I have been asked a thousand questions over the years through my hockey coaching career and I have come to a conclusion…..finally! “I have only one answer”

First of all you are wondering what the heck the question is. And “hey maybe I can answer it for this knucklehead coach!”

Well maybe you can! And I hope you will someday as you go through your coaching career. The question has always been  intriguing to me and I’ve searched and collect different opinions over time. Opinions from NHL coaches, Junior A coaches and minor house league coaches and it is the same thing over and over again and that is….. You have to believe in your players AND you have to tell them!

Yes tell them, look them in the eyes and say ’ I believe in you.’ It doesn’t matter if it’s a little leaguer or the best player in the world (that’s another topic for later!) you have to tell them, you have to communicate with them and most importantly you have to believe in them and their character.

You can’t imagine the feeling of someone who hears those Four  beautiful words and it doesn’t even have to be a hockey player. It could be a student having a tough time with math or it could be a co-worker who isn’t getting the job that they really want. It could be your own children, the love of your life, the most important treasures of your life, the ones who think you are super human (until they turn 10 years old then you’re just a parent!) they are the ones who need to hear it the most, don’t they?

But one of the great pleasures of coaching is that we get to say this to your players, unless we forget! We coaches get so caught up with game plans, practices, preparing our teams for the long fought battles that lay ahead that we sometimes forget that each of our athletes looks to us for affirmation, especially the ones who are injured or the ones sitting on the bench not getting the playing time as others are getting.

Great coaches thou incorporate these little belief sayings in their daily talks to their players, it only takes a few seconds. Leaning into a player on the bench and just giving him a quick,’ I believe in you, you have the smarts to do this, You have done it before, the time is now!’

It’s amazing how that player sits up, jumps over the boards, all engines firing and boom he is off to the races and he wins!
Yes he wins because ’ You believe in him!’

Just think about the things or situations that can bring a player down. Lack of confidence, lack of motivation, lack of commitment and lack of trust. But you taking a second or two to speak 1 on 1 with him shows him you care and that you believe! That coach is all a player wants from you to say ’ I believe in you’

The 4 most Powerful words a coach can say and which I believe to be the answer of all answers that all coaches should know!

By Warren Nye,
Photo By West Point Public Affairs
June 25th, 2011