article posted: 1763 days ago
It was a very good season. Along with the individual players I consulted with, the three teams I worked with in Europe all performed extremely well. Two made it very, very close to a championship.
Switzerland: It was my third season with SC Bern in the Swiss National League and I was hoping for another championship. It very nearly happened. Despite an upsetting mid season coaching change, SC Bern stayed on a positive track, swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs and made it to game 7 of the final series, losing 2-1 in the final seconds of the game on a very questionable goal.
Germany: In my first year with Adler Mannheim in the DEL (the German Elite League), Mannheim also had a strong season and swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs making it to the final game of the championship series.
Disappointment: While both Bern and Mannheim had very successful seasons, I’m still very disappointed they didn’t win it all. Both teams had a lead in the final series. Both lost overtime games at home that would have given them the championship.
My expertise is helping individuals and teams win, not in consoling loses. I believe and preach that whatever happens either you “use it” or “it uses you.” How do you “use” a disappointing loss? If you simply accept losing, mediocrity is sure to follow. In the end what I've come up with as far as “using it” is: a. respect the game, b. persevere - understand that in sport and life it’s never over until it’s over, and c. recommit to exploring and implementing those things that can be done to perform and contribute even more effectively in the future.
Expectation was less with two other teams I consulted with. Both did well. Italy: It was my first year working with SG Cortina in the Lega Italiana Hockey Ghiaccio. Cortina a team which had been last in the league the previous season, experienced a dramatic turnaround finishing top 4 in the standings, then dominating in the first round of the playoffs, before losing in the semi-finals to Bolzano, the eventual league champion.
WHL: It was my 8th season with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League and it was expected to be something of a rebuilding year. However, the Tigers, a perennial winning team, comfortably made it into the playoffs, sweeping the first round, before being knocked out in the eastern semi finals.
One of the keys to the success of all these teams (and something I’ve blogged about before) is quality leadership which creates a positive culture and nurtures a willingness in everyone involved to do what it takes to win. Part of that positive culture is supporting the inclusion of specialized coaching such as sport psychology. What I do as a sport psychologist makes a real difference. It strengthens a positive mindset, improves focus, emotional control, mental preparation and a winning team culture. And I simply couldn’t do what I do with the players (and coaching staff) without the full support of coaching and management.
article posted: 1976 days ago
article posted: 2027 days ago
The recent deaths of three relatively young NHL veterans in the past four months brings to mind the need to encourage people who have emotional problems to come forward and seek help. It’s been said that 8-10 percent of the general public suffer from mood disorders at some time in their lives. The numbers may be less for elite athletes because of all the screens they have to pass through to succeed at the highest levels. The more vulnerable personalities are often screened out while the more robust personalities survive. However, pro athletes have to deal with an ongoing pressure to perform and some do have emotional issues that could benefit from therapy.
All the teams I have worked with in the NFL, NHL, major league baseball all have excellent medical resources available to treat players. The NHLPA also has counseling and substance abuse programs available. However players must come forward and ask for help. We know men are less inclined then women to seek help for emotional issues, and pro athletes are even less inclined then most men to express a need for therapy. It’s part of the “macho” mindset that exists in elite sport. And for fringe players, those who are not stars, and those on the last year of a contract there is even more reluctance to come forward. However, therapy works in most cases. One player I worked with sought psychiatric help for a mood disorder got treatment and went on to be a league all star.
So the message is, be smart not macho, if you have a problem step forward, seek help, and then get back to performing well and enjoying the game.
- It Was A Very Good Season
- Winning Teams Have Effective Core Leadership
- Playing it Smart
- Headshots, Concussions, and the Game
- Performing Under Pressure in the Playoffs
- Performing Under Pressure at the Winter Games
- Federer, A Case In Point… Set & Match
- Sports Psychology Getting Its Due
- Drawing the Line on Celebrations