Habits—They Are With Us Everywhere We Go

Want to work on something each day that will make your season more successful and make you a better player or coach? Spend time each day working on improving your habits. Coaches talk about habits often. Parents constantly strive to develop good habits in their children. Business people like to say “excellence is a habit”.

Here are a few quotes on habits I got from Denis Waitley’s ezine (ezine@denis waitley.com).

We learn by observation, imitation and repetition.

Habits begin as offhanded remarks, ideas and images. And then, layer upon layer, through practice, they grow from cobwebs into cables that shackle or strengthen our lives.

Habits are like submarines. They run silent and deep.

First we make our habits, then our habits make us.

Habits are like comfortable beds. They are easy to get into, but difficult to get out of.

Winning and losing are both learned habits.

When we are too tired to think, too emotional to decide what is the right thing to do, or when you just react in a situation, it will be your well established habits that will determine what you do.

In Life is Like a Taxi Ride, Lyman MacInnis makes the point that athletes develop habits that are based on superstition. While this can be amusing, it rarely leads to better performance.

Make it a habit to spend time each day reinforcing a strength and making a weakness a little less of a negative in your game. Guaranteed this will lead to more success in your season.

So, how is this whole tryout thing working for you this year?

At this point you are either getting ready, in the midst of tryouts, or they are over and you are on to the next stage.

How did you prepare? Was there a well thought out program for physical training, supplemented by mental preparation that was executed over the off season? If so, tryouts were likely a pleasant experience and there was a positive outcome.

Let’s hope every tryout starts with team management being very clear about how to make the team;

…”this is the type of culture we want for our team…”

…”we want players who exhibit these overall characteristics of work ethic, discipline, …”

…”we will not tolerate any behavior that includes, disrespect of others, etc. …”

…” we need players to fill these specific roles…”

I had a chance to spend time over two days at the Dallas Stars training camp in Charlottetown, PEI. After the ice sessions I visited with head coach Marc Crawford, assistant coach Willie Desjardins, AHL head coach Glen Gulutzen, and Director of Minor League Operations Scott White.

Watching the players in the dressing room area, it was obvious all were serious about their physical preparation. Most players looked like they were in great shape as they prepared their post-practice sport drinks and snacks. Coach Crawford noted how this part of the game had come a long way since his playing days.

Also talked with Frank Hubley, a high school hockey head coach in Halifax, NS, about his tryout process. He added points like looking for more from a returning player, the need to have balance between grades 10, 11, and 12, and being clear to participants about team goals for the season.

Wally Bray is the head coach at the AAA midget level in St. John’s, NL. His coaching staff and manager Tim Power have to build a team that will be capable of hosting the Telus Cup, the national championship for this level. Players here get on the team by performance by a series of competitive scrimmage sessions. The camp was fun to watch as layers competed to make the team.

At the end of tryouts, hopefully there are some common positive results:

…players feel they had a fair opportunity to show how they can play the game

…all had a fair chance to make the team

…there was an environment where players will leave being at least a little better for the experience

…even though the tryouts were challenging, it was a fun experience

Now, let the season begin…