The Tank. Advice To Parents.

March 2019 Hockey Tip.

The Tank. Advice To Parents.

  • When things aren’t going well, it is very easy for athletes to go into what I call and I think many others call “The Tank”.
  • I frequently talk about good coaches, great coaches, not so great coaches, and mentors in hockey.
  • I had many great ones from youth hockey through the Pros. I also had not so great ones(more like horrible ones) and everything in between.
  • Kevin Constantine was my head coach when I played for The Penguins.
  • He was one of my greats.
  • I learned a great deal from him tactically and otherwise.
  • He said something to me about “The Tank” that I never forgot, and have in turn said to tens of thousands of kids.
  • I have told the story about me being benched(by him)in The Boston Garden with practically every friend and family member in the crowd.
  • He tapped me on the shoulder at the end of the game and said, “You don’t live here in The Tank. This moment will pass. Go out and visit with your family and friends, that is the world you live in, not here in this feeling. We will talk on the flight.”
  • I was clearly nervous playing at home, I did not play my game and was out for three goals in the first five minutes of the game. I tried to do too much. It backfired.
  • He needed to bench me.
  • But the tap on the shoulder after the game is what I will never forgot. That feeling.
  • A few kind words from a mentor when I really needed it.
  • That being said. Business is business. As the coach he made a business decision to bench me. I get that too.
  • My advice to parents is to tell your child what is in the next bullet point  in the car on the way home if they have a bad game and you feel they are in “The Tank.”
  • Tell your child that they too don’t live in the place of their feelings of despair. They are going home. Or going to dinner with you. With their family. That is where they live. They don’t live in The Tank.
  • Hockey is a game of mistakes.
  • And they are fleeting. They are quickly forgotten.
  • A game is an overall body of work. Not looked at play by play by play by play by the coach.
  • It is a team sport. Not individual.
  • When I assisted in coaching at a high level prep school or coach my high level AAA Seal Teams or any team… I am the good cop. That is just my style and philospophy. Not saying I am not a firm coach and serious about tactical training or knowing when to push players or teaching players to practice and play with a level of fear. I do all of that.
  • However I give a tap or nod often after a mistake.
  • Even at camp.
  • Camp is a time to explore and try things. A safe place to train and push yourself. Not to be intimidated.
  • We have no agenda. Like I always say we are the experts with unbiased eyes there to help.
  • Another think I  like to do is commend players on THE LESS OBVIOUS accomplishments. I like to give examples of the little things he or she executed beautifully. Those are teaching points to the rest of the team as well. Talking about the less obvious high points of the game.
  • This is also good advice to parents. Again on the car ride home talk about the less obvious little accomplishments.  Obvious ones are  goals. Try to remember to remark on the less obvious plays. For example an  ability to get the puck off the boards and out. Closing a gap. A dead on passes. Hard. Accurate.
  • You will see their reaction:) A smile.
  • Stats don’t record these little accomplishments unfortunately.
  • The Sale is winding down.  This is the best time of year to take advantage of the savings. Most especially if you are contemplating ONE v ONE training or a AAA BU camp.
  • Life is a battle camp.

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