Let’s take a moment to picture two very real scenarios.
First, imagine yourself strolling into work 5 minutes early, eager to greet the wonderful people you work with. The door is held open for you by someone you’ve never met, people at the front desk say hello and eventually your team offers a quick ‘what’s up?’ before you sit down to check your email.
Throughout the day, you occasionally get up to spend 5 minutes shooting the breeze with a co-worker before relaxing back at your desk to pound through your responsibilities. Before you know it, the day is done, most of your work is finished and you leave the office content with your contributions.
Contributions to the team.
Now, imagine walking through the door 5 minutes late because you couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get yourself out the door in time. No one waves hello - you’re on your own before you get to work and you’re on your own while you’re there.
There’s no excuse to get up from your desk because you don’t feel like talking to anybody, so you sit there all day, your back seizing up, your energy dwindling as you slug through your work and basically mail in the entire afternoon. Eventually you leave without contributing more than the bare minimum - a problem that’s felt over time by the entire team.
What kind of office do you want to work in? How can you create this type of environment?
It’s tough for an adult to completely shift the way they work. For an impressionable young hockey player, however, the ability to work as part of a team is a crucial life skill that can easily be taught through hockey. Feeling like a productive, important part of the team will make it easier to get up and go to the rink and get to work. As a coach, it’s your responsibility to empower every player on your team, to not only make them feel important, but to give them on and off-ice tasks that actually make them important.
Coaches coach to win. Maybe not in the short term, but ultimately coaches are involved because of the thrill of winning. Well, one way to win is to get every player on the team pulling the rope in the same direction. Teambuilding activities build trust and confidence, and we all know hockey players play better when they play with confidence. Feeling like an important member of the team even when you don’t score the most goals or get the most ice time will have a giant effect on the smaller areas of the game, like killing penalties, winning face-offs and playing your position properly.
As a coach, you’re responsible for creating a positive, safe environment. The experiences had by young hockey players are what prepares them for adversity later in life. Getting cut, making the team and operating as part of a group each have direct correlations to real life experiences in the workplace. If the coach can surround players with support and knowledge, then the player can explore their own skills as part of a team. No matter how talented an individual is, a hockey team is always stronger than an individual. Creating an experience that teaches every player the quantifiable value of teamwork will be an experience that player remembers forever.
Gone are the days of coaches breaking players down in order to build them back up. It’s silly to think of now - why not simply build the players you have even higher, right from the outset?
This season, let’s teach our players to work as one cohesive unit. It’s amazing, the results a team can achieve when no one cares who gets the credit.
Have a great day at work today.