excellence in coaching






I have tremendous respect for Mike Babcock, the coach of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team.

He combines pragmatism with an intense work ethic and brutal honesty. He is fantastic at what he does, and does it with modesty and a complete lack of self-consciousness.

In an interview after the Wings third consecutive loss, a stretch during which they have been outscored 12-4, Babcock had this to say:

“We’ll have to get to work (Thursday) in practice,” Babcock said. “If we’re not going to work in games, you can bet we’ll work in practice. We’re gonna get some work ethic back, because there’s no way we’re going to have 22,000 people watching us play like that. That’s absolutely unacceptable. … Mental and physical, we’re awful.”

I imagine that the players all groaned audibly when they heard this — no player wants to hear those words from their coach, and I imagine Babcock on the ice with a whistle would be quite formidable (in italics to encourage you to pronounce it the French way so as to be even more intimidating).

I believe my teaching style may mirror his more closely than maybe it should. He’s working with adult men who can skate 45 mph and have legs like tree trunks. I’m teaching 7 year olds.

Something to think about.

1 Response to “excellence in coaching”

  1. February 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    This is a really tough issue, I reckon. What is good leadership / coaching / teaching / child raising? It seems to me that all of these are related, and that a man with tree trunk legs might be just as fragile as a seven year old girl. How do you tell them they can do better while maintaining, or even strengthening their self-confidence?

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