A Coach's Important Pre-Game Speech

A Coach’s Important Pre-Game Speech

                For an individual sport (golf, tennis, others), an athlete theoretically can play as he wishes because the outcome affects only himself, and nobody else is relying on him for anything. Conversely, if I were a hockey coach, I should constantly remind players of their obligations (responsibilities) to themselves and others.

                I would tell my athletes the following: “Be aware of team strategy. Ask questions if you are not sure of your responsibilities in any circumstance and play within the system, while understanding that your total actions every second during the game could alter the outcome because every play is critical, and many contests are decided by one goal. Furthermore, no one can control the effort of teammates. Therefore, be certain that your own effort never moves below the 100% level offensively and defensively. Work to put forth the best possible version of yourself that you can create. Always be relentless in this task. Be verbally supportive and encouraging to teammates if you must offer constructive criticism. Play with total dedication until the game is finished, and never assume that you can relax because you conclude that your teammates are in control of the situation. Things can quickly change. Performance mistakes will occur, but do not allow them to affect negatively any future shifts.”

                If all of this advice is followed, one should be totally satisfied after the game – no matter the result- because how can anyone possibly do better than his best? There can be no logical self-recrimination. Playing always to expend maximum effort and concern for the team is actually operating on a higher level than playing to win. Those who say that winning is everything are pursuing validation in the wrong fashion.