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November 30, 2015

Reality Distortion Field – More Coach Hypnosis (for Parents too!)

Like many of you, I have been entertained by the reaction of the hockey world to what I have to say about coach hypnosis, selling yourself, and how to get more ice time. I find it very amusing that so many people are so resistant to the ideas, even though it isn’t very surprising. Based on the reaction to my previous articles, most of you (60%) will find my contrarian opinion intellectually entertaining, and about 5% of your will find this article truly helpful. Another 35% of you will find this article offensive and you will barely be able to articulate why you are angry at it. If you don’t like those percentages, I’d suggest you stop reading.

In my past articles, I have not downplayed the importance of skill development or improving yourself. In fact, I am a skill and development coach myself, concerned with producing explosive improvements in physical, skill, and tactical ability. But when my tactically physically, and skillfully advanced players are not getting recognized for their improvements, I asked ‘why’. It became apparent that the way they dealt with their coach left their playing time up to the whims of the coach on that day. As a player who mostly enjoyed ample amounts of ice time throughout my career, I was not prepared for situations where I wasn’t given what I wanted. I learned afterwards that you can actively manage your coach to get more of what you want, and less randomness.

I have provided strategies for managing your coach with things like: asking the right questions, establishing a good relationship, and getting into their heads.

Here is yet another…eye contact.

Before you go and roll your eyes (haha) at me…actually go ahead and roll your eyes (keep them warm).

The number one thing I hate as a coach is when players do not look at me when I’m talking. It isn’t an ego thing, it’s just a frustration thing. “I’m talking, why aren’t you listening?” is what is going on in my head when I see you not looking at me.

The interesting thing is that if you go to any major junior or Junior A practice, you will see all the players giving their coach good eye contact when the coach is talking. Presumably all the players with poor eye contact didn’t make it that level or learned to give good eye contact before they made it there.

So we know that eye contact is a trait of higher level players. Can you super charge your eye contact with coaches to improve your relationship with them?

Check out this quote from Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” on the toughest teacher in his school:

What I did, basically, was to convey that I respected his authority, but that he didn’t intimidate me. It was a delicate balance. Like so many strong guys, Dobias had a tendency to go for the jugular if he smelled weakness. On the other hand, if he sensed strength but you didn’t try to undermine him, he treated you like a man. From the time I figured that out – and it was more an instinct than a conscious thought – we got along great.

What is going on here? Donald massaged his teacher’s ego, while demonstrating strength. This is a tough thing for you to do as a young hockey player, but there is one way to do that…without saying anything at all: become a master of eye contact.

I once had a coach who said he could tell if players were ready by looking at their “eyeballs”. Likewise, I can tell when a player is confident by looking at their “eyeballs” – or at least I assume that I can tell when a player is confident, which is just as valid if I’m going to make a decision based on that fact. When I think a player is confident, I am more likely to play them. Simple as that. My coach who studied “eyeballs” said the same thing. So now does it make sense for you to work on your eye contact? What if you could convey even more confidence by tweaking and improving your eye contact? What would that do for your ice time? What would that do over the long run for your career?

Here is an article on learning to generate eye contact so strong and powerful that it is deemed the Reality Distortion Field.

Image from Huffington Post

Master of the Reality Distortion Field: Steve Jobs- Image from Huffington Post

Central to the article is: #1 awareness of eye contact and #2 practicing it.

For parents too:

I do not purposefully play favourites. I am not purposefully vindictive to players because their parents were douchebags to me. But I’ll also tell you that this equation does NOT play in my head: that parent let me know they’re pissed off at me=I’m going to play their kid more.

I am more apt to pay attention to and help their kid develop if they were pleasant, calm and demonstrated confidence to me. Shifty, nervous parents make me shifty and nervous. Unless demonstrated otherwise, I’ll assume that their kids are the same way. Not because I’m shallow, but because that’s the cognitive bias that affects me. My guess is that even though no other coach will tell you this, they share this bias too…they just might not admit it. So for parents, it is to manage your demeanour with coaches to portray calmness and confidence. A good way to make to do this is mastering eye contact.

So if you imagine that mastering eye contact can improve how your coach perceives and likes you, you might consider it a soft skill to work on. Remember that you can’t realistically practice hockey 9 hours a day, and you’re going to spend at least some time interacting with people in your day, so you may as well use that time to upgrade your eye contact, and improve how your coach views you, to get more ice time, and to play more hockey!

Read this article. Study it. Apply the key takeaways. These 5-10 minutes might make a big difference in how your coach perceives you. And we know from self-fulfilling prophecies that getting a perceived edge can lead to a real edge.

-Jason

If you want more uncommon advice, check out my free tools.

 

November 26, 2015

Can you wheel girls and hypnotize your coach with the same methods?

Can you wheel girls and hypnotize your coach with the same method?

This is a question I’m asking. I don’t know the answer. But I have some guesses.

If you’ve been reading my recent work, you’ll know that I’ve developed a small obsession with the psychology of persuasion, influence and hypnosis. You might also know that I’ve been following Scott Adam’s (trained hypnotist and famous Dilbert cartoon creator) analysis of Donald Trump as a Master Persuader.

In short, he says that the world of logic and reason is the world that most people pretend to care about. He calls this the two-dimensional world. However, he says that while most people pretend to care about the two-dimensional world, there is actually a third dimension of emotion and influence that most of our decisions play out on.

Think Apple. The MacBook Air that I’m typing on right now is inferior and more expensive than other PC models out there. Yet, I’m typing on my MacBook Air, and I love it. Why? I’ve been trained to love it. At some point, my brain was influenced to move heaven and earth to go and buy an Apple computer.

Think Trump. As Scott Adams says, in terms of logic and reason, the guy says and does senseless things. But his numbers keep going up! On a third dimension of persuasion and emotion, Trump is dominating the game.

If you’re still with me, you might be wondering what exactly that third dimension is. This is the third dimension that the game of influence and persuasion play out on.

How can this affect your hockey career?

Well, there’s always that unexplainable player who continues to make teams or get paid a ton of money, but doesn’t logically belong there

Think Dion Phaneuf. I don’t think it is a far stretch to say that most people hate the guy – as a player and as a person. Yet, he’s playing in the NHL and in a relationship with Elisha Cuthbert, whom I absolutely adored on Popular Mechanics for Kids. He’s also making a cool seven figures per year. On top of all this, he has some of the worse advanced statistics in the NHL! (That might have changed and is bound to fluctuate – but that is the impression I was left with. Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

You can probably imagine a player who shouldn’t have logically made a team, but did. Or you can probably imagine a player who shouldn’t logically play as much as they do, but they get tons of ice time. I’m suggesting that on the third dimension of persuasion and influence, something else is playing out.

You might also imagine a friend who always happened to be good with the ladies. He always had the girls hanging around him and wanting him. On the level of looks, money and success (2nd dimension) he’s on the same level as you and your other friends. But on the 3rd dimension, he’s able to persuade and influence at a higher level than you and your other friends.

What skills do you need to participate and win in the 3rd dimension? What will that do for you right now?

Well, for one, you might find more doors opening for you – you might start getting more opportunities to play. You might find yourself getting more ice time. You might start making more meaningful connections with your teammates. You might also find more success “wheeling”.

I’m not suggesting that skills in the 3rd dimension can replace legitimate hockey skill for you as a hockey player or money & good looks as a amorous pursuer… but if you combine 2nd dimension skills and 3rd dimension skills, you may super charge your progress. You may find yourself getting more of what you want.

Here are some basics of the 3rd dimension that are commonly doled out to hockey players at large:

  • “Character”. When players demonstrate “good character”, they are more likeable to their coaches and teammates. Likability leads more favorable impressions and thus more favorable opportunities.
  • “Listen to your coach” or give the impression of listening to your coach. Coaches like this. It feeds their ego. They’ll reward players who feed their ego.
  • “Never show them you’re tired” or pretend you aren’t tired. Body language gives a strong message about you as a person and as a player. Manipulating your body language to demonstrate confidence and competence may lead to others perceiving you in that way.

Basics right?

Can these basics be translated to “wheeling” girls? Yes.

  • “Character” or chivalry or “is he a good guy?”. Likability is obviously important for wheeling.
  • Girls love it when you listen. (Took me a while to figure this one out and STFU)
  • Never show you’re nervous. Demonstrate confidence with your body language and girls think you’re a confident guy.

My point with all of this is that principles of persuasion, influence and hypnosis can be applied across different scenarios…if you know how to use them.

Many players will think unilaterally. Meaning that they think that their one option to move up in the lineup is to play better. Obviously, this is the most important thing for you to do. But if you consider playing better to be your only way up and you are playing better, but still not moving up, then you will feel helpless, no? This is where it can be helpful to think in the 3rd dimension…to understand your coach’s mindset so that you can influence it. Just like it is useful to understand a girl’s mindset so that you can influence it.

The same process you use for wheeling a girl is the same process you can use to influence your coach’s perception of you. Let’s go through that.

  1. Follow the basic 3 that I mentioned earlier. Demonstrate “good character”, listen, and demonstrate good body language.
  2. Establish rapport with your coach (or girl). Ensure that you mirror their beliefs about hockey (or life) back to them. I have some more tips for developing rapport with your coach here.
  3. Influence your coach (girl) with hypnotic suggestions and some other psychological tricks. I will go through a few that you can use.

Remember that I don’t know if this process actually works. But salespeople use a similar process to sell cars. Dealmakers use this process to negotiate and make big deals. Pickup artists use this process to pickup girls. You may use this to get what you want in hockey.

Here are a few hypnotic suggestions you can use:

  • Ask your coach to “Imagine that I’m playing in the next game. Tell me what kinds of things you’ll see from me in practice this week.” Or “Imagine I’m playing on the power play next game. What kinds of things will you see from me this game?” By getting your coach to imagine you playing, you are making his brain work to see a way that you could be doing what you want.
  • “I’m not saying that you have to play me on the first line this game, but I’ve been doing everything you said and working hard in practice.” This is called an embedded command. This is used in hypnosis with the idea that that the subconscious mind doesn’t process negatives. So within the statement “I’m not saying that you have to play me” is the embedded commands “you have to play me”.
  • “Do you see me playing better on either the first or second powerplay unit?” Let’s say you weren’t on the powerplay and wanted to get on it. Asking if your coach “sees” you as playing better on EITHER the first or second unit is providing a false alternative. You’re giving your coach a choice (making you a nice guy) but not really giving him a choice – either way you’re on the powerplay.

Remember, I do not suggest that these hypnotic suggestions replace hockey skill. But they could a tool to enhance your ability to get what you want.

Think about how you can use these principles in the pursuit of girls. What can you come up with?

I’ve also written about using some psychological tricks, like asking your coach the right questions, setting up self-fulfilling prophecies, and ways to understand your coach. You can check those out now.

If you’ve already seen those, then there is one last piece to consider: remember that your coach might not always do the things that makes the most sense. In fact, research shows that people are happier and more satisfied with making gut feeling/intuitive choices than making rational/cost-benefit decisions. Understanding your coach and his motives (emotional, feeling good, feeding his ego) will help you make sense of your situation.

For anyone who has ever been in an argument, you simply can’t beat someone who is emotional with logic. You must be a skilled persuader and influencer.

Maybe it’s simpler than this. I don’t know. But I get a lot of skilled hockey players (who do deserve more ice time) telling me that this is their number one problem. So there you go, this is my best guess at answering the question: can you wheel girls and hypnotize your coach with the same methods?

If you are looking for mastery of some of these methods, I suggest watching this video on body language, reading this book, and checking out this blog.

Do that now, and let me know how it goes.

-Jason

P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.

 

November 24, 2015

How to Make NHL Players – Analysis of Darryl Belfry & his methods

Have you heard of Patrick Kane?

How about Sidney Crosby?

John Tavares?

Matt Duchene?

These guys all have one thing in common (besides being ridiculously skilled and playing in “the show”) and if you don’t know what it is, it might surprise you.

That one thing that they have in common is a single coach. Not a team coach, but a developmental coach.

When the best in the world all go to see one guy to get better…I pay attention. You might want to too.

I’ve written about how when the whole world is improving…in order to achieve anything, you have to get better, faster. Therefore, going to see your standard coach with standard ideas just won’t cut it if you are truly chasing success. You need to go to the best so that you can improve at the fastest rate possible.

I don’t know of anyone who has a more precise system for building success into hockey players than Darryl Belfry. Obviously it is innovative in the realm of hockey, but the sad part is that it just stands out SO MUCH because almost everyone else is just so bad. May I illustrate for a second how I perceive most coaches to design their systems and decide what to teach players? First, let me be clear that I do not consider this model to necessarily represent truth. Instead, I present it purely for your entertainment. I also don’t believe that ALL other coaches coach in this way. But I do find it interesting hearing stories from players that seem to confirm this model. Anyway, let’s take a look at the proposed model and have fun with it.

Most Coaches

On the surface, this may look like an alright system for coaching, right? You’re educating yourself with your experience, and the experience of NHL teams and coaches, and the collective “wisdom” of the past. However, there are two major flaws with this model (if you subscribe to it). One is that assumptions handed down from NHL teams, coaches, your experience, and collective history may be false. And if they were, how would you know? The second flaw is that the model leads to confirmation bias rather than an effective understanding of the relationship between coachables and results. You’ll notice that whether there is a good or bad result from the coaching, it leads right back into coaching the same stuff. The only difference is in how you explain the results TO YOURSELF and to others.

To summarize: acceptable way of generating assumptions, no way to test assumptions = confirmation bias.

If this model were real, it would likely result in inconsistent results and no valid way of understanding them. The understanding that you would tell yourself would be that either your beliefs about your assumptions are correct, or that the players aren’t doing a good enough job.

Now, let’s look at the Belfry Model. I don’t know for sure if this is Belfry’s model, in fact, I know he has much more complex models that he uses for his developmental purposes. But again, for the purpose of our entertainment, let’s pretend that this is a simplification of his meta model.

Belfry Model

You might look at this and not be overly impressed. You might say, “well that just sounds like a simplified version of the scientific method”. You would be right. You could replace “assumptions” with “hypotheses” and more or less get a version of the scientific method. I suggest that this model can more strongly unearth “truthful” relationships. This is because there is a bit of a feedback loop that can be used to tighten the understanding of the relationships between cause and effect. You’ll remember that there is no such feedback loop in the Conventional Mental model most coaches use.

I’m not suggesting that coaches use one mental model or the other. There exists the possibility of a blend between a “Belfry Model” and a “Conventional Model”. I do however think that because Belfry’s approach stands out as unique and innovative, it is a tell that most coaches do not follow his approach. This is what I like about Belfry: he seems to more accurately represent reality (the relationship between cause and effect) with his coaching than other coaches who might be adopting faulty assumptions without examining them.

The more accurate representation of reality allows him to make bigger changes with his players because he is affecting real variables with his players rather than non-essential variables that have perceived importance. When you can make real changes to real variables, versus illusory changes to non-essential variables, you can stand out in your field.

What are some tells that Belfry makes real changes to real variables? Just take a look at a few of his game translation videos – where he has a player practice a specific skill and then shows that exact skill happening in a game (an NHL game to boot). There is an almost 100% congruence between his drill and a game situation. It’s freaky.

On the other hand, you get coaches preaching advice like “bend your knees more”, “swing your arms forward while skating” and all sorts of other nonsense. The only reason no one stands up and screams BULL$*&% (I do) is because it is commonly accepted/how it has always been done (tenet of Conventional Model). If someone were to truly look at the evidence (Belfry explicitly states that he uses evidence-based research procedures in his coaching development) and then continually adjust their assumptions, this type of useless advice would disappear.

So if these models are true (I don’t know for sure they are), then we would predict that coaches who follow a Belfry Model of player development would see greater improvements in their players and teams through a better understanding of the mechanism between coachable and result. If MY assumptions are correct, and you adopt tenets of the Belfry Model – namely validating your assumptions  – then you will see improved results that are more explainable. Of course, I have no clue if these assumptions are true, I merely present it for your reading enjoyment and further thoughts.

Is there any other coaches we should be paying attention to who have a Belfry-like model of player development? Maybe in other sports? (Jamie Cevallos for Baseball? Charlie Francis for Track? Marcelo Garcia MMA?) Please let me know!

-Jason

[Update] I’m trying out the Belfry approach to hockey and life. It’s working pretty well so far. More data to come.

I’ve written plenty of other articles. You should read them because people seem to like them.

P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.

 

 

November 23, 2015

“Help! I’m benched and it sucks!!” – 5 Steps (Including coach ‘hypnosis’)

Being benched is the worst part about sports, isn’t it?

You feel helpless, out of control, upset.

You sit on the bench, by yourself, and try to stay positive. Your coach hasn’t called your name in ages, and you wonder if he’ll ever call your name. You start getting cold and down on yourself. You start doubting your ability to play the game…you are not having fun…you’re anxious…you’re starting to shiver.

It isn’t fair, you don’t understand why it’s happening, and you’re mad.

Your family is upset and they don’t know what to do. You all complain about how bad and dumb and unfair your coach is.

Let me tell you that all of this is true. Your coach probably is an idiot…a real buffoon. You probably do deserve more ice time and he probably isn’t recognizing your talents.

Let me tell you something else: there is a way to get off the bench. There is a way to get the ice time and recognition you deserve.

But let me tell you something else. The way there is uncommon. The way there is by doing things you won’t want to do, but that will work. The way there isn’t some quick trick, but a diligent and disciplined approach.

At this point, I want all the players and parents who want a “quick fix”, a magic word, or a magic phrase to stop reading this article. This article will not give you what you want. You can stop reading now.

I’d also like all the players and parents who blame others for their failures to stop reading this article. I thank you for coming this far, but I don’t want to waste any more of your time because this article simply isn’t for you.

The rest of this article will outline exactly how to get yourself un-benched. The reason it isn’t for everyone is because the approach takes patience, discipline, and the balls to do uncommon things. But using principles of hypnosis, persuasion, & psychology, we can get you off the bench.

Imagine this: it’s 3 weeks from now, and you’re a trusted player on your team. You wait expectantly for your name to be called as you stand confidently on the bench. Your posture is upright, proud, strong and your coach taps you on the shoulder pad and calls your name. You’re sweating, and warm, and in the game! After the game, you feel great about yourself and your effort because you know that you contributed to the win that day.

You can experience this. You have before and you can again. This can be yours. Maybe not in 3 weeks, but I can guarantee more success from following these steps than if you keep doing what you’re doing.

But again, this road isn’t easy. It is uncommon. And this is why if you follow the steps, you can get exactly what you want – because most people are not willing to follow these steps. Most people are doing what you’re doing right now – complaining and blaming.

Before you decide that you just want to read this article, think to yourself “hmm, that’s interesting” and then go back to hoping that your coach is about to change his mind by himself…just ask yourself if you want your circumstances to dictate your career, or if you’re going to create the circumstances of your career. Once you have decided, read on.

Here it is, the process for getting off the bench and into the game:

1) Change your attitude

2) Get in your coach’s skin

3) Get in synch with your coach

4) Make changes & make a difference

5) Get un-benched – play a regular shift

1) Change your Attitude

The easy and common thing to do is to complain and blame your coaches. This is the easy thing to do.

Top performers don’t do this. They take responsibility for how they created the scenario they are in and they seek to understand it. Then they seek to fix it.

Life is going to happen to you whether you like it or not. Good things might happen to you and bad things might happen to you. Top performers have a belief and an attitude that every scenario that they are in is an opportunity for them to learn and grow. Benchwarmers believe that there is nothing they can do. What do you believe?

If you believe that there is nothing you can do, then you will resort to complaining and blaming. When you resort to that, two destructive things happen: 1) your action is in the form of complaining – therefore, your action is redirected from finding a solution to complaining about your situation and 2) your coach picks up on your attitude subconsciously and will subtly resent your attitude towards him.

By changing your attitude to that of a top performer who takes responsibility for being a benchwarmer, you are empowered to take action and your coach will notice your newfound optimism and confidence. We’ll talk a bit more about how this will work out for you next…

2) Get in your coach’s skin

This is not something you’re going to want to do. This is also not something 99/100 players want to do. If you’re willing to do this, you can put yourself ahead of the other 98 players who are unwilling to do this.

If that math isn’t compelling, because I told you that this step will make you uncomfortable, then, again…this is another sign that this article isn’t for you. Thank you for reading up until now, but this article is just a waste of your time.

For this step, the idea is to truly understand your coach. You need to understand your coach and figure out how he sees you and sees his players. This might be uncomfortable, but it is necessary to put yourself in your coaches skin as you examine your teammates and yourself to understand your next steps. You should not be overly negative in your appraisal of yourself, or overly positive.

As a player, we are often carried away with what is important to us. We want the coach to see things our way. The unfortunate thing is that the coach is also thinking that. If you make steps to bridge the gap, you can more easily influence his perspective. To start, here are the things I’d like you to think about:

  • -How does your coach view you as a player? What role does he think you can fulfill?
  • -How does your coach perceive your skill sets? What skills does your coach think that you possess? What skills does your coach think are your weakness?
  • -What problems does your coach face? What parts of the team need improvement right now? What roles are being unfulfilled?
  • -What does your coach think that you think about him? If you were to evaluate how you behave towards your coach, how do you think he would feel about you?

Now that you have honestly asked yourself these questions, you need to…

3) Get in synch with your coach

Now that you have considered your coach’s point of view, you want to synchronize yourself with the coach. To do that, we need to understand a few things. Like I said, the coach is concerned about what is important to him. If you genuinely went through the process of understanding what they want, you can communicate to him, play and develop in a way that will solve his problems.

Remember that we agreed early on that your coach is probably a bumbling buffoon, right? So do you really expect him to see your point of view? No, of course not. If he saw your point of view, you wouldn’t be on the bench, right?

The nice thing about bumbling buffoons is that they can easily be influenced to do what you want. You just need to know what things to do – what buttons to press.

That first button is to know what your coach’s problems are and solve them for him. If he is missing someone with a great shot on the power play, and you have a great shot…make sure to demonstrate that. If you know you have a great stick defensively, make sure to show that when you get a chance. By showing more aspects of your skill set that solve a coach’s problems, you make yourself a more valuable player.

The second button to press is to communicate with your coach. You will want to go and read my article on How to Get More Ice Time like a Navy SEAL. But before you do, I’m going to give you some hints. For example, when you coach gives you a vague answer like, “You need to show more ‘compete’”, you will need to ask him, “how will you know when I have demonstrated more ‘compete’? What sort of things will you see when I am giving enough ‘compete’?” You want to get specific answer of behaviours that demonstrates compete. (You can replace ‘compete’ with any other vague word coaches use like: hard work, battle, poise, intensity, foot speed.) Remember, your coach is a buffoon. You said it, not me. They are not used to answering questions with precision and will have to work hard mentally to answer your question. Do not let them squirm away because once you have your specific behaviour that they tell you they want to see, you can demonstrate it and then hold them accountable. To make it easier on them, you could ask them “who is something, who in your mind really ‘competes’ on the ice?” This might make it easier for them to answer, and you will still have specific information to use.

If your coach tells you that you are making too many mistakes, then you need to ask “I do my best to make a mistake free game, but no one can ever be absolutely perfect. There are obviously mistakes that are ok to make in a game, and mistakes that are not ok to make in a game. Can you help me out and identify what mistakes are ok to make and which ones I should work harder to patch up?” By saying this, you make your coach acknowledge that there might actually exist two types of mistakes, and they might start looking for differences in your mistakes. It also allows you to figure out what is most important for you to figure out right now.

The third thing to do is to set up an “alliance” and a common goal. Tell your coach about a goal you have for next season. This will be uncomfortable! But if you do it and ask your coach for their help, they will be more cooperative. If they tell you that it isn’t realistic, here’s what you will tell them: “maybe it isn’t realistic, but I want to challenge myself and think big. Can we pretend that the goal is realistic and that I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen? And can you support me in this? I think it will be a great experience for both of us.” From here, you just need to keep asking your coach for feedback.

The fourth thing you can do is to go deeper into one of the questions from the Navy SEALS ice time guide, and ask them to “imagine me playing the minutes and roles that are my goal. What things will you see me doing to get into that role?” If they don’t answer or don’t want to answer, keep going! This is actually hypnosis – by getting them to imagine what it would look like if you were in that role, you’re initiating the mechanism for them to actually consider you in that role. If you habitually ask this of your coach, he will begin to subconsciously see you more and more in this role.

The fifth thing you can do is to be likeable. I didn’t say, be a suck up…I said, be likeable. How do you do that to coaches? Ask them questions and give them compliments. But you have to give specific compliments and ask specific questions. If your question starts with something like, “ya, but shouldn’t we be doing this?” or “why would I do that?”…then these are not good questions to be asking. They literally question the coach’s judgment. But if you ask questions about them, their life, their approach, you will get them to like you…for example: “Wow! I love all the flow drills we do in the first 15 minutes of practice. Where did you get them? Did you make them up yourself?” or “Where did you learn about this? I’m curious because I’d like to learn more about it too!” When complimenting your coach, you want to compliment specific things that they worked hard on. So something like, “thanks for the good practice” won’t do much other than make the coach think you’re a suck up. If instead you say “thanks for the practice today…I really liked it when we worked on that one specific forecheck drill. I think it really helped me!” you will get a more favourable response. If your coach likes you, they will be more likely to play you…simple as that.

When you are pouty and blaming your coach, you are out of synch with them. Get back in synch with them by pressing these 5 buttons and then…

4) Make Changes & Make a Difference

Now you need to take your feedback and make changes to your game. You need to think strategically about what to do and where to spend your time.

Let’s say your coach is missing a big strong power forward, and you’re short and skinny…this isn’t a role you should try to fulfill. If your coach needs better forwards to get pucks off the wall, why don’t you make this an area of focus for your game?

Or let’s say your coach told you that you need to ‘compete’ more… You will need to get video of your game and watch for the behaviours that your coach wants to see. If you can compare yourself to another player who does ‘compete’, that’s even better. Take note of the differences between how you play and how they play. Then plan to implement those new behaviours into your game. Train them in practice and visualize them.

If your coach says that you are making too many mistakes and that is why you are benched, then you need to know in what situations you are making those mistakes. You will then need to practice those situations. Sometimes there are good mistakes to make and bad mistakes to make. You need to ask your coach which ones are good mistakes and which are bad. Once you know what exactly you will get sat for, you can examine it in your video, practice it, then fix it.

Note: Video is very easy for mom and dad to get with an iPad nowadays.

If you have done all of this successfully by now, you will have established a good connection with your coach, an understand of what he wants, and you will have made changes that will lead to permanent improvements that will benefit your hockey career. Then finally you…

5) Get unbenched! And PLAY!!!

If you have followed these steps, and made the changes, I guarantee you will be rewarded with more ice time. And at the very least, you will have improved important weaknesses in your game and learned how to best deal with coaches in the future.

Even if you are already a regular playing player, you can use these steps to get even more ice time.

These steps work because they respect the psychology of your coach, and the natural process of getting more ice time. Your current approach isn’t working and won’t work so stop using it.

If you’re that 1/100 player who is reading this and who is foaming at the mouth to put these steps to use, then you should be encouraged because most other players have dropped off at this point. They’re reading this and thinking it is too hard, and would rather complain and blame their coaches than take positive action. You, the 1/100 player is about to take a big step forward by realizing that you can and will do something about your situation. You will end up being better off than any of them. And then you will one day look back on the others who complain & blame their coaches for their ice time with sympathy and understanding – but you will also smile as you understand what it takes to be a player who gets what he wants.

I want that 1/100 player who is willing to do uncomfortable and challenging things to get what they want, to go through these steps. Please comment on how they work for you and what questions or issues arise throughout the process.

-Jason

P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.

November 19, 2015

You are training too hard and why you won’t stop – Conditioning for Hockey

Woah, woah, woah. You’re telling me that I’m training harder than I need to? Who is this guy? Everyone is telling me to train more…

I’ve already told you that you should sell yourself to get ahead in hockey career, not bend your knees as much, swing your arms side to side, and use psychological tricks to get your coach to invest in you. I think I’ve firmly established that I’m not afraid to offer an unconventional perspective. I don’t aim to be different just to be different – as Tim Ferriss says, just because wearing underpants on top of your jeans is unconventional, doesn’t mean it is useful. The different perspectives I offer may just give you an advantage over the other players who are competing against you for your spot.

First, let’s discuss why you are NOT likely to start working LESS HARD.

Even if I provide examples of results, research, logic, anecdotes, and persuasive arguments, most players are still likely to keep training harder and harder. Even though it is disappointing to me that players are consistently leaving results on the table, it is exciting for players who are willing to try something different. Imagine how freeing it is to know that you don’t have to “out work” those competing for your spot! Imagine if you could simply work AS hard and do something different to get better results than them.

But again, most players won’t do something different. Here’s why:

1) Everyone else is doing it. 9/10 trainers, 9/10 players, 9/10 teams are doing things “the way it has always been done”. So not matter who you are, you’re likely to get caught up in what everyone else is doing at some point. It is difficult as a single player to overcome this inertia of bag skates, exhaustive circuits, and regular puke worthy intervals.
2) Complexity. Even though there is tons of information out there to guide you…it is difficult to sort through. It is even harder to implement because very few people are telling you an exact step by step plan, WITHOUT being overly restrictive.

My goal is to give you such simple and clear information that you can’t help but implement it. I want to give you tiny habits you can start implementing without much effort or without the risk of being socially ridiculed. I also want to make the guidelines as practical as possible for the busy athlete who has lot’s on his or her plate.

So here are two things you can to get in Better Condition while working just as hard – but by being smarter. They are based on scientific principles which explain exactly how your body responds to exercise and makes changes to improve your “conditioning”. But they are principles that most trainers seem to ignore. And it could be costing you.

Let’s talk about those reasons.

Your body has these little energy power houses called “mitochondria” that convert carbohydrates and fats into fuel when combined with oxygen. When you have more mitochondria, you can convert more fuel into energy for your muscles “aerobically” (meaning with oxygen). The more energy you can create aerobically, the less you need to create anaerobically (without oxygen). Sort of like if you have a choice between regular gas and nitrous in your car. It is more efficient if you can run your regular gas and require turning on your nitrous boosters less. How this is similar to the body is that the less anaerobic energy you need to create, the less acidity (commonly referred to as lactic acid) you will create. So the more mitochondria you have, the less acidity you create when you exercise. Said another way, the more you have mitochondria, the more you can use regular gas instead of your nitrous (anaerobic) boosters.

One common issue that athletes encounter is coaches then think that working the athlete as hard as they can will get them in better condition. The problem with this assertion is that acidity (from anaerobic/nitrous boosters) kills off mitochondria! Uh oh…

So if you work too hard, too often, you offset the supposed benefits you are supposed to be reaping – building mitochondria to improve your conditioning. “Feeling the burn” is not as beneficial as people think it is.

There is a better way to improve your conditioning without so much fatigue. And because of the above principle, it works even better!

Here it is: Full intensity sprints for 10-20s, with long, long, long rest intervals.

You see, the signal for your body to grow mitochondria comes from hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen in your system. When you send your body a sharp signal of lack of oxygen, it responds by creating more mitochondria. When you do a fresh, full intensity sprint, you send your body into hypoxia…sharply. When you do intervals or work to the point of your muscles burning, you are limited in your ability to do intense exercise, and therefore get your body hypoxic! So the key to intervals is to do them at such a high intensity that it sends a big signal to your mitochondria to multiply – by getting hypoxic.

To make a meaningful adjustment in your training, try this:

1) Do a warm up.
2) Then choose a work interval between 10s and 20s.
3) Then you will do a work interval for your chosen time
4) Then rest for at least 2 minutes. AT LEAST! You may rest longer if you wish.
5) Do another work interval.
6) Repeat until you don’t feel like “fresh” anymore.

Add this workout to your week only 1 time. Is this the perfect program? No. Is this a complete program? No. Could you do more? Yes. Is this the time intervals optimal? Probably, but I’m not sure.

 

Why am I giving you these ambiguous answers?

I promise it isn’t because I’m trying to be difficult. It is because I want you to actually make a change. It is easier for you to make one simple and small adjustment than to drastically change your workout. And I promise that by adding this to your training week just once, it will make a difference in your conditioning.

Here’s another way to improve your conditioning effortlessly: Improve your breathing technique.

Karatekas, shaolin monks, Yogis, Pavel Tsatsouline, Brian MacKenzie, Wim Hof, and Jill Miller are all crazy people. They are crazy, and geniuses in their own way. And they all preach the power of the breath.

Oh blah blah Jason. Breathing = boring!

I know that’s what you’re thinking.

But what if improving your breathing could:

  1. Improve your conditioning without training
  2. Improve your mental focus
  3. Improve your recovery

And what if by starting something so small and simple, like purposefully focusing on your breathing, could get you all these improvements.

If you’re sitting or lying down, try something right now. Put one hand on your chest, and another on your belly. Then breath so that your top hand moves. This is called a chest breath. Then breath so that your bottom hand moves. This is called a belly breath.

Belly breathing involves your diaphragm. And your diaphragm is a special muscle. When you breathe with your diaphragm, you use about 31% more lung volume. So with each breath, you can get in more oxygen – for your mitochondria to use! Mitochondria get more oxygen, you can use your regular gas instead of your anaerobic (nitrous boosters)…thus enhancing your conditioning. Second, and this is a big one, when you don’t breathe through your diaphragm, all the blood in your body gets sent from your limbs to your core. When you do breathe through your diaphragm, blood gets send back into your working muscles in your limbs. So where do you want your blood flow going? Into your core? Or into the muscles where you need it to do your work?

So if you habitually breathe through your chest, you are cutting off a portion of your lung volume and sending blood away from your limbs and into your core. (This is the exact opposite of what you want) By simply changing your breathing habits you can increase your lung volume and make blood flow more efficient during training.

Here is one thing you can do today to make a small change: in between your shifts, drills, sets, or intervals…put your hand on your belly and focus on breathing into it.

Again, I could give you drill, upon drill, upon drill, for breathing… but I’m not going to. We know that you are more likely to make a change when it is so simple and small there is no way you can’t adopt the habit. So rather than bog you down with 12 things to do, I’m going to give you 1 single, simple thing to try.

Bottom Line

I don’t want you to give up working hard. But I want to offer you the opportunity to try something new out that will work better. Here are two habits, that are so simple, there’s no way you can’t do them. I want you to start implementing these tiny habits that will drastically improve the efficiency of your conditioning regime. I also want you start small, so you can circumvent the inertia of the mainstream. Finally, if you start small and adopt these tiny habits, there’s a good chance that you will start making bigger and bigger changes that will make a drastic difference.

Until then,

-Jason

P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.

 

November 9, 2015

An Easy Way to Teach Backwards Takeoffs (Crossovers)

If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.

November 5, 2015

Selling Yourself Without Selling Yourself – Using ‘Competence’ Triggers

Do you hate sales?

Do you hate the idea self-promotion?

I did. But, ironically, I’m realizing that as an entrepreneur, my entire life is sales. And then I also realized that I used to do some painfully embarrassing things in the place of self-promotion.

Some people are naturals at selling and self-promotion. They might not even care if you think they’re a douchebag through selling and self-promotion. That simply could be part of their personality and good on them! (I don’t quite have the balls for that).

You might say to yourself, “I don’t need to “sell myself”…my results speak for themselves”. And maybe they do.

If you’re Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, then your results really do speak for themselves. Your product is far and away better than anyone else’…so you don’t really have to worry about any sort of “salesmanship” or “self-promotion”. You could have 3 pounds of gel in your hair for all that a salivating GM cares. (But if you’re Sid or McJesus, you probably aren’t reading this article.)

If you’re not Connor McDavid (i.e. not the Son of God) like the rest of us mortals, then guess what: you are a commodity. You might not think it, but unless you play at an association with 40 kids, you either are or will end up being a commodity player. At some point, the funnel will close and there will be 3-10 other players just like you who can take your spot. I’m sorry that you had to hear it from me, but that is the case. I prefer to look at things the way they are than the way I wish them to be…and I ask the same of my readers.

Now, of course you need to improve your on-ice game! Of course, of course, of course! I’m not telling you that improving your “salesmanship” and promotion skills will get you a spot on a team. But you simply cannot work on your on-ice game 24 hours a day. And you’re going to have to talk to coaches and managers at some point…so you may as well do so in a way that makes you stand out…IN A GOOD WAY.

What we’re talking about here is Competence Triggers.

Competence Triggers are: Behaviours that Top Performers exhibit that indicate they are good at what they do.

I will be 100% honest: throughout my career I firmly believed in the “my results will speak for themselves” approach. I said and did many things that did not signal competence when dealing with coaches. But after being a coach, and watching how players who continually make jumps to the next level behave, it became obvious that the best players were not only good on the ice, but also dealt with coaches and management in a way that SIGNALLED competence.

Maybe you don’t want to call up a coach and tell him about how great you are at hockey or how great your son or daughter is. No one does! Do some people do it? Yes, I’m sure they’re out there. (And usually, no one likes them.)

But the top performers and parents of top performers do certain things. They talk to coaches in a certain way. They ask certain questions and avoid other certain questions. They follow a pattern that other parents and players are just not in the loop on.

I’ve talked about a few tactics that parents and players can use to subtly indicate their Competence as a Top Performer:

How about you? What are some behaviours that your see Top Performers using around the rink? I’m not talking about cocky show offy-ness…but subtly cues that indicate that they are Top Performers. Let me know!

-Jason