Why Coaches Shouldn’t PUSH Players

Did anyone else catch the interview with Phaneuf prior to the game last night?  Naturally they asked about the ‘un-salute’ from the other day.  He dodged the answer and instead of saying – ‘I can see where our timing was poor on that one’ he talked about something else, but he did mention that the team would have to put in a ‘really good effort tonight’ – I am paraphrasing.

But the point was – we are going to have to really try to night.

Is it the coaches’ fault then that the Leafs gave up 15-odd goals in two games?

Is it because Randy failed to motivate his players?  Is it because Randy did not push them enough to perform?

Here’s Why Coaches Should Push Players…

Or at least you shouldn’t have to ‘push’ athletes.  Working hard when it is time to work ultimately comes from within.  My job as a strength and conditioning professional is to create an environment that fosters excellence and create programs that will deliver the desired result.

My job is not to prod a reluctant athlete to do what is the bare requirement for success – put in the effort.

I want you as a coach, trainer or athlete to be aware of this and to be wise to the athlete who claims, the workout wasn’t hard enough for me.

I will routinely give a player energy system workouts to do on days when they are not in the gym.  That workout might be 10 x 200m sprints with 100m walk in between.

So that is 10 all out efforts of 30+ seconds – have you ever tried that?  Around rep 4 you should be starting to wonder how you are going to have the energy to make it home.

Around rep 5 you should be wondering how you are even going to survive the next two reps, let alone FIVE more.

There is no technique required really.  No room for misinterpretation of what to do or how much weight to use – just go out and smash through the sprints.

So you can imaging my joy when I ask a player – ‘how was that ESD workout’ and they reply ‘not bad, pretty easy‘ and then they go on to tell you how hard they want to work and if you could put together a really tough workout for them.

I think some coaches foster this in their athletes.  A coach who’s team I trained in the past would repeatedly tell me to ‘really push them hard‘.

These players are 16+ years old, so old enough to know how to work hard.  I put together a very tough routine, with a lot of high intensity intervals – this was going to be a metabolic strength routine with a stamina emphasis.  Here is just one of the stations – Tabata push ups, so that is 20 seconds of as many push ups as you can do followed by 10 seconds rest and repeating it 8 times.  You try that and see how easy it feels.

Your world should be going dark by the 6th rep – but the players still had smiles on their faces and enough energy to joke around after 8.  Not the workout’s fault – the players’ fault for failing to seize the opportunity for excellence.

You MUST Motivate

Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that a trainer or coach should not motivate their athletes.  I will help an athlete get that extra two reps or ‘coax’ them to push that little bit harder – that is one of the big benefits of working with a trainer – we all need a push some days.

BUT – if an athlete ONLY pushes themselves when they are constantly being kicked in the pants, that athlete will ultimately fail to reach their potential.

It is like the kid who’s parents did their math homework all through high school and then they head off to University and have to do it for the first time themselves and they have no clue.  FAILURE.

I hope this doesn’t sound like a rant, it is not.

It is a reminder that ‘heart’ comes from within.  You need to think about your goals and how they fit in with your dreams and let that drive you to seize every opportunity for excellence that comes your way.  A good coach or trainer will know when and how to give you the push you need will outstanding results, but you still need to have your own internal drive.

Find the heart to push yourself when no one is there to do it – all those extra efforts over time will add up to monumental gains over time.

Just ‘doing’ the workout is not enough – you need to dominate every single rep and set.

Sometimes that will mean working on the little things with patience and sometimes that will mean going after the big things with ferocity.

But know that your success or failure rests squarely on your shoulders and you are responsible for making it happen.

Say what you will about the fans at a Leafs game.  Maybe there are too many ‘corporate’ seats and not enough opportunity for raving fans to get into the stands and electrify the building…BUT…the fans are not the cheerleaders.  It is not the fans’ job to motivate and get the best out of the players.  That needs to come from within.

How many of us would dare show up for work, do a crappy job and then blame it on our customers?  It just doesn’t work that way.


PS – keep your eye on your email Thursday for something big.

The Off-Ice Training Program For 10-13 Year Old Goalies And Skaters.

The Off-Ice Training Program For 10-13 Year Old Goalies And Skaters.