I thought I would never coach again. Everyone asks me are you going to coach your daughters Craig?
‘No probably not’!
The girls are just starting to skate now and we haven’t pressured them in anyway. The girls didn’t enjoy their first few experiences on the blades so that was that.
Honestly I feel awful for not being more available to take them to the rink. That trend is going change.
Obviously, hockey continues to be a big part of my life in so many different ways. Nevertheless, I came to the realization that a return to the coaching ranks would never happen and quite frankly I was perfectly ok with that. Everyone asks if I miss it? Of course I do.
Coaching was my life, it was my passion, you don’t lose that and for me that passion has developed in other areas, but once you coach it’s part of you.
You can avoid it, you can stop, but you can’t escape that feeling of being behind the bench.
First and foremost I miss practice and being around the team helping them develop or seeing young players or any player buy into the message, culture, identity and systems.
All this time I thought I didn’t miss coaching games, oh boy I was wrong.
I guess things happen for a reason.
Walking into a dressing room when you only know one or two players personally and getting a team ready for a game after only watching them for one game can be a daunting task.
Ok, downright frightening, but in that moment as coaches it all comes flooding back.
Call it instincts; adrenal or excitement, walking into that dressing room two years ago meant something to me.
When you prove to yourself that you can lead it’s empowering.
Walking into a room and introducing yourself to men and getting them to believe and play as a group, was something that I often never think about, but for that night in that moment you are all in, fully invested and committed.
As the coach it’s up to you to get all the players to believe in themselves, but more importantly believe in you.
First impressions are everything! So how the hell do you do that in one encounter?
Well, that’s what was going through my mind all day yesterday.
How am I, a complete stranger, and an outsider going to reorganize, energize and motivate a room to get the most out of the team and set players up for success?
In that moment as a coach you have to open yourself up, you have to expose your passion, love and knowledge for the game.
They need to see you care. They need to see it in your eyes, in your conviction. They need to understand that tonight we are going to compete for each other.
They need to recognize that you have their back. They need to trust you.
I don’t have all the answers and I’m certainly not the “be all end all” of coaching, but for one night we built that trust, for one night we played for each other. For one night we were a team. Win or lose we were a team and I was so proud of their effort and commitment. I never thought I would coach again, and yes I miss it!