reluctant to offer any life coaching help unless his sons ask.

“After a win is only when (Ryan) will call,” Brian said. “After a loss, he’s too mad. He’s hard on himself, but kind. I love that about my kids. They’re kind. I couldn’t care less about whether he plays hockey or not. When you hold them accountable with love, they realize what they do matters.”

Adrian Dater: 303-954-1360 or

Read more:Avs’ Ryan O’Reilly finds success through creativity – The Denver Post
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Boot Camp 2012

February 27, 2012



























Mental Training by Rich VanHuizen

December 30, 2011

I am customizing my personal mental training program…
This is what I just wrote to start my rough copy:

20 minutes per day

To be fully prepared for the moment when it comes, so that when the moment comes, there is no reaction; there is only the natural response.
Mindful to always respond with awareness: to be fully in tune with the things around me.

Then I began to think of the moments that I’ve had with significant people in my life such as relationships, past and current teammates, and Brian O’Reilly.
Brian was my coach when I started to make a big transition in my life.  When I began to look at things through a different lens.
The rough copy of my mental training program above reflects this transition that began in 2004.

Brian and I have studied the brain and relationships, we’ve also done workshops and role-plays.  The most impactful thing that I’ve learned through all of our moments together is the value of being prepared.

When I am un-loving, I am not preparing.  If I am not constantly watching myself and my own behaviours (preparing), I will be mean to the people around me.  When I am mean to the people around me I am not realizing that my unpreparedness shows itself when the shit hits the fan.  When I am unloving (gossiping about, criticizing, judging) and that person calls me out on it, I look like a fool.  I look like a fool because the truth revealed itself and the truth is that the damage to the relationship is my doing.

When I live my life prepared, I am constantly watching myself.  I am constantly responding to situations.  For instance, if I see an injustice, I speak up and share my truth about it.  I am constantly doing this when I see the value of being prepared.  Then, when the shit hits the fan, the truth, once again, reveals itself.

This way of living is extremely rewarding.
I often fail to live this way because I think that living this way is draining.  To be prepared to address every drama and injustice in your life each and every moment seems like a heavy task.  It seems draining.  Yet, when you do it, when I do it, we notice how energizing it is.  How energizing and rewarding it is to constantly speak the truth!!  Yet I am lazy.  My preparedness falls away because I simply blame others for my unhappiness.
What does preparedness look like to me?  Committing each day to bring an expectation to speak the truth with love in every moment.

I’d like to share how this life training has impacted my daily life.
I am in teacher’s college.  In my Grade 6 practicum placement I decided to use the community circle as a teaching tool (a community circle is where you move the desks out of the way and make a circle with the students and my chair, I am just one of 28).  I use the circle most often when I sense that there is a shift in energy in the classroom and there is unhappiness in the group.  We get in the circle and we just talk.  I do my best to build an environment in which the kids feel safe to say whatever they want.  I do this with my demeanor and by being honest myself.  I talk about what I’ve noticed in the classroom (such as bullying), and then I share how I have been a bully to a particular person in the past week or that day and I share the story of what happened.  I share what I did wrong, why I did it, and how I wish I had handled it.  The presence of honesty is so natural and so relieving to the kids that it simply and naturally paves the way for incredibly honest conversations.  The kids open right up and share and share and share and it does incredible things to the level of trust in the classroom.

I couldn’t do this if I wasn’t prepared.  I couldn’t do this if, when students in my classroom are disruptive, I shut them down and used anger to deal with my ineffectiveness as a teacher (aren’t they being disruptive because the teacher is b-o-r-i-n-g?  When was the last time you sat through a conference or a workshop for your job that was boring and you chose to sit quietly and attentively?  We expect our kids to do that from 9:00 to 3:30 every day? I digress).  I couldn’t do this if I wasn’t aware and awake to the needs of all of my kids every day.  If I didn’t pay close attention to the mood of my students and the things they said to each other and the feelings of loneliness and pain that my students had.  I couldn’t do this if teaching was simply a means to tell the kids what they needed to hear to meet my curriculum expectations and get a paycheck.  Having these types of rewarding conversations with my students in the community circle began with having individual community circles with my students in the hallway, on the playground, while helping them with their work, while listening to why their homework isn’t done.  It began with being prepared – prepared every day to respond to situations and speak to injustices.

When I am effectively doing this what am I doing?  Choosing love over judgment in each moment.  This requires preparation.

Rich VanHuizen
Beach Volleyball

Coaching (Motivation, Punishment and Rewards) – External Control and the Poisoning of Team Culture

October 17, 2011

I often receive calls from coaches who, after being exposed to a workshop I have given or coaching with me, come to a point where they are pulling their hair out trying to either motivate some athlete or they can’t understand how players can be so individualistic and self-centered and choose not to play as a team.  What we don’t understand as coaches is how deeply we and the players are entrenched in the world’s psychology of external control. This psychology is the psychology of having power over other people as a means to cover up one’s deep personal insecurity. All throughout history, having power over other people has put humankind in a perpetual state of conflict and war.  External psychology, the hub of human misery in coaching, damages the team culture by slowly or sometimes quickly eroding the relationships between coach and players or players and teammates.

In any successful endeavor that human beings tackle, the ease and effectiveness of learning and succeeding is based on how well the people doing this endeavor get along. Players learn how to play together in supportive, caring environments at a rate that is ten times greater than in environments where coaches play head games, power trips, punish for poor performance, or reward for good performance.  This sounds strange in any culture to people who are external psychology people. They are lost when you tell them that honesty is the best policy, something they have known and have heard instinctively but is seldom practiced in their life. The exception would be for relationships in their lives that are very important to them where they tend to be more honest with themselves and the other person. Punishment is so ingrained into our psychology that whenever we don’t achieve what we want from ourselves or another person, we punish. If punishment were a method to correct behavior, our criminal institutions would be empty. But in fact most are full of repeat offenders.

Coaches have always asked me, without “bag skating” or doing “suicides” or other forms of punishment, how do you get a team to cooperate and play together?  When I ask them what they are doing now, they say the same thing they have been doing for years – bag skating (a horrible term for skating people to exhaustion), suicides (a horrible term for getting players to run till exhaustion), taking away their playing time (taking away the thing they love) – it makes no sense whatsoever.

Most GMs, except for a few, practice nothing but external control psychology on the coach because the common practice to achieve quality is misunderstood by most people trying to develop it. So coaches are often rewarded with bonuses for wins, which means that most people love the reward but hate the rewarder. Motivation is often very low for people you dislike. An external control coaching style often dangles carrots or gives incentives that destroy team culture because they often pit people against each other creating external pressure.  Most people feel this external pressure any time you feel that someone is trying to get you to care about something you don’t care about or see the value in. Then things become adversarial and one or both people practice the habits of external psychology.  These habits are always in the forefront of our minds because they are so well learned and we think they are part of our human nature. But they aren’t.

Below are descriptions of the habits in order to show you what I mean. Often when people get frustrated by other people they do one of the following external psychology habits. Remember these are well learned, not our nature.

1. Criticism. When you criticize another person you harm the relationship. This is the main habit that kills team culture.

2. Humiliation. Coaches often use this to center a person out and use them as an example. When teams use hazing as a means to build a team and you hear other athletes say that it does no harm and everyone goes through it, or “I made it through it!”, obviously they didn’t. If you asked them, “Well, why not haze in your family then, to increase your family bonding?”, Children’s Aid would take the children and they wouldn’t be allowed to parent. No loving parent that I know would willingly want his or her child to be humiliated.

3. Guilting. Coaches and parents often use this as a means to control the athlete or child and the damage it does it sets in motion the process of head games and the cycle of doubt, which destroys players’ and children’s confidence in themselves and others, which is one of the building blocks of trust.

4. Punishing or rewarding to control. This habit more the any other confuses the issue of how to get people to self-evaluate. Punishing allows and excuses the undesirable behavior because the person punished thinks, “Now that I have been punished, things are over and I don’t have to look any deeper at my behavior or take any responsibility for my attitude and effect on the team”. When the person gets a reward the same effect is created in a different way. It still becomes all about me and achieving my short-term goals and less about the how I achieve them. Therefore the person rewarded thinks “I can do a lot of damage and hurt the culture but I get the reward so I did what you asked so we are even, so go work on someone else”. Any time we focus on the outcome without deepening our understanding of the process, we move away from strengthening the culture.

5. Blaming. This external psychology habit is so pervasive in our culture we often don’t catch ourselves doing it. This is the habit shown when shit happens and players look at others or external things in the environment to excuse their poor behavioral performance. Coaches often use this habit in ways that blame player or bad calls by referees and don’t see how blaming anyone but himself or herself is acceptable. Blame is always about evaluating something you have no control over and therefore futile. Blame is an action that takes the pressure off in a way that harms the relationships and kills trust and collective responsibility. For a team to be a team, blame must be removed and when shit happens we all must see our part in it through self-evaluation. Blame is about evaluating others therefore killing the process of learning. Players that can learn a lot can perform better as a team than players who can’t learn.

6. Threatening. This is a habit that forces people to become defensive and instills fear. Fear is a quick motivator but a cultural cancer. It will only last a short time then the coach or GM places the player or coach’s job on the line and greater damage is done because when you attack a person’s livelihood you are messing with their means to survive and therefore strengthening fear.  Fear based environments create aggressiveness – not towards the other team but the players, coaches, and GMs that turn on each other.

I challenge any team at any level to learn internal psychology, teach it to your whole organization and within four years you will have not only a winning program but a team that is a contender for the cup on a regular basis.


Sport Testing Hockey Combine

June 21, 2011

hockey combine sm

My name is Brian O’Reilly. I am a high performance coach.  I have been working with athletes and teams all over the world and I am sick of the travel so I have dropped Europe and Australia and have been working closer to home, the U.Ss and of course Varna in Huron County. What I have been establishing over the last five years in the GTHL, OHL and in Varna is developing the total athlete program from the physical side to the mental toughness side (focus, behavior under pressure and practice and game prep as well as recovery from injuries, mastering emotional states, visualization and training character development, which helps athletes take the lesson they learn in a sport and transfer them over to life lessons).

I am now at the point of working with the Alliance in developing a high performance identification program which shall be introduced this season. I am holding the first hockey combine in Goderich during the first week of my Hockey Boot Camp, which is made up of players from A to AAA, NCAA, ECHL, RHL, AHL, and NHL players. I have worked as a National team coach for five years on the world tour and am a NCCP Level 3 coach. Over the past five years I have worked for the National Coaching Institute, under the direction of Andy Higgins, teaching internal psychology and motivation to Level 4 and 5 coaches. This On Ice  Hockey Combine is the first step in getting kids tested in the strict elements specific to hockey, and to start a database to see how we compare provincially as well as nationally. Please look at the image above and let your kids know about it. I will make all the results available to you.

If we don’t measure ourselves we are just guessing.!

Register here:

Hope to see you there! Bri

Hockey Boot Camp

April 5, 2011




At the Draft

September 29, 2009

It was a gentle rain that grew more intense in the strong breeze. It was like seeing the wind as it moved. It came in waves and would crash against the large stone house and cars in its driveway. The birds would all be very quiet and would start up again as the wind subsided. It all seemed like a symphony – the wind, the rain beating down on the metal cars, the birds chattering, and noise of water rushing off the roof into the large puddles that formed around the house. The trees seem to delight in the shower of rain that washed all the dust of the past days, allowing them to breathe fresh again. The bounty of the earth’s lessons speaks to us if we listen to her. But few are interested! Like the rain that washes away the dirt I wonder what will allow man to wash away his self-interest. It is our self-interest that seems to destroy everything.

There were lot of people; the energy of excitement was there. This energy of excitement comes when we as human beings identify our self with the things of thinking. It is not the energy of human beings connecting or people coming together for a noble cause. In the Bell Center there was a full gamut of energy. The energy was of people that were happy about their son being chosen and the energy of nerves and worry about not being chosen. It seemed for most of the young men it was a series of tense moments collapsing into themselves in a feeling of rejection and hurt. Then, when their names were called, elation and congratulations of hugs and kisses. As the day went on people grew impatient and small conflicts arose that soured the event. The crowd attached to their sport team often booed and cat-called other teams, making it almost impossible to hear what was being said over the PA system. We are so well trained to be competitive to allow people from the outside to judge us and we compare our self to another. It this self-centered process that reinforces the images we have of our self and the other. All comparison leads to disconnection and conflict. To compare human beings is to set self-centered criteria in place and fulfill it demands to meet ones own idea or ideal.

Coach bri

Taking the Side of the Marriage

August 22, 2009

It was a cool summer evening, the clouds and the rain had moved on. The earth was fresh and had the poignant smell of freshly spread manure. The true strength of the smell was held back by the stillness of the gentle and inconsistent breeze. The earth was full of moisture by the heavy rains of the past few days. One’s footsteps felt the sponginess of the soaked ground. The little wood cabin held many shades of grey and brown as the last light of the day grazed it. We sat in silence for some time, watching the sun set through the small window. The cabin seemed to take on its own serenity as the evening sky appeared.

It is very quiet here, she began.

Her husband answered: Yes, the wood holds the sound out.

Well how do you know that? she replied abruptly. I am talking about the inside, in here and like always, you have answer to everything.

Well I am just trying to make conversation! This guy hasn’t asked us one question yet!

Well why don’t you ask him one then? she replied abruptly.

For Christ sake, Kay do we even have to fight here?

You see Brian, if it is not his way then it is a fight! I can’t do anything or say anything because I am wrong or his fibromyalgia starts acting up.

Oh so now we are on that again! I’m sorry I have an illness. I can’t figure it out and I am not using it to control you! Well now you see what we do to each other? She is angry all the time and I’m tired of fighting. I have never won a fight with her, ever, in our 16 years of marriage. I have many emotional scars.

This is 18 years dear, just so you know!!!

Okay, 18. Sorry I lost a couple; maybe I wish it was 16! Two years less hell.

Well I’m not keeping you here. You can leave anytime.

You see what I mean! She is such a bitch!!! Why don’t you jump in here? We are paying you to help us and you just sit there!

I’m helping you! And you’re helping me!

How are you helping us? And how are we helping you? I don’t get it.

Well you have been here for about how long now?

I would say about a half hour.

Okay and how long have you been criticizing and venting about each other?

About 30 minutes.

Okay I agree with you! 30 minutes at 80 dollars per hour, so I have made 40 dollars so far. And how do you feel now?

Well I feel better! He probably feels better too but he won’t admit it.

I do feel better but this kind of feels a little messed up.

What does?

Well us paying you for something we can do anyway.

Yes, good, and how is that working for you?

I know it’s not working and that is why I, I mean we, are here.
And how are you helping us!

I will tell you! When you guys are arguing what are you waiting for me to do, or what is your intention?

I want to show you how controlling he is!

And you Tom?

Well I guess for you to see her supreme bitch mode!

Right, I guessed that, so you want me to take sides? Okay I’m going to do that now! I’m going to take the side of your marriage. And so far I think neither of you have done that in some time.

That’s for sure! I know I haven’t. I think Kay has.

Great, then I was wrong and I’m glad I’m wrong! I would like to know when Tom thinks I have because I would agree with you – I don’t feel I have in a long time.

You just have. I know you put up with me a lot my illness and all. I’m a pain in the ass!

What do feel about that Kay?

I think he is playing me and you!

Kay, I asked you how you felt and you gave me how you think. Could you please answer how you feel about it!

About what?

About him being a pain and you putting up with him!

I feel sad, okay? (Tears flooded her eyes, Tom reached for her and she pulled away.)

Okay thank you, you feel sad. Can I ask why?

Can I think now? Or do I have to feel?

Whichever. It is up to you!

Ever since Tom’s father died and his brother took over the business, Tom got sick, our best friend moved away. Tom hasn’t been the same.

Just Tom?

Okay I haven’t been happy either. Tom is just worried all the time and his brother, who got the company because he is older, doesn’t know what the hell he is doing and Tom won’t stick up for himself.

What do you say to that Tom?

He is my older brother, he is family but he doesn’t know what he is doing. My Dad gave the company to him and me but my brother is, well he just…..

An asshole! Christ Tom, just say it! He and his wife lost their company and they are going to lose this one if they keep going in the same direction.

We won’t lose it!

Tom, can I ask you a question? When did your life start to fall apart?

About 14 months ago when my brother made some bad decisions and I realized he real doesn’t get the business.

No it wasn’t Tom. I can remember you being in pain after you found out that your father had changed the will before he died. Tom, remember you came home from the hospital all upset the next day and you couldn’t get out of bed? For the next two weeks you had the flu and you were throwing up daily.

Yes I forgot all that!

Well, when did you get the diagnosis of fibromyalgia?

That was 14 months ago and that was me taking him to the doctor because he couldn’t walk and was in pain all over. Everything hurt!

Tom, what if this illness is self-induced?

I would be happy because living this way is hell!

Tom, have you had any relief in the 14 months?

About three weeks, strange enough.

What happened in those three weeks?

Well the first week I changed my diet completely. We were away for about ten days and I ate a lot of fruit. The other time is when my brother was away on vacation.

Who was in charge when he was away?

It was a joke. He called a meeting and put his assistant in charge.

What’s the joke?

The assistant was my dad’s assistant and she just came to me and we did business as usual.

Can I ask you something? And I really need you to be exact. When he called you into the meeting and told you the assistant was in charge, what did you do?

Nothing. I was fine with it I think.

Bullshit Tom. You called me and you had another attack and I had to come and get you. You were throwing up in the bathroom.

I guess I forgot all that!

Tom, do you want to know what I think?

I see what you’re getting at! You may be right! But why would my body do that to me?

Because you’re now happy and improving but when you don’t listen to your unhappiness it goes under ground and can affect your whole nervous system.

So you’re telling Tom what I have been telling him – to stand up for himself with his brother and grow some balls here!

No Kay, I am suggesting to Tom that he may be choosing this illness because he is having difficulty dealing with his brother, the death of his father, and his troubled marriage.

So I’m not crazy?

No, I’d say more disappointed and hurt!

I have been seeing this shrink and he is telling me that I have a chemical problem and he wants me to go on drugs for depression. He thinks I may be bipolar.

Tom, most of these shrinks have very little idea as to what they are doing. There are some good ones but they don’t buy into their own profession.

You know, when I think of my brother I get so angry!

So angry you make yourself sick?

I think you’re right! Pretty dumb!

No! I think you feel powerless and your relationship with him is hurt too.

We used to be really good friends!

I’m sure you were and that’s why it hurts even more!
Can you come and see me again next week!

I will for sure!

Well how about our marriage? I’m not putting up with this much longer!

Kay, how do you feel about this session today?

I think it was good for Tom! But we have to fix our marriage.

I agree. Will you give me some time Kay? I feel your hunches about Tom are correct. He’s got a good wife here and I don’t think he wants to lose her!

We’ll be back.

Thanks. See you next week.

But what happens if he has another attack!

Just support him through it and be positive. Trust me!
He might not even have one!

Okay, okay.

Thanks Kay.

Coach bri