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Archive for September, 2017

When my boys were playing roller and ice hockey, I coached their teams, head coaching for roller hockey and doing dry land training for ice hockey. Over the years, I had several players who would have a habit of getting down on themselves when they made a mistake, and it would throw their entire game off. Opposing players would see this, and use that to force them to make even more mistakes to mess with their minds and make them play even worse.

When I first started coaching, I didn’t quite know how to deal with this, other than pulling the player out of the game. But a good friend and fellow hockey player told me an important thing when I discussed my predicament with him: “You can’t get down on these kids when they make a mistake. You have to teach them how to play through it.”

I, of course, asked him how he dealt with it, and he said, “I explain to them that a mistake is 10 seconds. You’ve got the whole rest of the game to make up for it. And if you know what the mistake is, do your best not to make the same mistake twice.” Wise words for sure.

And I used these words over and over again throughout my coaching career. I didn’t ever want to be a coach that berated his players for making mistakes. I called the mistake out, and more importantly, ask them what they could’ve done differently. More often than not, they’d have an answer, and if they didn’t, I’d show them or draw on my dry-erase board what they could do.

But this isn’t just a sports lesson. It can be applied to pretty much anything…

At a recent gig, I was doing a lead, and go so wrapped up in what I was playing that I completely missed a change. It only lasted a few notes, but remembering what I had coached years ago, I simply bent up to a note that worked with that key, and lo and behold, I was back in the pocket! 🙂 After the song, we all just laughed. The only thing I said to the band was, “Oops…”

There’s no such thing as absolute perfection. But that’s the beauty of performing. Those spontaneous mishaps or misadventures can be easily overcome. You just have to not let it get to you…

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