Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Coaches as Bullies: Part II

I have had many emails from my first article on coaches as bullies and one young man that I work with in particular had this awesome insight to offer us. It is a story that brought me chills as I was once in that very same situation. I remember how vulnerable I felt, how disappointed and how I started to question my love for the game. It continued and unfortunately happened more than once.

I want to thank Sam for this, it is very important for the players out there to know that you are not the only ones trying to figure it out.

I hope this helps you all, and for tips go back to the Coaches as Bullies blog post there are some steps you can take!

I hate to call anyone a bully and I don't like the term. But I have had experience with a coach who through the means of words and actions took my will to play the game away. Not too long ago I found myself in a place both physically and mentally I didn't want to be. I had a coach telling me shift in and shift out how bad I was and how selfish I was. The coaches philosophy was the players were to do as they're told and swaying from this at all meant that you were a bad person. I once had a suggestion for a drill and approached the coach before I could finish my sentence he interjected with his go to line "players play, coaches coach and managers manage". There were countless other things he said to the team as a whole most of them circulating how we were to let him do the thinking for us and simply carry out his ideas in the physical world. I found my self starting to doubt myself and my love for the game. He would consistently use things I had done as bad examples for the team during post game and other talks throughout the weeks. For example he would say things like "I have to baby some of you guys you are always asking questions and I'm spending to much time on ya" while staring at me the whole time as if to blame the most recent team failure on our lack of preparation caused by my "selfishness". I continually got over his insults and punishments and kept trying to move forward but try as I might the coach and I continued to but heads. I decided to talk to him about how I was scared with how things were moving forward with regards to my playing time. This conversation got me nowhere as it ended with me giving into him and agreeing with all of his criticisms. I tried to approach him on a couple of other occasions to apologize for some of our confrontations as if they were 100% my fault in an effort to work on our relationship but was quickly rejected. So I came to the conclusion that for the good of my game and of my on well being I would have to leave. So I asked for trade (which the coach made very difficult) and now I'm at home eagerly awaiting my next chance to play jr hockey.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Difficulties of Staying Motivated

I often receive emails from parents, players and coaches wondering why consistent performance is so difficult. The emotions that go along with those emails are fear, frustration, disappointment and anger. It is natural to feel this way when we do not get what we want. If it is your child not playing to his potential, your team underachieving or you simply struggling to feel successful, they are all the same, we did not get what we expected to get.

Having the ability to be consistent and exceptional day in and day out is challenging to say the least. We all have many excuses as to why. Whether it is a bad day at work, at the rink or at home. Someone is always the cause. Our willingness to put our negativity on others is the easiest way to deal with disappointment.Finding something inside of ourselves to solve the problem is the problem. We do not know the answers. We do not know why. Most importantly, until we can develop a process to learn why we do these things, the emotions listed above will simply continue. The cycle goes on and on.

The definition of insanity "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." This is exactly how we feel, WHY CAN'T THEY SEE IT, WHY CAN'T THEY DO IT, WHY CAN'T I DO IT?There are some simple practices that you can start to implement that will change everything, YES there is HOPE!

For more information visit the link on this page Top 10 Secrets to Building a successful athlete.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

WARNING: Coaches as Bullies

I am writing this because of some recent stories that have been brought to my attention. There are some bad things going on still today. I thought that the days of coaches berating and belittling had gone by the wayside. I guess not.

It was Pee Wee when I was first introduced to this, hard to believe. I was 10-11 years old and the coach loved what i offered as a player. I found myself in all sorts of exciting situations, PP, PK, double shifting etc. It was not until we were well into the season that things changed. The happy coach had turned mean. There were threats of not playing, sitting on the bench with no explanation and verbal abuse. I was shocked and scared. How could a guy that loved me now hate me?

It continued through Bantam and got so bad I remember one time the coach screaming so the whole rink could here, "Wilkie get off the F*($*% ice". I at that point started to figure out how to get even. I mean you can't talk back to the coach, we all know that. So I started taking retaliation penalties, I stared to play at a well below my ability level and started for the first time, to hate to go to the rink.

In Midget it did not get any better, long stints riding the pine, I was like a dog, my ears would go back and I would hide in the corner. This, as I was told, was to teach me and prepare me for the next level. All I could think was if this was what it was like at the next level I am not sure I want to go there.
In my first year of Junior I was blessed with one of the best coaches I ever had - his name was Sandy Hucul. He was patient, understanding and taught me more than any of the other coaches ever had. At the end of the year I was ranked as a potential first rounder the next NHL draft year.

The rest of my Junior career was not as good. I was traded to Swift and played for Graham James who was a green beret of verbal assault. It came from all directions (him, the press and then the fans). I have hated few people in my life, but I can honestly say, I hated that man. What he caused me to think of myself, how I was intimidated of the control he had over my career caused me to dive into a hole of self destruction.
The pro career was more of the same, there were a few that treated me as a person first and then a hockey player. For those we both got what we wanted. I produced and he succeeded.

I have learned why coaches tend to be on the very aggressive side, they take losses personally and give the after game speech of how embarrassed they were and what a disgrace we were. Just like I got caught up in the emotions of the game, they did to. I failed to learn how to speak up regardless of the repercussions. I would have a pity party (usually involved a lot of booze) and I found that I was rarely alone. My teammates felt that way too. I guess after years of the same pattern of behavior, you learn to survive the verbal assault. And that type of survival will take you places you don't want to go.

So with all of that being said for all of you out there feeling this way, there is hope and ways to end this. Here a few tips that hopefully will help you as you strive to reach your dream:
  1. If you are being assaulted for the same thing day in and day out, it means you don't understand what he is asking you to do. Clarify this with him and get help before or after practice to strengthen the skills required to successfully execute whatever he is saying you are not.
  2. Ask for a 1-1 where you can tell him how you feel when he attacks. If he gets offensive while this is going on, GET OUT! He does not have the capacity to treat you as human being first and foremost, for your own well being in the future leave, ask for a trade. He will call you all sorts of names and bully you even more, I know this sounds scary. If you don't you won't be successful, you can't be successful in that environment.
  3. Get together with the leaders of the team and see if you can explain your situation and ask for their help, odds are you are not the only one dealing with this. Sometimes coaches have to be removed as they do not have the capabilities to understand you do not know everything they expect you to know.
  4. THIS ONE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT-Don't take it personally, even when they make it personal. He is trying to motivate or piss you off so that you will get mad and play, this works for some and not for most. No matter what he calls you, no matter how loud he gets, it is not about you. He is frustrated and angry for some reason, you just trip his wires. Understand that and you will handle this much much better.
  5. In the end I learned that it was the years of abuse that caused me to not give the coach the benefit of the doubt and this stopped me from trusting and performing to the best of my abilities. Often I deserved a kick in the ass, how he did it dictated how I responded. Be VERY MINDFUL, are you really being the best you can be, I know lots of times I was not. BE HONEST with yourself, please, for your own well being.
It is a major problem, I cannot sit here and say it is not. I can tell you that if you allow yourself to take that kind of mental abuse for a season or two, you will lose a big part of your drive and passion. Try 1 or more of the steps above, there is always an answer, a way out.

Bullies are a part of life, learn how to deal with them so you are not taken down. Don't let them feed off of you because that is what bullies do, they need to feed to calm their own insecurities. Understand this and learn some tips to stop it from happening to you and you can then help the thousands of others who are dealing with it as well.

I hope this helps and would love to hear from you if you are being bullied, together we can end the pain!

Bob Wilkie

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Dreaming of the NHL - To Be or Not To Be

I have worked with Sam for about two years now. I have seen him come out of his shell and develop self confidence and with that a chance to progress to the next level. It is only because of his commitment and hard work that he is where he is... The question all hockey players who are striving to achieve have to ask is

To be or not to be?  That is the question.

I know that it was a question I asked myself over and over even after I was a pro. Sam shared his thoughts and I cannot thank him enough, I as always hope you enjoy hearing from a young man who is living it!

All my life I have always wanted to play in the NHL and strive to reach the goals that are required along the way; PW 1, Bantam AAA, Midget AAA and Jr. I have had my fair share of ups and downs, often not making the highest team possible in my first year in a given age group as well as never playing Bantam AAA. I spent most of my minor hockey career having to prove myself at lower levels just to get a chance at the next step to again prove myself and earn some ice time. In pretty much every case I was successful, it was really hard and every time without fail I caught myself thinking if I really wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I mean if no one else thought I was good enough why should I.

This year when I came to Bonnyville to play Junior hockey, I came with a lot of confidence having played the last two years at Midget AAA and earning a prominent role on the team. However, I was rudely awakened with how much harder I would have to work, again I caught myself questioning if this was for me. The main camp and fitness testing were hard but that was expected, it was once we got into practices that were 2, 2 1/2 hours long, with a skate at the end that really hit me. Not only is this league bigger, faster, stronger but I find myself with a coach who coaches a style of hockey I have never really found myself in.

He, not unreasonably, expects me to get pucks deep and put everything on net as well as finish every check. I don’t have my line mate of two years who I had created quite a bit of chemistry with and I’m playing 3rd and 4th line minutes with guys who I don’t have chemistry with yet. Overall this has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. Being away from home is hard but its not even as hard as the pressure I feel from myself and the team. I know I’m not playing my best hockey yet, but I can feel it coming. Every time I feel like quitting and going home the thoughts of how hard I have worked to get here and how close I am come creeping up. Even when I am sure I am done, a little voice in my head just won’t let me quit, I can't even tell you why for sure, I simply can't.

I know it is hard now, but my experiences in the past have helped make it easier for me to overcome challenges, I see this as just that another challenge. A challenge to show the coach I can be a first line guy, not in a year or two but right now, a challenge to show all the people who have cut me in the past that I can play at the next level and to challenge myself to prove that I can battle through adversity and that never again in my life will I be satisfied with taking the easy way out.

Even as I type this I can feel myself just wanting to go back home and go to school, sleep in, and hangout with friends. For whatever reason I know I won’t. At this point I’m just trying to remember why I play the game in the first place - To have fun.

Sam Plaquin
Bonnyville Pontiacs AJHL

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Great Advice from Austin Smith

I have been traveling around watching many of the tryouts that are going on. I have seen much pain and disappointment with the players and parents. I see young players who are much better than they are showing dealing with anxiety and stress at very unhealthy levels. One of the young men that I have worked with for a couple of years recently had some big decisions to make. I asked him to share his experience. For any of you out there YOU MUST READ THIS (and remember this is from a 19 year old who has figured out something that will help him the rest of his life).
Thanks Austin for sharing!

It's been a long off season and I hope everyone's excited for the new season that's underway. Many of you will be going to try out for new teams to further your hockey career. That's a whole new experience for every one of you. My realization of "Fear" was what changed my career around. I did not know it at first. With some discussion and insight from Bob, I was able to determine that fear was what was holding me back. Uncertainty caused fear which caused more uncertainty. Until I took a hold of that fear, and locked it out I was not able to control my future. I played many scenarios out in my head. What to do. What to say. What if. It was all caused by fear. I've recently had conversations (asking for a trade) that most people are scared to have. Why be scared and have fear? What's there to fear? You control your thoughts and actions, no one else does (even though it seems like that sometimes). There's no need to have fear of the unknown. Take charge and live. Don't live a life of fear and regret. There will be ups and downs in your career. No matter where you play, every day gives you a chance to go out and get better. My advice to you before your season gets going is go out everyday and work on getting better. Don't fear how your going to play, where your going to play - just give it your all! Don't let fear control you.

Austin Smith

Sunday, 15 April 2012

April Newsletter - Time to Breathe

 Bob Wilkie

From Professional Player to #1 Mental Performance Coach for Hockey Players in Canada!


April Newsletter

Reflection: What just happened?

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't.
Anatole France

One of the toughest times of the year for me was the end of the hockey season.  It was always either bitter or sweet. I cannot recall even at a young age, not experiencing one or the other of them, depending on how the season had gone. 

It was not until later in my pro career that I  realized that it was important for me to understand what I had accomplished over the season. There were plenty of years where I was able to accomplish a lot.  I was fortunate to experience Provincials, Regionals, Nationals, and Professional Championships.  By the time I was 23 I had been a part of a Memorial Cup winning team, U18 National Team, Drafted in the NHL 41st overall, won the Calder Cup, won the Turner Cup, and scored my first NHL goal. At the end of all of those years it was a time of reflection and understanding that the experiences I had just had were shaping me into the man I am today. It was perseverance, dedication, pain, joy, disappointment, frustration, anger, sadness, motivation and fear all showing up in one season!  Each year gave me more to recall, to understand what I had accomplished so I could keep my head high and the build the belief that I could stay strong when things were difficult and challenging.  I guess that where all the wrinkles came from, it often seemed more bitter than sweet.

 A valuable lesson that I learned prior to winning the last championship that I would experience as a player, was to journal.  Mike Eaves was a coach that I had a history with prior to him being my coach in the Pro's. While playing for the Calgary Flames I admired his style of play, he worked very hard, he was also very smart in the way he played (had to be) We had met on a couple of occasions and his insights to me at 15 were gospel. In the early 90's he was starting his coaching career in Hershey for the Bears (Flyers affiliate AHL). Interesting how our paths crossed in Chocolatetown USA and the information he shared with me, the compassion and patience he  gave me created a better perspective on what this game was really all about. He encouraged me to journal and I am so thankful he did. I love to write and it has now become part of my career path.  It allows me to remain clearer than when I kept it inside.  It  was also a reminder of where I had come from and where I was going and  the experience I had gained as a person through it all. The words were the thoughts in my MIND and when they were put on paper they were now a road map for me to use on my journey. A journey that allowed me to travel the World, to see some of the 7 Wonders, to meet wonderful people and experience all that the World has to offer.

Journaling is like a map that continues to show me my course and the reflection it causes allows me to make improvements, to find motivation and create self confidence. 

I highly recommend that you (as a family) all sit down, talk about your season month by month from the start to the finish and  reflect on what this year of experiences provided for you. Look beyond the obvious and look  for the foundational values that you DID LEARN. I guarantee that you will have learned at lest one extremely important life altering lesson.  I hope that you see it and make it a part of who you are. Take your time and give thought to both the bitter and the sweet, grab a nice journal, a good pen and write it all down. It will do more for all of you than you can possible imagine.

For more information on our blogs, free inspiring articles, and empowering programs go you igotmind.ca today!


Bob Wilkie

I Got Mind, do you?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Trusting the Youth Hockey Process

The Youth Hockey World in Canada is a very important part of our culture.  We love our hockey in Canada and many many families participate in it in a very big way.

The foundation of the dynamic of youth hockey is based on volunteer community boards, volunteer coaches, and volunteer parents.  There are governing bodies who oversee the overall structure but there is no policing of the dynamics that happen at the volunteer level.  Shockingly there is no curriculum or step by step process for volunteer coaches to follow when choosing and deciding to take on the responsibility of a team.  The governing bodies provide very little training for these volunteers.  They are expected to know how to teach these young aspiring athletes when they are not teachers and we as parents expect them to know what to do and how to do it.  What a huge responsibility.

Parents have a huge part to play in the youth hockey world and not just in providing the equipment, money, time, and chauffeuring!  They are expected to support the coach and the players.  Often times the philosophies, skills and abilities of the coach to coach effectively can be challenging to align with.  Unless they have a clear and concise plan of action it can be frustrating to watch. 

Perhaps it is time to provide a curriculum, a step by step on ice technical plan as well as a mental development plan to help us all enjoy the experience more.  If this happens we could all relax and believe in the process to help our young aspiring athletes develop in the way the desire to.

What are your thoughts on this??

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Hockey Players - A Commodity

Deep experience is never peaceful.-Henry James

I am currently sitting and watching the NHL trade day and I find myself being taken to a time in my own career that is quite disturbing. TSN was interviewing Nick Schultz who was just traded to Edmonton and they were asking him "how did you find out"? There is a point in your career when it is not about fun with friends anymore. I was introduced to this when I was barely 17. I was playing for the Calgary Wranglers of the WHL, I was projected to be a high draft pick in the NHL draft that year (1987) and was excited as I had a new coach that communicated and cared about the players state of MIND. All things were looking great for me to have a year that would allow me to make my dream come true.

As I arrived at the rink and walked by the board that the coach had the evenings line up I realized that my name was not on the board. A couple of days prior my best friend and teammate had mentioned that I was talked about being traded. I called Wally Kozak (the coach) and asked if there was any truth. "Bob, there are some really good offers coming in for you, I cannot say yes or no, but the offers are very good". I was pissed, how could they consider trading me after I spent the previous year that was one of the worst and most challenging in my career to that point? 

I proceeded to enter Wally's office and he told me that I had been traded to Swift Current for four players. I was stunned, I was infuriated. That night we were playing the Broncos and the first question I asked was could I play that night. Wally said that part of the deal was that I could not play that night. I left the room without saying much to anyone. I called my parents from the pay phone (we did not have cell phones then) and informed them of the trade. They were as I was, very angry and shocked. I remember that my Mom was there within 30 minutes and stormed in John Chapman's office and went nuts on him. I was embarrassed and happy all at the same time. As the Broncos arrived my parents and I walked down to the opposite side of the building and met my fate for the next three years. I knew a couple of the players from the Olympic programs so at least I knew some of the guys. We talked with Lorne Frey and he seemed excited and then we talked with Graham James. My stomach turned when I saw him - he had the air of creepy to say the least. My Mom after we had met with the staff was very adamant that I was not leaving. My Dad and I sat and watched the game and tried to build something positive to hold onto. Our whole world was turned upside down.

We took a few days to process and talk about the situation that we were in. We did not feel very good, I was having to leave home, I was very young emotionally and was completely unprepared to leave everything I had in my life. My friends, girlfriend, family all to go and play. In my MIND I was confused and scared. I was going, there was no doubt in my MIND about that. I drove from the house with my Dad and I remember crying and thinking I would never return the same, the life I knew had ended.
The next time I was traded I was property of the Detroit Red Wings playing in Ft.Wayne of the IHL. I was 22 and fresh off a Calder Cup Championship, I had been shipped out of Adirondack, I had not panned out and the Wings moved me to make room for a new group of young players. I went into practice and all the guys were asking me what I was doing there. As usual, you think it is a joke, they handed me the newspaper and sure enough it said I had been traded to Philadelphia Flyers. I did not even know what to do or who to call. The coach was surprised that I had not been contacted.

The last trade I was playing in Hershey of the AHL and had asked Bobby Clarke that training camp for a trade because he had not even given me a exhibition game to showcase myself. They had resigned me to being a good minor league player. I was in the Maritimes and getting ready for my pre-game nap. The phone rang and it was Bob Murray from the Chicago Blackhawks telling me they had acquired me and asked how quickly I could be on a plane. I caught a plane and ended up in Detroit within hours. That one was tough as I was newly married and called my wife from the Montreal airport, I remember telling my wife "I was traded, I will be home in a week to pick you up, pack the house, I will call you later."
The game is tough. The game is challenging and you must understand that you are at the discretion of whoever is running the ship to be moved. I know the first time I was mad, the second time surprised, the third time I realized that it was a new opportunity. I now tell the players I work with to look at the positive that a team wants you. Go in and make a difference, don't carry the grudge because it will keep you from performing to the best of your ability.

You are a commodity, know who you are, they talk about how hard it is to find ROLE players. Define who you are and work on being the best you can be in the atmosphere you are in. If you are to be traded you want it to be because of the value you bring to your team.

Bob Wilkie

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Sense of Self

Sorry I couldn't sent it in a file, wasn't to sure what I could write about for the week. On the bus now and it just came to me. Here it is:

Over the past two weeks I was given an opportunity to play. To start a game. I haven't been given that opportunity since November 27th. I wasn't nervous until it came time for warm up. I found myself tense and uncertain of how the night was going to unfold. Nerves are never a bad thing let me tell you that. What you do with those nerves will determine where you go. I had been practicing and training for that opportunity for months. I ended up getting first star even tho we lost in a shoot out. After the game I found myself upset with the outcome of the game. I couldn't stop thinking about what I could of done more to win the game. That's just the way I work. I always want to be better and do more. That's the attitude you need. You will fail but you always need to get up and keep moving forward. The next night we played again. Once again I was given the start. My play was strong again but we lost.

I was given opportunity and I made the most of it. If you find yourself in the same boat, ask yourself what can I do in order to prepare myself for the opportunities I will receive.

A few things you can do are:
Visualizing yourself being successful
Be mentally prepared at all times.
Always strive to be better, give 110% at everything.
If you fall get back up and try again.

No matter if you play every other shift or game, once or twice a period, or once a week, you will be given opportunity. Make the most of it every night and you will see yourself growing stronger and stronger. Keep at it, if you fall get up and keep moving forward.

Austin Smith

Thursday, 15 March 2012

March Newsletter - Stress or Distress

March Edition 1


Stress or Distress?

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

One of the biggest issues I have seen in the last year, that I have to say shocked me, is that the young people of today are experiencing a huge level of stress. They wonder why they can't perform, why they are struggling with the coach, why they can't speak the truth to their parents. They are so fearful of failure and disappointing you their parents, the coach, their teammates and lastly themselves that they simple can not feel anything but stress.
Some shocking statistics in regards to teen stress:
  • 25% avoided or refused to deal with their stress, 
  • 23% sought ways to distract themselves away from their stress, 
  • 17% sought support, and 
  • 35% actively tried to reduce their stress.
So with so many of the youth of today feeling this way, how do we as the leaders and developers of the youth help them to feel better? First we have to be able to identify when our kids are encountering stress because often they will not let us in on the fact that they are. Second, we must have an action plan to help alleviate the stress. I have included both below.

What to look for in your child to determine if they are feeling stressed out:

1. Their performance is deteriorating, in school or in sport. They have stressed themselves to the max and have a tough time finding motivation to do anything well as they are starting the habit of self-doubt.
2. They have shut down communications. They will not speak the truth, they will tell you what you want to hear as well as their coaches, teachers, friends etc. Anyone who can judge them or make them feel wrong, they will not speak the truth.
3.  Erratic behavior and or emotional breakdowns. This is stress at a high level and needs to be addressed asap. If they are suddenly out of control emotionally please seek out help as this can cause many health issues and relationship issues.

If you have noticed any or all of the above your young athlete is trying to cope with something they have no experience in dealing with. We all know what stress does to adults and there are more and more instances of what it is doing to the teens out there.

Some Great resources for you to help are listed below:

My own personal experiences of overcoming stress and helping others:
1. Sharing my stories of failure have been the biggest healer, to know that we are not the only one out there with those problems is a big relief.
2. Helping the ones who suffer that it is all in their MIND. That they have the power to overcome and it is not based on anything other than their won perception of what is happening in their World, even if others have extremely high expectations of them. Self image and self forgiveness are two virtues required in any type of self healing.
3. Lack of FUN. They have to have FUN, so many young people who eventually quit cannot believe how good they feel because they have eliminated the stressful situation. What they do not realize is that they are developing the habit of quitting to avoid letting others down as well as themselves.

Monthly Reading Suggestions:

  1. Talent is Overrated - Geoff Colvin - awesome insights to the theory of how talent really is developed. I have used many of the philosophies, especially the deliberate practice.

  2. Mindset - Carol Dweck - this fascinating book provides insights to an open mindset or a fixed mindset.For your own personal development this is a MUST read.

I hope that this information sheds some light and helps provides you with some solutions!

Bob Wilkie

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Winning the Battle

Many days out of the last few weeks I’ve spent trying to figure out what my future in hockey is going to be like. I worried and got hung up on whats to come instead of the present. I look back at it now and ask myself why did I allow myself to have those thoughts creep into my head. My play in practice became inconsistent and effort in the gym decreased and when I got a chance to play I was average. I could blame it on the team for lack of defense, or being tired, but where’s that going to get me? I’ve come to realize that if you don’t believe in yourself, if you just go out and play because you have to and give a half assed effort, you wont go anywhere. If you give your best effort all the time even if no one recognizes it, your making yourself better.

The last month my coach has been talking a lot about percentages. We are in a battle for playoffs and he keeps on mentioning, “if we can all bring up our play by a few percent we will make playoffs” or “if we can bring down the percent of turnovers we’ll win more games”. If we as individuals did everything we do just a few percent better everyday just imagine how much better we would be just after one week. Then think after a month, a year. There will be people who take the easy way out and do their best for a few days then just forget about it and there will be others who do their best every second they get. I know I myself work hard on the ice, but once I’m at home I can be better. I can work harder on studying or doing my homework, eating healthier. There’s always areas to improve on. People are always watching especially when you least expect it. There will always be rough patches throughout our lives, but how you deal with those rough patches will determine your success.

Austin Smith

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

January Newsletter - Do or Do Not

January Newsletter

Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.
Carl Jung

I see so many young people out there struggling to find themselves. They struggle with confidence, consistency, communication and most importantly who they are in this crazy World.

My wife is a big fan of Cesar Milan (the Dog Whisperer) and will spend an afternoon watching the marathon of episode after episode amazed at how a dog can change his behavior because of the owner changing his. I giggle often thinking this show is not about the dogs, it is about the people. I find that the youth of today is very similar. They act as we act, they think as we think, they communicate as we do. The struggles we watch in our children, are they different from our own?

I am a firm believer that we are products of our environment. I was working with a company recently and the CEO  was telling me about some past job experiences he had, the negative atmosphere, the gossip, the complaining of employees about be over worked and underpaid. We chuckled about this because as he stated, "I had to leave, it was causing me to be the same way, it was difficult for me to go home and feel good."

In the sporting World the success or disappointment is about the belief and ultimately the actions of the group, starting with the grown ups (coaches and parents). If you watch any kind of team sport, the success they encounter is because of the culture. If they believe they are good and can compete for the Championship, most times they are in the hunt. Listen to the coach, the players, the words they use are positive and upbeat even after a loss. They have the mindset of a Champion in thinking that they can. The little engine that could? YES!

In your daily life how much are you in a bad spot? How much do you think of the negative, or engage in the gossip or complain about the situation? Over the course of the day with all of those thoughts, where do you find most of yours lead you? Now take a look at your team, do they do the same thing. Are the arguments like a broken record? Is the insanity of it happening over and over causing you to THINK poorly? The youth of today is extremely bright, they are in tune with so many things that happen around them even when it seems like they are not paying attention. They spend the majority of their time thinking of negative emotions (doubting themselves, fearful of speaking the truth, unable to be who they really want to be) and it is all because of their environments. School, locker room, home all contribute to their actions. We understand so little about how to get out of the box we spend so much time in. The more we do it, the more we fear trying to escape the insanity. We have become a product of the environments we have to participate in.

Some things I have learned to help change the culture, to get out of the box, to be unique and not try to fit into a culture that spends so much time talking about all the things that are wrong:
  1. Stop reading and listening to the news. (they preach fear and doubt for that is what sells and keeps ratings)
  2. Make a list of the things you want to change-then start to THINK of what you can do to change them.
  3. Have conversations that matter. (talk about the struggles, let people know what upsets you, so they can avoid acting that way around you)
  4. Do something good for yourself on a daily basis. (don't think of all the things people don't offer to you, do them for yourself, it is your life and how you feel is YOUR responsibility)
  5. Laugh. (It truly is the best medicine, and you KNOW it)
If the dog is stressed and aggressive, you have to be the calm and dominate influence, it is the same thing for us humans, someone has got to do it, why not you?


Bob Wilkie

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Hockey Moms - A Special Breed

Hockey Mothers are a very special breed of women! I just read an interesting article quoting Sarah Palin using the term Hockey Mom as a slogan for her campaign.

It apparently signifies a different level of Strength and Endurance Commitment and Dedication!  and a special set of behaviors!

From arriving at the  arena in large trucks or vans no matter what the weather - freezing rain, snow, wet and slippery roads) they brave it all to get their kids to the good old hockey arena!

Hockey Mothers have been known to cause some quite a stir for the opposition in the form of shouts and screams and they are never far away from their noisemakers.  Its like there wild side comes out at the good old hockey arena!

They are completely adaptable!  They endure hard seating in cold arenas and never complain, they have heightened senses during the games, they remember every play, see every infraction, have a photographic memory, and she is even willing to wear team colors in order to fit in.  They are some times known as the fur-booted Madonna of the Hockey Arena.! Cute but watch out if she is upset!  She is like a Cheetah when her kid is injured or appears injured!  She will fly over the plexi-glass at record speed and pity anyone who tried to stop her.  

Then after it is all over, the ride home is either a celebration of victory or a funeral like atmosphere because of a loss.  Its hard for a hockey mom to keep her emotions in tack!  She is even bigger than her mate when it comes to a presence at the rink!

I remember my sons' coaches remarking on how they wished my sons had my aggression! I laugh now as I realize I was a strong presence and a strong influence.  Remember Mom, they are watching!

Be an inspiration with your thoughts, emotions and actions rather than an embarrassment! They will thank you later!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Conscious Hockey Mom - What do Sons Learn from Their Mothers?

What sons learn from their mothers is invaluable to their development.  The love of a healthy stable mother makes boys stronger emotionally and psychologically.  Statistics have proven that boys with a strong mother influence do better in the world.  They have more courage and a stronger self of self esteem and self confidence.  Self respect and confidence are vital to every child's development.

Often the bond between mother and her young son can be so strong that it is hard for either one to let go.  There has to be a balance in the relationship where healthy development is allowed.  The Mother is required to know when to let go, to balance the dynamic between supporting and stepping back.  Clinging too tightly at some point will create a power struggle if Mom  does not have clarity around the emotional development best suited for  her son. If Mom makes it all about her need to control, her need to be the most important person in his life, the need to keep him close, there will be a power struggle.

Up to the age of 11-12 your son will look to you for all his  physical, emotionally and spiritual needs.  Shockingly, this can seem to change over night.  As he enters school and sports he will have an inner drive to be independent, to try to find his own way, his own rhythm.  He will not look to you for everything anymore.  If you are not ready for this change you may try to resist it.  This is where the power struggle comes in.  There will be a day when he will seem embarrassed to have you around, to let anyone know he has a good relationship with you.  He may push you away or shut down around you.  This can be alarming for a young mother  and if you are not prepared you may try to stop him from trying to fly.
A Conscious Hockey Mother has a higher awareness of her responsibilities at every stage of development. When a Mother is aware, she does a better job!

The Conscious Hockey Mother's program will provide you with guidance and direction in achieving a perfect balance with your son and allowing a greater rapport and relationship throughout his teen years.
I look forward to sharing this valuable information with you.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Warning: Generation Y Mothers Only

Welcome Mother's - this article is about the new generation "Y" child.  This is a child born between 1977-1998.  There are more generation 'Y' kids then there are baby boomers. This the most child centric time in history. There will be a new model of society as a result of this new child centric time and the technology that drives it.  This time is being called a "Cambrian Explosion" where there is more change in regards to our society values and ways of living than ever before in history.  The old style hockey won't work for the new kid on the block.  Just like the old style of making a living isn't going to work. 

This generation is unique in that it is based on a technology era never before seen or experienced in history. Technology drives their existence.  Computers, smart phones, i-phones, i-pads, games, social media all influences their every day lives.  As a result of this technology era they have specific clearly unique tendencies.  They are communicating on line as never before... texting, Facebooking, Twittering, blogging, all ways of expressing themselves with out have to actually make a connection.   They have become somewhat disconnected and there can be a sense of or illusion of a different world then the one that actually exists for them when they step out.  There has been a huge void in the development process around communication due to the technology they are used to using.  They are so brave and so confident on line and yet when you meet them in person they are often unable to communicate, to speak confidently, to express themselves.  

The hockey arena has been changing as we all see and understand however there is going to be a 'Cambrian Explosion' there as well. You will see more technology than ever before being used to help coach and to help develop the young hockey players.  There will be more use of video taping, more new and innovative ways of teaching the new generation of hockey players.  There will be a new hockey society as a result.

Statistics are shocking - 28 million kids quit organized sports every year due to the old style not keeping up with the new kid.  They have expectations and if the system doesn't keep up the system will lose them.  They will move on if the environment is not positive, reinforcing, technology based, and moving forward at the speed that they are.  If they are not treated in a positive way they will check out emotionally and shut down.  If parents, coaches and their organizations don't  keep up, they will lose the new kids on the block.

So Mom, how do you keep an open line of communication with our young athlete when he has more distractions than ever before?  Join our The Conscious Hockey Mothers program and learn how to keep the line open and positive!