Celebrating Wins and Dealing With Losses

As the regular season winds down for most of us, there are all kinds of stories about post game reactions to winning and losing. There is some great stuff happening out there along with the occasional horror story. Here are some observations from this past season.

Celebrating Wins

Most of us feel we shouldn’t get too high after a big win. But there should be a way for all to enjoy the ‘thrill of victory’ when it happens. Players typically don’t need the coach to give them a pat on the back after a game well played. That said, there should be a way for teams to recognize and enjoy success.

What we have established with our team are two presentations to recognize achievement. After identifying the overall positives from a game, the head coach turns the team over to the player who was presented with the Game Puck from the previous win. This player then briefly describes the performance of a team mate and presents him with the game puck for tonight’s game.

Next is the Hard Hat Award that goes to the player who put in that extra effort to help secure the win. It is also presented by the payer who won the award the previous win. It is an actual hard hat with a team logo that the winner displays in his stall until the next presentation.

Team celebrations can be as simple as a three cheers together as a team. Build these positive events into the fabric and culture of your team.

Handling Losses

Just like we don’t like to get too high after a win, we should guard against getting too low after a loss. One story from this season was about a team that won 19 games in a row, lost game 20 in overtime, and the coach berated the team after the game. This is not exactly a proud moment in coaching.

A loss is an opportunity to learn and grow as a team and individually. The coach can simply put the game in context for the players following the loss. Let the players leave the rink with a positive lesson to take back to the rink next time. If you can’t find something constructive to say, then say nothing until you have figured out the proper teaching points. Wait until the next practice to address the team.

Playing and coaching should be a positive and fun experience. Be sure to use the post game as a time to accent these points.

Team Slogan Help From the Olympic Home Team

For some of you, one of the things on your list this time of year is select a slogan to rally the team around for the coming season. You are likely looking for something to inspire and motivate your players and fans.

Since the Olympics are in full swing in Beijing, why not get some slogan inspiration from the home team. The Chinese are kicking butt, so these slogans must work!

Here is an article from Geoffrey York of the Globe and mail.

BEIJING – If you’re wondering how China’s athletes have managed to win so many gold medals so fast, you might consider how much pressure they face from their coaches and state officials.

It’s just one of the many reasons for their success, but it must be a factor. Everyone in China is pushing them to be the best in the world, to bring glory to the country in its Olympic year.

Consider, for example, the official slogans at their training sessions. Here are some of the slogans printed on the walls of the Chinese training camps, as collected on the China Digital Times website:

From the training camp of the Chinese weightlifting team: “The motherland is above everything; strike for gold in the Olympics; lift up the world; hold up hope; stay away from steroids.”

From the training camp of the Chinese shooting team: “Die in the fight for the gold, instead of surviving just for the sake of participation.”

From the training camp of the Chinese gymnastics team: “Leaders put pressure, subordinates put pressure. Pressure each other. Pressure oneself. There will be no breakthrough if one does not take the hardest hardship; there will be no champion if one does not go through the ultimate pressure.”

Who said fun had to be part of sport….