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KGB: Vol 1

Empowerment: The key factor in player development

Balancing all the qualities that make a TEAM great is more than one person can take on.  Empowering the individual (more from TJ here) to improve the team is essential and is the true spirit of player development.  In this monthly newsletter I will provide you the 10,000 foot view of high performance topics and some of the current evidence and or dogma that surrounds them.  My hope is to give you a set of binoculars so you can take a closer look at developing a high-performance culture and help you to decide where to focus your efforts.

Do you want to keep getting better (KGB)? Simple question, and most everyone will say “Yes”.  In sport it is no secret, performance and outcomes rule the day.  Leadership and communication skills become difference makers when skills are equal, but improved individual and team performance is always the goal we chase. 

In the last several months TJ and I have had the pleasure of regularly discussing culture creation and player development.  These conversations have taken natural twists and turns, but the general theme has surrounded leadership and communication in young athletes. (listen to more of those conversations here)  Coach Manastersky lives in a world where incoming players have different levels of previous exposure to leadership and communication skills.  He also has older players who have been in his system and need fine tuning or encouragement.  The goal, Keep Getting Better. 

Let me be very, very clear. The skill of leadership and communication is not reserved for head coaches and general managers alone.  In a team setting we all want the same thing… to win. The higher up in the ranks of hockey we go, winning becomes an expectation.  At these levels of competition, individuals can be empowered to have a greater impact within the organization.

It is in this type of setting where we recognize that every individual has a different role to play in attaining the greater goal.  This combination of teamwork, sacrifice, and discipline is the special sauce that makes it all work.  Each role is important, and each role requires some degree of communication and leadership.  This mentality leads to individual OWNERSHIP from the highest level down, and ownership is where it all comes together.

10,000 ft view:

The foundations

Mastering the basics (skills that matter) is something that is easily lost in today’s world.  When we look at the great performers in any industry there is a common appreciation for the most basics of skills.  More specifically, in the world of hockey 3 anchor habits emerge.  Just because these are established as anchor habits it does not mean that they are simple.  They take dedication, attention to detail and should likely absorb most of your time in practice.

  1. Technical skills:

This is an area of practice that never goes away and probably is the most important. 

                                -Skating: speed, quickness, agility

                                -Puck skills


                                –Hockey sense/positional awareness

       2.     Personal health: (own your own health)

It is never too early to start understanding how the body performs best.  This is also an area where information overload is easy to suffer from.  I will make this a bit more simple so you can focus your efforts.  The 3 main areas of personal health involve joint and soft-tissue health, recovery, and stress management

  • Communication:

This is one of the anchor habits because it can separate average and elite performances over time.  Communication skills are like technical skills in that they require active and intentional practice (why we communicate).

Stay with us each month as we move in and out of these topics.  Feel free to absorb and reject concepts that we will throw your way.  Keep an open mind and look out for things that help you and those you work with reach ultimate potential.

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