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Accountable Athletes

In Leadership, Sports by Coach Brock

In the middle of the 2008 season, David Ross was cut by the Cincinnati Reds and thought that his professional baseball career may be over. He eventually signed to be a third-string catcher with the Boston Red Sox put played sparingly for the remainder of the season. After the team lost in the 2008 American League Championship Series, General Manager Theo Epstein told Ross that he had heard some rumours that the catcher was a bad teammate but added that he had not found this to be the case in Boston. Ross was concerned about his reputation: as a free …

Team Building on the Curling Sheet

In Mental Training, Sports by Coach Brock

With the last bonspiel of the curling season upon us, I wanted to discuss the evolution and improvement of Team Gushue over the past two seasons. While they ultimately fell short of their two major goals in 2018 – representing Canada at the Winter Olympics and repeating as World Champions – Brad Gushue’s rink achieved a level of consistency that only one other team (Niklas Edin) can match at the moment. Taking the next step to become two-time Canadian champions and frequent winners on the professional circuit required the Newfoundland curlers to address several areas of improvement off the ice. …

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Mental Training with Virtue & Moir

In Mental Training, Sports by Coach Brock

As coaches, we become myopic, scrutinizing every last detail of our own sport and ignoring, dismissing or perhaps even ridiculing other disciplines. On the surface, the attitude seems rooted in rationality. After all, how can a sport decided by judges be comparable to one which determines the winner based on points scored in a given time? Yet we should take a look around and see what is going on in the neighbouring pitch, rink or dojang. Improvement knows no boundaries. Firstly, we wouldn’t be coaches if we did not seek to fuse the objective with the subjective. Secondly, some of …

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Recovery & Regeneration in the Playoffs

In Sports by Coach Brock

As the regular season concludes, the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans are wondering whether they should go the extra mile in order to ensure that they surpass the Kansas City Royals in the standings and earn home field advantage throughout the World Series. Manager John Gibbons is making his first appearance in the playoffs and needs to make a good impression but he must be careful not to push too hard. There remain viable arguments as to why the team should try to finish first, featuring their improved hitting at home, but I do not think that home field …

Learning from Losing

In Sports by Coach Brock

It was an eye-opening loss for me. Some losses you’re angry about and some losses you learn from. That loss, I think I learned the most from in a long time. I got so much better after that loss. I was able to improve a lot. I worked on things. I didn’t see the results straightaway. But months later, I started seeing the results, more and more. Serena Williams, reflecting upon her loss to Garbine Muguruza in the 2014 French Open.

Do Things the Right Way

In Sports by Coach Brock

If you do this job half-way, then you’ll be a half-way basketball player, you’ll be a halfway-student. You have to do things the right way. Earvin Johnson Sr. to his son about rushing through his part-time sanitation job and the importance of working hard.

Inspiring a Shared Vision

In Sports by Coach Brock

Sometimes, the toughest thing to do is get everybody pointed in the right direction or share the same vision. When you have the same group together for so long, I think it’s easier to understand when you have to reinvent yourself or make changes. That’s true in any walk of life – not just baseball. Experience is also the ultimate coping mechanism when it comes to crisis management. Brian Sabean, General Manager, San Francisco Giants

Coaching Points from the Georges St. Pierre-Hendricks Fight

In Sports by Coach Brock

Some preliminary thoughts about GSP’s narrow decision victory:  It was reasonably apparent that GSP won the 3rd and the 5th rounds and Hendricks won the 2nd and the 4th. Previous N.S.A.C. decisions have shown that you have to beat the champion soundly to dethrone them by decision (for example, Henderson-Edgar II). First impression bias (like that first takedown GSP scored at the beginning of the fight) can make powerful impressions on some people. You have to try and win the fight/game/match/contest as clearly as possible. I don’t think that Hendricks’ corner should have told him that he was up 2-0 after the first …

If

In Sports by Coach Brock

If by Rudyard Kipling (and Recent Observations from the Wide World of Sports) If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;

Climbing the Mountaintop

In Sports by Coach Brock

In life, it’s very difficult to get to the mountaintop, because one day leads to another day and leads to another day. There are small wins and losses in the process. You win an election or lose an election. You can close a deal or not close a deal. But in sports, what you can do as a team, a with your fans feeling part of it, is show what’s possible for human beings to achieve if they work together, if they care about each other. Winning the title gave resolution to people who didn’t have much resolution in lives, …

Conflict in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

In Sports by Coach Brock

A week into the playoffs, the National Hockey League has surpassed the record for suspensions for the entire Stanley Cup playoffs (nine in 2012 compared to eight in 2011). Media outlets have been complaining about lax discipline and fans have been mocking the league and the apparent lack of oversight. While this has generated a tremendous amount of coverage and interest, it will ultimately prove disastrous for the sport.

Winning Football Teams

In Sports by Coach Brock

Last Sunday, the Detroit Lions played on Sunday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints. The young team, comprised of talented young draft picks, committed eleven penalties, including three personal fouls and were shredded by the efficient Saints who exercised control in their precise offensive sets and discipline on the field. Tonight, the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Cleveland Browns. While the physical defense has struggled with league rules regarding hits to the head, the team has been remarkably consistent over the past twenty years, frequently making the playoffs and winning two Super Bowls. The Steelers have drafted late in …

Learning from the 2011 Boston Red Sox

In Sports by Coach Brock

Good coaches promote ownership of the program by all of the stakeholders. Everyone – players, coaches, trainers, support staff and sometimes parents – is responsible for the team’s success. Some may contribute more than others but everyone needs to know that what they provide to the process matters to the outcome. Every action, from individual workouts to practices to meetings, enables the team to progress towards its goals. When a program experiences success over a long period of time, generating this feeling of ownership becomes easier; people want to be involved in success and become willing to take initiative and …

Sport Management

In Sports by Coach Brock

Having recently read two books written by former General Managers – The Road to Hockeytown by Jimmy Devellano and The Inside Game by Wayne Embry – I have been pondering the importance of clear direction in sport. Whether it is the entire organization or specific individuals, integrity is as important as talent. Teams that change course every off-season are at a disadvantage relative to those who can commit to a strategic plan. Devellano built the Red Wings from a last place finish in to a four time Stanley Cup winner by the turn of the century. He stayed true to …

Resilience and Environmental Factors

In Sports by Coach Brock

The recent World Cup has proven to be an excellent opportunity to showcase resilience (or lack thereof). Asamoah Gyan may have missed a penalty shot over the net because of the high altitude or the defective Jabulani ball but he still needed to compose himself, take control of the situation, and score another penalty minutes later. Resilience allows individuals to persevere in the face of adversity. Sport and play helps youth experience “to experience social competence, empathy, caring, problem-solving skills, critical and creative thinking, task mastery and a sense of purpose and connectedness” for the rest of their lives (Henley, …