You Get What You Tolerate!

Add this to your list of clichés, “You get what you tolerate”!

Here is another, “Stop asking why they keep doing it, and start asking why you keep allowing it”!    Another, “You get what you expect and you deserve what you tolerate”!

These quotes hit home with any good coach because it is one of the most important parts of the job.  After all, it’s human nature to take the easiest path of least resistance to accomplish a task.  In doing so, corners are always cut, things are always forgotten, and details are always missed.

So how do you “Push” players to be more consistent, work hard, go the distance?  The answer is, you have clear standards and expectations and you make it a priority to meet those standards and expectations.  You need to think about what you expect in a game, and then make sure players do the same in practices.  The connection between practice and game is extremely important.


  1. Kariya Start – At coach’s edge we expect players to start fast, in any and all drills.  We commonly show players the following video of Paul Kariya in an NHL all-star game race.  Here is the link    The important part though is making sure that players continue to do it, inspite of fatigue etc.
  2. Going the distance – Make sure that players are finishing drills hard.  It is one of the first signs of “giving in”.  Players will start standing straight up before they are done. Here is a good drill called “dot to dot” that works on going the distance and leadership qualities.
  3. Start the season off right- Hold players accountable to your expectations from the beginning of the year.  If you are inconsistent it is very hard to get them to consistently work at the level expected (all the time).  If you do it right, the players will always work hard in games and practices with very little coach influence.
  4. Have good indicator drills – Have drills that will show you whether or not your players are ready for the next level of drill progression or not.  These drills can be used to indicate whether or not you need to work on it more.  You almost always need to work on it more.  Here is a great passing indicator drill

One of the best feeling you can get as a coach is when players start becoming self-sufficient.  When the coach can just stand there in a game and say “change”!  If you ask your players the right questions, and demand they go the distance, this can be accomplished.

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What does the BEST TEAM in the world do?

At we are constantly trying to look at what can make us better coaches. We all know that giving timely and specific feedback is important yet we seldom do it and when we do it is usually more general and team oriented, not individual and specific. We want to challenge you to find ways to give corrective detailed feedback whenever possible and try to give more feedback during practice and a little less during games. Keeping in mind that feedback should be about growth, this will keep the player positive and receptive to the feedback.

The video attached is from an article written by Rett Larson who works with the Chinese diving team.  I originally saw it on  To say the Chinese diving team is dominant is quite an understatement. At last years World Cup of Diving they won gold and silver in every single event they entered.  In other words, in nine events, no diver from any other country beat a single Chinese diver. This isn’t new: over the past four Olympics, they have won 24 of a possible 32 gold medals.

There’s a lot that we at think translates to hockey in this list: how it cuts against conventional wisdom; and how it describes a culture that consistently nudges performers to the edges of their envelope (for proof, scroll to the 2-minute mark in the video, and watch as a diver attempts a never-before-done dive, and ends up making what undoubtedly ranks as one of the most spectacular back-flops of all time). In short, they have created a culture that is very detailed and specific, with lots of immediate feedback. They have also created a culture where athletes are encouraged to try new things and that failing is an important part of the process.

With our team that went to Nationals this year we implemented much more video analysis of individual players skills than ever before (not just game footage), we also really tied the drills we worked on into game situations which allowed us to implement our systems while working on skill development. For us this was a breakthrough in coaching because it allowed us to continue to get better all year. We didn’t stop to work on systems, our systems were already there because of the way we implemented our drills.

Take a look at the video and see if it sparks any thoughts in how you can coach differently. Let me know if anything resonates with you.  Obviously we won’t coach exactly like the Chinese diving team but maybe there is something we can take from this very successful team.

You can get more information on coaching from our website

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How to Develop the best Hockey Habits! Do we need to focus on systems as much as we do????

One of the things I disagree with the most is the notion that we don’t need to train the players technically (skills) as much as they get older.  The word “systems’ is on the way out, and rightfully so.  When players do things properly it is easy to coach them to do whatever tactic we want.

Hockey Canada’s model progresses from 50% technical at Novice to 35% at Midget.  With an increased focus on individual tactics, team tactics, team play and strategy as the player gets older.  The problem is that many players will not advance to the next level (desired level) if they do not have the technical skills to play at that level.  I seldom hear that a player didn’t make a team because they weren’t tactical enough or had poor strategy, it is almost always because they lack a skill set or have an underdeveloped skill set.  If you watch an NHL team practice they continually work on skill development even more than the players in minor hockey.  Why?  Does that make sense?

Now, before you click away from the site, thinking I am just one of those guys who is against the system. Just read a little further.

I believe that many of the tactical skills can be taught while working on technical skills.  I believe that if you TEACH and progress the players with an understanding of WHY they are doing things, as they work on technical skills, they will develop the proper Hockey Habits to be successful with any team.  Getting players to adjust to a system is not hard if the players have the right hockey habits in place.

To do this we need to think and plan more as coaches.  We need to get the players to apply what they learn in practice to the games.  I believe that most coaches put in countless hours preparing for practices, looking through coaching manuals, searching the internet for the perfect drills but where we fall short is in the teaching.  Drills don’t teach players, coach’s do.  And WHY can’t our drills teach the right habits and work on technical skills at the same time.

“If the players can’t do it technically, they won’t be able to do it tactically” (Don Lucia)

This change in mindset is not easy, but will transform your coaching into a much more effective and productive way.  As coaches we have a responsibility to develop all of our players and in doing so we need to be prepared to teach them.  Players will be more successful and have more fun and have a better understanding of the game.  They will also be ready and more prepared to learn tactical systems because they have the proper habits in place.

Visit to learn more about the art of coaching, the power of three (drill progressions), the five pillars and much more.

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Playing Fast -What does it mean-How do you Train for it!

When most people speak of a players speed they mean how fast they skate. There is no doubt that skating is a big part of playing fast but there is more too it than that. Playing Fast has to do with how fast you adjust to the game situations, how quickly you react to the changing dynamics of the game.
When we train our Coach’s Edge players we train them to play fast by
1. Tempo – All drills start at full speed, players don’t take a few strides to get to full speed, we ask them to start as fast as they can right from the start. We concentrate on the details of their play and make sure they are trying at full speed.
2. Passing – We incorporate drills in which the players must pass and receive at full speed. This not only gets their body parts working independently but it also makes them look ahead of the play, helps to teach proper support and makes them think fast. The best skaters are not always the fastest players!
3. Proper Passing Skills- Players are often slowed down by improper passing skills or bad passes. Players must learn to receive the pass so that the puck is in a position to pass again as soon as possible. If they can’t do this they will have to slow down to receive the pass or even have to chase after the puck after they have received it. This is a major flaw that most coaches allow to happen. Too much 1 touching of the puck can lead to poor skills and the players are unable to play at full speed.
4. Proper drill sequencing – Drills are designed for error detection and correction, you need to focus on the details! Using the coach’s edge Power of Three Principal we line up our drills to progress the players to a more advanced “faster” speed.

Visit Coach’s Edge at for more information on the power of three and our 5 Pillars of Training that will give your players the edge they need to be successful.

More Speed=more Fun= More Success

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Preparing for National Finals – Telus Cup

As Coach’s Edge coaches Doug Raycroft and Dan MacDonald get set for todays Semi-Final Match up against Quebec we needed to solidify our teams beliefs and concepts as we prepare for the game.  In doing so we decided to show the following 3 short video clips to enforce the ideas and solidify our squad.

Video #1 is a short clip from the movie “Miracle”.  It is really a trailer for the movie in which the clips show the similarities between the 1980 USA team and our Strathmore Bison squad.  First and foremost when choosing the team we wanted to get the “right players” not necessarily the best.  We wanted players with a solid work ethic and commitment to working hard to improve.  A growth mindset is extremely important in an athlete.  We also were shut out of the awards at the Telus Cup awards banquet and this reinforces our belief that a solid team can win and we are definitely the underdog.  The video clip can be found at

Video #2 is a youtube clip that is on “Terrier dogs Ratting”.  It shows the ferocious nature of the Terrier, how quick and excited they are to work and just how effective they are with that type of energy.  We hope to tie this in with our team work ethic and how we want to pursue the puck and drive the net.  The clip can be found at

Video #3 is a clip from the movie Major League.  It is the one (I’m sure you’ve seen it) where “wild thing” Ricky Vaughn get the call to come in from the bull pen and finish off the game.  We wanted this clip as we thought it was a good way to finish the short meeting off and focus the players on our job and encapture the positive vibe of this pressure situation.  It is also a little on the light side and pretty funny.  You can find the link at

As we go into tonight’s game we have told the boys that we have been underdogs since the first round of the playoffs, no one thought we would get this far (except us) and dispite everyone’s beliefs we know we have a great chance to pull it off and need to go into the game excited and confident.

Coach’s Edge techniques and strategies have led this team to where we are now and even though the players have come a very long way, the game is played on the ice and the individuals need to play the game to the best of their abilities.  Every team at Nationals is very good.  We finished in 3rd spot at 3-2 but have a deep belief that we can beat anyone here with a solid effort.  Since we finished 3rd in Southern Alberta we have already proven e have what it takes.

You can find out more about coach’s edge by visiting our website at

“When anything comes from the heart – Any energy – Any action – It comes with a passion that is unstoppable!”  John Phelan – Sports Psychologist

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Telus Cup 2015 – Day 1

Well the trip east for Telus Cup was long, exhausting and demoralizing.  We switched planes, had delays and set ourselves up for failure (no fault of our own).  Game 1 against a very good Quebec team was not our best performance and I think as coach’s we need to realize that fatigue can really affect performance.  So, where do we go from here???

We saw things that we haven’t seen from our team since November.  Arguing, bad penalties.  Also we were sluggish and didn’t move the puck well.  (usually they go hand in hand b/c their isn’t any support).

Today, we woke up and ate.  Went for a walk and had a meeting.  Really we need to forget that first game and focus on what makes our team good.  We need to do the things that make us good.  Forget the distractions and focus on performance.

That being said we have added some passing to our warmup and changed our focus for the next game.  We will use this week to prepare for the weekend.  Look for some upcoming posts to this blog about “playing with distractions”, “hockey politics” and more Telus Cup blogs.

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New blog

Test Blog. More to come

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