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January 5, 2017

Ep #13 – How To Be A Genius Hockey Parent

Let me tell you something: you might be a great parents and a great person – but that doesn’t mean you’re a Genius Hockey Parent.

I’ve met the Genius Hockey Parents. They do something different. They’re on a different program.

And no. The Genius Hockey Parents aren’t the ones who yell at coaches, power trip, and write emails.

Their process is more subtle. Their process is more calculated. And their kids benefit.

Parents: It starts with you.

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– Jason

PS. If you want to do a live training with Train 2.0. you can click this link here to get FREE access

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.


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


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.


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.

October 12, 2015

How to Instantly be a Hit Hockey Parent

If you’re a new hockey parent, let me just tell you, there’s a pattern you want to avoid. You know that feeling of seeing an email from someone, and you know it’s just gonna be bad news? Well, for a coach, we get a lot of parents who are just like that email. Like, I’m a pretty fast runner, so I’ve toyed with the idea of just sprinting the other way…or hiding behind a post when I see certain parents, but I’m too suave (and modest) to do that.
Now there are other parents who are simply a joy to see and be around. I’ve refrained from fist bumping them, but I certainly wanted to (read: suave)!
We’re at a point with our training company where we are selective about who we have as clients. So our client list is about 99.9% awesome parents. And I’d like to share what we look for when we consider which parents are awesome, and which are like a bad email.
Does being a hit parent, like our clients matter? I’d love to say it doesn’t, but as a coach, there is a definitive positive bias towards players and parents who treat us well and make us feel good. In turn, I often notice myself taking a little bit of extra time with that player, or being a bit more concerned about their development. This isn’t on purpose, but it just happens when I have a good relationship with the player and their parents.
So given the amount of power your coach has over your kid and their career, I highly suggest checking out some “hockey parent hygiene” tips I have to be an awesome hockey parent.
1. Awesome parents are respectful of the coaches time
In Yogic tradition, there was a guru, and a student. It was 1on1 training all the time. Nowadays, for whatever societal reason we tend to value the contribution of the coach or guru less…we want to go to Yoga classes that are 40 large so that we only have to pay the drop in fee of $20, rather than dedicating time, effort and energy to an integrative and holistic practice. But I digress, the coach nowadays has to address the needs and concerns of up to 20 players at a time. They also have lives. By talking their ear off about your kid, you’re likely boring them, even if they’re smiling, and they probably have other things to do. They do not have time for a 20 minute conversation with each parent. They might really like to do it, but it’s simply a math equation: 1 coach, multiple kids.
Of course, if you have an issue that needs to be addressed, some feedback for the coach, or some positive comments, go and talk to the coach. But know beforehand what you want to say to the coach, say it, and then give them an out to end the conversation. If they want to and can continue the conversation, they will. I know this sounds like simple social skills, and it is…but sometimes hockey parents forget when it comes to hockey topics.
2. Awesome parents don’t seek reassurance
Awesome parents don’t go looking for the coach to confirm or reassure what you think of your kid. You’re setting the coach to either lie to you or piss you off. Just ask for feedback, accept it and move on.
Your kid won’t get any better by you reassuring your idea of their playing abilities. Live in a world of “what is” and look for honest feedback rather than living in a world of “what should be”.
3. Awesome parents are informed
Some parents think they should not ask questions to the coach. No, you should still ask questions if you are unclear on anything. But you should do your research first and come prepared to ask good questions. Check your email, ask your kids, ask other parents if you’re chatting with them anyway. Come with good questions, and don’t waste the coaches time. They will appreciate it.
4. Awesome parents are involved
Be involved. Awesome parents ask good questions, ask for feedback, offer to help, and send thank yous. They do all this while being respectful of the coaches time. Parents who do this are not transactional, doing a favour and expecting something in return. Instead, they seem to do these things because they want to be helpful, friendly, or just good people.
Involved parents also screen coaches and opportunities. They value quality and actively seek out the best developmental opportunities.
Do your kid the favour of being an awesome parent with coaches. You’ll notice that coaches will be more at ease with you and may start to warm up to your kid. This can go a long way to helping their hockey career if they get a little bit of extra attention here and there. And if it appears like your “awesome hockey parent” tactics are not working right away, don’t hit the panic button and go bezerk! Give it time. Be patient. You might have to let your newfound reputation of being an awesome hockey parent slowly permeate the hockey zeitgeist.

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.

October 2, 2015

How To Get More Ice Time This Season – Like a Navy SEAL

Many of my article ideas occur with me at a whiteboard in a dressing room somewhere, with classical music playing in the background, while wearing a tracksuit, pacing back and forth with a pen in my mouth.

Ok that was a joke. Mostly. One summer we experimented with having our athletes train while listening to classical music. I honestly don’t know if it worked or not. They certainly didn’t like it. So we’ll move on.

I actually usually get my article ideas from listening to podcasts. As any reader of Train 2.0 knows, I blab on and on about Tim Ferriss. And this is case is not exception. This time I was driving to my sister’s soccer game, and I was listening to ex-Navy SEAL “Jocko” Willink with Tim Ferriss.


“Jocko” (@240lbs of lean mass) and Tim (taken from www.fourhourworkweek.com)

They talked about his upcoming book: Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALS Lead and Win. And this is where I got my idea for this article. Jocko talked about how the central command would come around and ask all the SEAL team leaders what they needed for their operations. The leaders of the various units would go around the table and say things like,

  • “We need more staff for this”
  • “We need wi-fi at this outpost”
  • “We need this piece of equipment”

But every time it got to Jocko, he’d say, “we’re good, sir.”

Why? Because he owned his situation. If there was a problem with his unit, they fixed it. They didn’t complain, they didn’t ask for things they didn’t really need. They fixed their problems and owned their situation. But the result of this extreme ownership of their situation was that if they ever did need something, it happened RIGHT AWAY. Because central command knew that if Jocko was asking for something, their unit NEEDED it. It wasn’t a nice to have, it was a must have and he had already tried to solve the problem himself.

So enough preamble, let’s get a lay of the land from a hockey standpoint:

How many parents do you know who complain about ice time? Complain about the coach giving their kid unfair treatment?  Complain and blame. 

If you’re feeling uneasy right now, because you notice that it might even be you who complains and blames, that’s OKAY! I talk to many parents who feel the same way. Hell, I have felt the same way many times. Have I always dealt with it perfectly? Nope. I even know a ton of great people, and great parents who are highly effective people but get caught complaining when it comes to their kid’s sports.

But here’s the deal: there’s a way to take action, there’s a way to stop complaining and take (extreme) ownership of the situation. I present the 3 Step Guide to Getting More Ice Time like a Navy SEAL.

I sort of accidentally realized that I was giving this 3 Step Guide to a number of players based on how I, as a coach, liked to be treated by players. As soon as I figured out that I was giving it out to players quite a bit AND it was working, I realized I was on to something.

How will this guide get your kid more ice time?

First, it’s not about you, the parent. It’s about the player. It’s gotta come from them. Why? If the player addresses the problem, they’re setting themselves apart from 98% of the other players out there. Second, this blog is about educating parents to empower players. Not about micromanaging a career. If you’re into micromanaging young athletes, I’m sorry, this blog isn’t for you. But if you want to empower smart behaviours of your children, then keep on reading.

Second, when you the parent encourage  your kid to use the 3 Step Guide to Getting More Ice Time Like a Navy SEAL, you (the player) take action. Parents and players can stop wasting energy by placing blame and complaining and start spending it in a way to improve the future situation.

Third, the player invokes psychological triggers in a coach that will make them look out for the player. They’ll know that they will face “consequences” if they know the player is likely to follow up regarding their coaching decisions regarding ice time allocation.


Here it is: The 3 Step Guide to Getting More Ice Time Like a Navy SEAL

  1. Don’t Pout. Set it and Forget it.

You identify that your kid isn’t getting the ice time you think their play deserves. As soon as you observe yourself complaining or placing blame, don’t panic. Simply observe that you’re doing this. Next, encourage your kid to set a brief meeting with their coach before or after practice. Then keep on keeping on. Relax, let go. Set the meeting and forget about it. Worry about things you can take action on, not your unfair situation.

If you’re a parent, encourage your kids to read this next paragraph:

Coaches love players who take initiative and ask for meetings rather than players who pout and complain to their teammates. As a coach, I’m excited to have a player ask for feedback, even if the player is nervous and their questions are scripted. So long as they’re “present” and asking the right questions for the right reasons, I’m happy to help. I think most coaches would be the same boat as me. So, players, just ask your coach if he has 5 minutes for you to privately ask him some questions on your play before or after practice. I promise it will be worth the awkwardness you might feel!

2. At the Meeting, Ask These 4 Questions…

“Hey, I’m just looking for some feedback on my play. Could you tell me what you’d like me to do better?”

[Coach says something you can do better]

“Ok, I’ll work on that. What’s an area of my game that you think is contributing most to our team’s success right now? I’ll make sure to keep doing it!”

[Coach tells you a strength of your game]

“Ok, and one last thing… it’s my goal to [insert ice time goal here….play on the 1st power play, be on the first line, get more defensive minutes, etc..]. Can you tell me what I can do to achieve this goal?”

[Coach will tell you exactly what he or she wants to see….or they may say that they have guys for those roles. In which case, you’ll say “well just humour me a bit here, what would it take? I’m curious and I like to set challenging goals.”]

“Great! Thanks for your time and feedback. Is it okay if I follow up with you in [time…a couple weeks, a month] to review how well I’m progressing towards my goal?”

[Coach says sure]

3. Play

The follow up meeting is set. Now forget about the meeting. 

If you make some changes and the coach doesn’t immediately respond to your request, and you as a player start pouting, or if you as a parent start complaining again, that’s a great way to undermine all the good work you’ve done so far to impress the coach with your initiative. They’ll just think you’re a high maintenance player and parent and will try to avoid dealing with you at all costs from then on. But if you allow things to unfold during the time between your first meeting and next follow up, you will get the trust of your coach.

At this point, you’re actually going to have to act on the feedback your coach gave you. If coach said you need more poise with the puck, you will actually have to work on that. This strategy isn’t just a bunch of mind games, then BOOM extra ice. No, it’s a strategy for players and parents who WANT to take ownership over their situation just as a Navy SEAL would.

Now most coaches are good people and if they see you working to develop the area of the game they recommended, they’ll be impressed and likely start granting you the ice time you asked for. If they don’t…here’s where the magic starts….ask them at your follow up meeting how you’re progressing towards your goal. Ask them if they noticed your improvement or not. If they say no, ask them if they can help you a bit further. Again, so long as you take action and listen to the coach, you’ll invoke some psychological triggers that will make the coach WANT you to achieve your goal. This is because coaches love having players who will listen to their every word and TAKE ACTION on it. But again, if you jump the gun and start pouting before having a mature conversation with your coach at your next scheduled follow up meeting, then you’ll be sure to piss off the coach. Trust the process and keep working on things you can control.


That’s it. Now, a word on being able to deliver.

Don’t expect as a player or parent that simply because you go through this process that ice time will automatically happen. At the end of the day, the player needs to improve and make the adjustments necessary to play at the coach’s desired level. So look to find a better skill development coach or a better set of instructions.

So give this strategy a shot. Let me know how it goes and if you encounter any problems.

To “Duncan Keith-like” amounts of ice for you and yours,


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.

September 14, 2015

“Mom, dad, I didn’t make it…” – How Invisible Scripts Could Determine How You Respond

You’re probably tempted to fire up your laptop RIGHT NOW and get busy writing that scathing email to the coach, manager, trainer….anyone who will listen. Even if you aren’t, I know you really want to. Hell, I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to throw rocks at the coach’s house who cut me from Junior A the first time. Although, I was too well trained as a half-asian boy to do that, and likely went to go study my SATs to prove them wrong or something equally passive aggressive.
Anyway, when tryout time hits, I feel like there are a lot of parents who are ready to blow a gasket at any moment. You’ve probably seen them pacing around the arena, checking their smartphones to see if TSN’s app is going to update them on if their kid is making the team or not. Even if you don’t want to admit it to anyone else, be honest, that might even be you on the inside. Of course, you’re better at hiding it than everyone else…
Now, if I were about to give you some typical “Surviving Tryouts for Parents” checklist, it would (and should) probably look like this:
  • Chill Out
  • Chill Out
  • Chill Out
Ok, now you’re mad at ME too! Why? Because that’s stupid advice to parents who are hanging on by a thread.
Instead, let me tell you exactly how the most effective and relaxed parents approach these situations. This has nothing to do with special tactics like, “What flavour of chicken wings should I buy the coaches so they pick my kid”, or “Should I send the coach a video of my kid working on his snapshot in the basement?”. These are dumb ideas and useless tactics.

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August 21, 2014

Hacking Tryouts – Experimenting with advanced statistics

Tryout camps are a time of tumultuous emotion, upset parents, scorned players, stressed out coaches, and political agendas. When I took part in the minor hockey and junior tryout camps, I was sort of blind to all the calamity around me. When I began attending tryout camps from the perspective of strength and conditioning/skills coach, I took on a whole new perspective. I sort of took on the perspective of the anxious parent who wants his kid (in my case, athletes I train), to do well. I also took the perspective of the coach trying to sort out who was deserving of a spot and who wasn’t. This journey was further animated by the (wide) range of perspectives of every different parent.

Most parents of players who were cut, thought that their kid was not given a fair shake. I sometimes agreed, and other times disagreed. Since parents were so biased in watching their kids play, I wondered, though, exactly how much of my bias was distorting my perception of players’ performance. The next logical question was: how much of the coach’s bias distorted his views? In order to answer this, I wanted to evaluate some sort of objective data that might track a player’s performance in the tryout camp and possibly predict their future performance on the team. So that’s what I did…

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