Hockey Talk

Fore Check and The Fearless Coach

Becky Carlson, rugby coach
Becky Carlson

Shannon kicks off the new year by discussing coaching with The Fearless Coach Becky Carlson, the challenges that women face in leadership and how she is supporting female coaches, plus how to play Fore Check

Hockey Talk, presented by Shannon Miller, is sponsored by Instat

Podcast length: 36′ 18″

Shannon Miller’s first guest of 2019 is NCAA Rugby Coach Becky Carlson who is one of those women on the front lines, fighting for women, fighting for female coaches, and doing her best to create a better reality for all of us. Becky has 12 years experience as an NCAA Rugby coach, winning three consecutive national championships, and was a Division I dual sport athlete herself. Becky is a champion for equality, a voice for women in coaching and the creator of “The Fearless Coach” – an online vehicle for mentorship and support of female coaches.  And Shannon’s team play this week is Fore Check as an important part of defensive Team Play.

The full transcript of this episode plus Shannon’s notes can be found below.


The Drill of the Week is on Shannon’s Facebook page @coachshannonmiller 

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Shannon’s Notes

Fore Check – The TRAP

The TRAP fore-check is a simple 1-2-2 fore-check, just higher. The purpose of the TRAP is to protect the middle of the ice and force the opponent up the wall. To steer and trap.

Game situation – the opponent has control and your team sets up in the Trap.

Let the opponent’s defenseman make the first move. Then F1 steers the puck carrier towards the wall, using an inside out skating pattern with the stick in the cut-back lane. F1 steers up the wall, F2 is above and steps down to help trap. F1 provides under pressure, F2 top pressure. F3 locks middle, and D1 & D2 are in the neutral zone and inside the dots.

If F1 commits and the opponent moves the puck D to D (or a cross ice pass), then F3 steers insides out and D2 steps to help trap. F2 comes across the ice hard, and slides in behind D2 pinching to trap. F1 keeps feet moving, comes back through the middle and leads with her stick. D1 holds middle.

When your team dumps and changes, TRAP coming off the bench. Discipline. Safe.

Game situation – team dumps and changes – have the far side winger stay on while the other 4 players change. The winger steers outside in – steering the opponent up the wall TOWARD your team bench. This winger stays on to sacrifice herself while 4 sets of fresh legs come out. This winger tries to force the opponent up the wall toward your bench, and then she is able to change easily on the back check as she is headed toward the bench. The player that replaces her to join the 4 fresh players on the ice needs to have awareness – she may be able to stretch or get in behind the opponent for a breakaway – awareness coming off the bench.

Side Bar – With where we are at in the women’s movement, I believe we are just getting started. For all of us, having a vision is important. Vision is the ability to see beyond our present reality, to create, to invent what does not yet exist. To become who we not yet are.

My guest today, Rebecca Carlson, is one of those women on the front lines, fighting for women, fighting for female coaches, and doing her best to create a better reality for all of us. Becky has 12 years experience as an NCAA Rugby coach, winning three consecutive national championships, and was a Division I dual sport athlete herself. Becky is a champion for equality, a voice for women in coaching and the creator of “The Fearless Coach” – an on line vehicle for mentorship and support of female coaches.

The platform of the Fearless Coach and how it came about. 

What it means to be fearless as a coach and how coaches put this into action.

Becky is an author on issues in coaching and team culture development, Becky most notable piece “An Open Letter to the Athlete We Must Stop Recruiting” is currently one of the highest viewed articles on the business and networking platform, LinkedIn.

They discuss a recognition of leadership challenges that are occurring in athletics and ask if this is a shift almost like a shot across the bow of what’s to come and how it should be addressed.

Outside of equality within athletics, Becky mission continues to be education in the area of supporting coaches and returning accountability and high standards to the responsibility of the student-athletes.



[00:00:00] This is Season 1 Episode 13 of Hockey Talk on WiSP Sports. I’m Shannon Miller and at WiSP Sports we believe women in sport deserve equal coverage. Hockey Talk is presented by instax a video product that is used by professional teams around the world. In today’s episode I will talk about for checking systems and using the four check in different game situations as the forecheck is an important piece of defensive team play. My guest this week is Rebecca Carlson an NCAA a coach of 12 years in women’s rugby which is an NCAA emerging sport. Becky is a three time consecutive national championship coach and a former former division one dual sport NCAA athlete Becky Carlsen is a champion for equality and a voice for women and coaching. She is the creator of the online social media mentorship and support for female coaches called the fearless coach today sidebar will be about women and vision. And this week’s drill of the week will be some full ice and half ice for checking drills that drill of the week will be posted on my Facebook page at coach Shannon Miller on Thursday’s thank you for joining me. I’m honored to have my own hockey podcast show on WiSP Sports. And to be part of the most popular and influential podcast Organization for Women in Sports globally. Today’s podcast is titled forecheck and The Fearless Coach.

[00:01:32] Now today I’m going to talk about the four check called the trap I have had a lot of questions people asking me what’s the difference between a 1 2 to 4 CHECK AND THE TRAP. The simple answer to that is the trap is a 1 2 to 4 check but it’s higher in the zone higher on the ice you don’t go as deep into your opponent’s zone so it’s up higher when I use the term higher. That’s what I mean. You don’t go as deep into the zone on the forecheck back so it’s a 1 to 2 but it’s higher. So just try to imagine F1 as the first player into zone and she’s got f2 and f3 behind her and then D1 and D2 in behind F2 enough 3 so there’s some weapons some depth to this for check the defensemen are inside the dots. EF 2 and EF 3. Kind of depends on where the opponent is with the park but they’re typically above the blue line or just inside that offensive line. So F1 goes in and they patiently set up in a 1 to 2 and they wait and you let the opponent’s defensemen make the first move. Once they make the first move whether to pass or they start skating the park for the breakout F1 now steers aggressively. Feet moving stick in the cut back lane so they can’t cut back on you and you’re trying to steer the park cure up the wall so that F2 who’s above and behind AF1 can jump on that pass to the outlet player or the higher player or help track. If that defenseman gets the puck up the wall. So F1 stairs f2 and f3 are above the defenseman are in behind inside the dots and that’s the setup for the trap. You make the opponent make the first move and then everybody adjusts F1 and steers 2s above and steps down to trap and F1 continues underneath so there’s pressure underneath and pressure from on top and f3 simply comes through and locks the metal the deer in the neutral zone and in between the dots so they are safe defensively. Now if F1 goes in and commits and she’s steering and she’s got her stick in the cut back lane. They happen to beat her and go to d across the ice smack across ice pass. It’s very simple. Now F3 who’s on the far side no on the strong side where the puck is F3 now takes an inside out angle and she’s going to try and steer that defenseman or park carrier up the wall whether to skate it up the wall or pass it up the wall. So F3 now becomes a 1 so F3 comes in and feet lubing stick in the cup at Blaine. I stare up the wall and D2 steps in K D two steps down to help trap. So again you have pressure from underneath. That’s F3 underneath and you have D2 stepping down on the wall to help trap F2 slidin behind to cover for D2 who stepped up to trap so F2 comes across hard through the metal and supports and behind D2 who’s now pinching F1 keeps her feet moving and she comes back through the middle leading with her Steck so the trap is like a one to two. It’s just higher and you allow your opponent to make the first loop and then you’re trying to trap them on the wall whether they’re skating the puck or passing the puck up the wall. You steer them to the wall and you try to trap them on the wall. And the defensemen like I said are behind for good position and safe defensively. Now when we dump and change when your team dumps and changes always trap coming off the bench if you dump and change and the opponent already has possession they they’re starting to come up the ice. You want to immediately go into a trap coming off the bench. It protects the middle of the ice. It forces the opponent to the outside and you’re organized and together coming off the bench. So it’s a discipline for check. It’s a read for Chac. It requires discipline. It can be effective especially on big ice. Now as far as dumb thing and changing I do get a lot of questions on it should one forward especially when you’re still on the ice to check. Yes. So there’s different scenarios in the game if you’re in a situation where your ear or you guys dump the park and you need to change. I typically will ask one winger the far side winger to stay out on the ice and sacrifice herself to steer the opponent up the wall towards our bench. So she goes out and takes it outside an angle not inside out. Like I talked about earlier but an outside angle just trying to steer the opponent to break out of the wall. On the far side closest to our bench. So she keeps her feet moving tries to pressure them up that wall so that she very easy for her to come off and change because she sacrificed herself by staying on the four check. This allows the other four players on her line to go out change and get fresh legs on the ice. So no that Farside winger or Colver F1 is steering outside in trying to force the opponent off the wall on our bench side your bench get four sets of fresh legs on the ice. And now it’s very simple for her to change. She just follows through. She’s for checking back checking it’s very easy for her to come off and then that fifth player come off the bench with fresh legs. So hopefully that answers a lot of people’s questions on the difference between a 1 to 2 for check as well as the track as well as how do you what kind of four check system should you use when you’re coming off the bench. Those are two different game situations. One you would have someone stay on and pressure and the other one would be all or he would just go into a trap. Today sidebar with where we’re at the women’s movement I believe we are just getting started. For all of us having a vision is important. Vision is the ability to see beyond our present reality to create to invent what does not yet exist. To become who we not yet are my guests today. Rebecca Carlson is one of those women on the frontlines fighting for women fighting for female coaches and doing her best to create a better reality for all of us. Jackie has 12 years experience as an NCAA rugby coach winning three consecutive national championships and was a Division 1 dual sport athlete herself. Becky is a champion for equality of voice for women in coaching and the creator of the fearless coach an online vehicle for mentorship and support of female coaches. Becky I’d like to begin with a couple questions specifically about the fearless coach. What is the platform of the fearless coach and how did this all come about.

[00:08:04] Thanks for having me on Shannon. The Fearless Coach is an interesting concept that came about as you’ve said I’ve been a college coach for the last 12 years and I’ve seen many things change in that time and you know during my tenure after one of my most successful seasons which was my very first national championship I became aware on campus of abuse of athletes on another team and I attempted to blow the whistle on that and that ongoing abuse based on the athlete’s testimonies had been happening for a few years and I went to the higher ups and it was made clear that that was something that was to remain internal. So at the same time my team was also actively vocalizing their disagreement with our former university presidents dismissal of our programs national championship and some other issues of inequality and treatment. So needless to say it did put a big target on my back and I figured it was only a matter of time before I’d be under some kind of scrutiny. So a few key athletic department members who were involved in keeping the athlete abuse quiet were active in pursuit of any unhappy players with in my program and just like that I was I was reprimanded and I had a permanent letter placed on my file that I was abusive that I was insensitive to mental health which it was essentially the start of a paper trail.

[00:09:19] So I was called many things in that letter manipulative and pushing a female agenda on my players so it was it was devastating it was it was all untrue and I went to work for about the next six months and I felt like I had the flu every second I stepped on the door and I didn’t coach like me I was sugarcoating I was completely turned upside down. I trusted no one in that department outside my assistant coach is coming through and one day I finally broke down and I went to get a physical because my body was shot I was losing weight. I wasn’t sleeping during that physical I asked to speak to a counsellor and she said something to me that changed absolutely everything that I think I should give person credit for helping me start the fearless coach because she said if you don’t feel like you can speak out or coaches or authentic self and that’s creating so much turmoil if you do lose your job would you feel worse that you lost it. Playing to their standard or could you breathe easier knowing you went out still holding onto your values and your true self. And in that moment I decided she was right. I decided to be fearless and I haven’t looked back since and I wasn’t going to mute myself and let them win and I wasn’t going to give everything I had to my team. You know with without recognition I couldn’t give everything I had to my team without taking care of me first so I went into work the next day and I just flat out made a choice to stop worrying and I began writing. I began writing articles on women and coaching an athlete entitlement or lack of communication and recruiting as a kind of therapy and a way to connect with other coaches who were struggling just like I was and it was amazing because I won two national championships after I made that decision in the middle of all that I finished up creating fearless coach because there were countless coaches mostly women who went through scenarios similar mine but most had lost their job or were working in these oppressive departments and they were just expressing so much hopelessness and I wanted to help and I still do. So this is this is why we talk about it.

[00:11:14] Well yes and as you know we’re very much and you and I and our philosophies with regards to coaching as well as you know how athletes should be handled as well as how you interact with administration. But staying true to your core values your principle values as a coach and what you believe you need to do to win and to do the right thing and doing the right thing is always the hardest thing to do.

[00:11:35] So to you. What does it mean to be fearless as a coach and how can coaches put this into action.

[00:11:43] That’s a fantastic question Chad and I think that a lot of these forums that we’re looking at now that women are our have a lot of helpful information but there’s not that many action items that we can we can pursue to try and change our world. And I think it’s interesting concept because it’s so much easier said than done as a coach or a teacher today or telling people how they need to be instead of showing them or providing them stuffs. And I don’t think that’s any different than telling an athlete to be confident or to have more confidence when they need opportunities to build that belief in themselves. And we have to provide that to our athletes the same way we should be practicing that as coaches. And this means examples like staff meetings and just every day in her office dialogue participating in workshops or doing something outside your comfort zone at your institution. I talk to countless women and I’m sure you’re in this group as well that just you feel isolated at your institutions and reaching out. Is it something we like to do because we don’t like to admit that we’re struggling and we don’t feel anyone else is going through what we’re going through. So you know that part of it of you if you’re that person that sits in those staff meetings or in those workshops or you go to these seminars to try to be better and you’re just you’re just a bystander and you have thoughts and feelings and actions that you want to share and you’re not. It’s the same things that we get frustrated with our athletes when we pose the question to them and it’s and it’s silent because everyone’s afraid of that judgment. I think we need to give ourselves more opportunities to demonstrate and stretch our fearless legs. I don’t think we do that enough as as women and I started doing that and staff meetings I would hear something and I would directly ask the question. And it still shocks people I think and I had many people come up to me and you know I was thinking the exact same thing I just didn’t say it. Well it’s you know that’s where we are the people that are raising the other ships to be able to address those questions and to raise our hands and to be part of of solutions rather than retreating back to our offices and you know and having our own private caucuses about what we think needs to change because that’s just not getting it done.

[00:13:47] Well exactly. And Becky you’re familiar with the lawsuit myself. The softball coach Jen Benford and the basketball coach now Weil’s all from the University of Minnesota Duluth. I’ve had my own federal trial by myself which I won convincingly quite easily. And now the state trial things are in front of us. You are familiar with our case and the things that you’re mentioning are the things that we all were feeling as well. Jenna and I were talking because we were partners and we are partners but we were not talking to a now Weils and everyone was isolated in dealing with these issues on their own including the track and field coach as well. And then when I stood up and said I’m going to sue the university for the dismissal the firing of myself and Jen Benford said the same thing. And we started talking openly about how we were being treated and things that have been going on for years. That’s when the basketball coach was like oh my god they were treating you like that Shanna Miller you’ve won five national championships your division one coach. They were treating me like that too but I didn’t want to come and talk to you because I’m a division 2 coach and there’s no way I thought you were being treated like that. As an openly gay woman and she said that to me and she said I wished I would come and talk two years earlier. But it literally took me going forward and public for her to have the confidence to come and talk to me and for her also to put that foot forward and go public and sue them as well. And so what we all have learned through that process is that many of us have gone through and are going through it and we really do need to be there to support each other to talk openly about it and do whatever it takes to help help each other navigate through it and also give others the courage to stand up and do the same right.

[00:15:32] I couldn’t agree more with that concept. I think it’s that it’s that initial I think are if I could compare it to anything and not the strongest comparison.

[00:15:40] But it’s it’s like women in athletics today and suffering in our own circles is a little bit like a bad night of karaoke where you just think you could never get up and do it until you see somebody else. So it’s like we just need to come to terms with the fact that you know it’s OK to share that we’re struggling and that we all may have something in common about where that source of struggle is coming from. Be that a specific person be that a policy or a standard that’s that’s just been shaped or placed in the way of our progress. And when we start to have that dialogue and come together as you did with the genocide and that I think that that’s that’s huge. But again you know it’s the same reason that I’m right because I know that each like each like that I get on these articles or even an engagement or a question it’s a risk it’s a big risk and you know that and you risked everything you risked everything to go for some accountability. And and that is it’s rare. And we can we can we can say that I wish it wasn’t as rare. I know you don’t want to be the only one. You and Tracy Rosander and Beth Burns don’t want to don’t want to be alone that is not your goal your goal is to inspire other people but it’s it’s the ability of society to say well. Shannon Miller just disgruntled and this is a one off that it’s not a one off it’s not a one off. That it happened it’s a one off and a and a and in a rare occasion that someone fights back and I think that’s the that’s the difference in all of this and we want this to be more common which is why we which is why we talk about these things.

[00:17:17] Exactly. And by us suing collectively the three of us as well as people like yourself writing openly and mentoring these female coaches and helping them navigate through all of us. You and I are both learning. There’s more of them than we even knew. I mean they are just coming out in droves contacting you contacting me asking for help asking for advice. And so I think what we do is incredibly important but it’s very important for those women to continue to come out and to speak up and to reach out and we can all help each other. And that’s definitely the direction we’re going with the women’s movement today.

[00:17:51] Sure. Great. Hope so Becky is an author on issues and coaching and teen culture development Karlsson’s most notable piece is called an open letter to the athlete. We must stop recruiting. This letter is currently one of the highest viewed articles in the business and networking platform linked in.

[00:18:11] So Becky you talk a lot in your writing about there being the shift or a recognition of leadership challenges that are occurring in athletics. Is this shift almost like a shot across the bow what’s to come and how do we fix it.

[00:18:27] You know I I think it’s so interesting and it’s alarming alarming at what’s happening right now and I only know this because of and you mentioned it already the countless calls and e-mails that I filled from coaches who are you know there absolutely they’re burned out and do not feel supported in their respective departments. But I think this is bigger than burnout. Shannon I think that we need to recognize and I don’t know if there’s too many administrators or even coaches out here who have considered the repercussions of this shift and we need to recognize that this generation and this generation of coaches by that I mean the head coaches of the ages 30 to 55 in the profession. We are the last buffer between the current administrators leading these departments and the student athletes we are the troops on the battlefield listening to the issues of our athletes and we are dealing with them firsthand. So the next generation of coaches is coming out of these current student athletes many of whom have been catered to by the same administrations and sidestep their coaches. Now let’s just all collectively think about this for a second with this buffer of coaches just like you and me being eliminated from athletics in a very specific methodical and often illegal way as you found out the athletes of today are tomorrow’s coaches. So this is a generation of athletes where parents and society have provided them with a clear message that power is distributed evenly in everyone’s view is important and no one is to be left out or denied in the process of creating and implementing standards and policy. Can you just imagine when the boots on the ground are coaching generation especially our women have been eliminated in order to appease the system what happens. How do we imagine that this current generation of administrators. How will they handle that want and that need from the next generation to eliminate the very clear and widening gap of these professional silos that many of our athletic departments are saturated in and they really don’t know how to reverse it the old way. It just doesn’t work. So the lack of collaboration understanding of what coaches do at the bottom because we’re at the bottom. No matter how much we win especially women we’re at the bottom. It’s completely foreign to those at the top. And even those at the top who are trying to understand still I think in a way fear coach empowerment. It’s fearful to them rather than exhilarating or exciting or hopeful. And I think we can help each other but that means that the old school hierarchies that exist must vanish. We must listen we have to sit around in circles rather than putting the power up on the stage and demanding that everyone listen in silent staff meetings because it doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work. So I want anyone listening to this to think about this for just one minute. If we as coaches are being asked to adapt in our behaviors to reach this generation in order to be more effective leaders how can we as coaches not demand that the same transformations and Eberts within our departments be made. So we aren’t the only ones being asked to be so philosophically nimble. So think about that. It’s a message that says we don’t want we don’t want to change to lead us coaches. But you have to change as coaches to lead your athletes complete conflict that dates back to the earliest and most cliche phrases as if to say Do as I say and not as I do which we all know as coaches is the quickest way for our athletes to lose confidence in us when we don’t walk the walk and Jenna we’re going to burn for it. We’re going to burn for it and if we don’t change and women cook women coaches are the first casualty casualties of this. And I know this because it’s already happening now and you know it.

[00:22:11] Well exactly. And your piece that you did on Pat Summit. Would you mind just sharing that with our listeners. Because I thought it was incredible. And I know it was a while ago but I keep referring back to it and I used that when I’m talking to coaches that reach out to me. Do you share that with everybody.

[00:22:29] Sure. I think Pat is is. There is no nobody that is in sports can debate what kind of contribution a Pat Summitt gave to not only women’s basketball but women’s sports and just her just her affect that she had on people in her leadership I think it was just this raw energy that was just she meant business. And I think it’s so interesting because Pat is just this this she’s this beacon of what it meant to be this fantastic coach and we revere her in these ways that I don’t think we’re revering some of some of our best female coaches right now for doing the same things essentially that she did. Only they don’t have you know a generation of beauty basketball basketball tenure behind them.

[00:23:17] So what I mean in writing that was listen if we don’t buckle down we can we can talk about Pat and we could talk about the coaching greats but if we don’t buckle down right now and recognize where our gender bias exists and how we handle female coaches and their interactions with their players or other forms of motivation or their their level grit and exterior and toughness where we’re having to think about what our face looks like when we’re speaking to a player because we don’t look kind enough and we’re not motherly enough.

[00:23:48] If we don’t fix this right now people saying who’s the next Pat Summitt we are not going to have the opportunity to see another one. And I think that one of the most powerful things in that article was that we may have missed or already and because of this this trend where women are are eliminated out of coaching in these in these and talked about underground messes that are created by departments. I think this is this is this is where we’re going wrong. And I think that the more we come out from behind the shadows talk about our experiences the sooner that we’ll be able to accept that them that women are ok being strong and not just OK that they’re thriving being strong that our female athletes need to see that but we may never ever see another Pat Summitt in the way it with the pattern of behaviors that we’re seeing now in Africa departments where you’re supposed to nurture and you know the same way that the male basketball coach or the male ice hockey coach or the male tennis coach gets into you know the space of their athletes and his firm or or puts a standard in place. He’s seen as tough and he’s seen as you know someone to look up to and it really just has his has his whole whole coaching philosophy in line and he is the man.

[00:25:07] But when women do that it it’s frowned upon it’s seen as abusive. And I think that’s why we’re seeing a lot more of this surface where we don’t understand the definition of a tough coach and we sure don’t understand the definition of a tough female coach.

[00:25:21] Oh yeah you’re dead on the most recurring theme that I experience when I’m talking to female coaches that have will continually reach out to me for help as you know as a female when we are strict. We have high expectations we hold people accountable and we try to create a really strong team culture. We’re mean we’re angry. You know we’re whatever the what whatever the adjective you want to use and when the male coaches do the same thing they’re strong. They have good discipline coaches disciplinarians. They’re successful and they’re revered and so obviously I experience that you continue to experience that. So did John. So did Annette and so have so many female coaches that are reaching out to me and we’ve got to work hard and we’re going to have to fight back to create that change and it’s a fight.

[00:26:08] It really is and I think if you look at even just something that’s more socially relevant in the moment I think there was just a recent post that went out on social media that was exposing the men’s basketball coach from Penn State where it was just a small clip. And many people can say that you know based on social media when things are spliced in a certain way it’s up for interpretation. But I think this clip in particular of the scene where there was a time out and the head the head coach of the men’s basketball team went at his player and shoved him in the chest. And you see later that the athletic director there stated publicly that this was a mistake and he was going to be he was going to be suspended for one game and that this was not characteristic of that coach and I think it’s very interesting how we take those stances and what it is that we’re actually looking at.

[00:26:55] Because when you go back and look at that clip that that type of behavior and the body language and the way that the players almost didn’t react at all. That shows you that that behavior is typical that shows you that the behavior is is quite common when when the athletes don’t pause for a moment and in that moment when one of the players was shoved out another player stepped in and almost looked like it was motivating to them to see their coach push another player that way which was alarming to me. And the second part of that that was that was more alarming was just the fact that even after the players got together the coach was still glaring at that player.

[00:27:35] So. So it wasn’t really about a lesson it was more about anger in that moment and for the athletic director to sugarcoat it in that way and not take that any plain person with a set of eyes could see. I can tell you how many how many women have been exposed on tape for pushing their players zero. I can tell you how many women would keep their jobs after they did something like that. And the number is still zero. So I think that’s what is so interesting about it too but it doesn’t mean because we’re and often people will tell me Well that was wrong. Any woman or man doing it that was wrong. Fine I agree with that but it’s still a demonstration in a contrast of treatment following a behavior. And I think that is there’s a lot of administrators out there that are hardwired to recognize that male aggression is something that is motivating is something that is positive is something that’s making boys into men when in reality when you know if anybody again talking about Pat Summitt remember Pat some it’s glare. The players they talked repeatedly about the glare that Pat could give you.

[00:28:41] They didn’t feel they didn’t feel like they were in danger they didn’t feel like they were being abused but they got the message. And my one of the most interesting things too is you know when I when I listen to why I listened to major division one coaches talk about their experiences sometimes it can be a little bit difficult for me to connect. I always try and listen to what it is that the messages that they have. And I was recently listening to one where she was talking about how you behave as a coach and saying you know back then I didn’t have to think about what my face looked like. And when I’m now when I’m reprimanding a player or when I’m sharing something and I’m be passionate or intense I have to I have to think coaches out there. You have to think and women coaches. What does your face look like.

[00:29:29] And for me I thought I thought I was I frowned upon that advice a little bit because I don’t know one male coach that I know personally that would say aha I got really got to worry about what my face looks like when I’m when I’m reprimanding a player if we’re not doing that for the men.

[00:29:46] Why are you worried about as a woman and I think that’s something that we need to work with with our leaders of tomorrow and today to understand what coaching what the definition of coaching actually is and and some of that if we’re not holding you know passionate and holding of airports passionate male coaches to the same standard you know as we would if we were we were reprimanding a woman for holding her player accountable then then this is where we’re going wrong.

[00:30:16] Excellent excellent. Great conversation. One more Becky outside of equality within athletics your mission continues to be education in the area of supporting coaches and returning accountability and high standards to the responsibility of the student athletes. Can you elaborate on what kind of issues and leadership we are facing as coaches and what some of those repercussions will be and are and tie that into the responsibility of the student athletes.

[00:30:47] I sure can. I think that you know this is going to have to be an understanding.

[00:30:53] There’s a there’s a two way street here and I think that when we’re in our departments when we are reactive to issues and we’re not we’re not versed in collecting facts nor are we used to respecting our coaches in the same way as we would the testimonies of our athletes. I think that when that imbalances is being created I think that we’re we’re losing that accountability and we’re a society now of endless do overs. And I I say do overs with all the love of my heart because it’s no different than the professor or the teacher that is becoming burned out because you know it’s OK for someone to miss a paper or to not show up to a class just because. And those those educators being without repercussions and I think we we have strayed away from standards because whether that’s litigious fear or parental pressure or a desire to maintain an image with the public of of that were student oriented I think that that’s a huge issue so outside of equality. It’s a huge part of my mission to to educate parents and high school coaches and even college coaches about what conversations we need to have because I don’t think every I don’t want to be one of those people that resorts to calling this generation hopeless or just labeling them as we do all generations.

[00:32:21] I don’t want to do that because I do think they’re capable and I do think they’re they’re relatively sharp. But you know my my my biggest message and I do this with my team each year and if there is a particular label that they feel that that is plaguing them or they feel that they are being put into a box with what kind of behaviors their generation exhibits you know you give them examples and ask them OK well here’s an example why are you not like this generation. Do you fit this or do you not. And tell me why. What kind of behaviors do you exhibit to not match what the stereotypes are about your generation and what can you do to work against that if you truly believe that that is not who you are and that you are ready to be accountable you’re ready to to seek out ways to improve your levels of grit and ways to meet those higher standards rather than delivering excuses. So that’s a big part of it too because I don’t I don’t. The great thing about what I want to do is and you’ll see this on social media. If there is an issue of of of athlete abuse or coach there’s a coach that was fired unbalanced I know that not every coach is perfect and I know that not every athlete is perfect. So so we really need to come to terms with the fact that it’s not an all or nothing in every single situation. And you know that is a huge huge part of the platform of how we teach coaches who are getting athletes at the college level who have had almost zero practice and training in the area of emotional resilience. And you know just self self self coping. And you know that’s a big big part of it.

[00:34:04] That’s awesome Becky. As expected you were an excellent guest on the show. Would you like to share with our listeners how people can find you on social media if they want to interact with you.

[00:34:14] Sure you can actually listen to this hopefully and be a little bit inspired to throw me a message or look at some of the helpful information that’s on the website which can be found at and all of my information and contact and there’s actually a contact form on there is available so we can we can interact and I will get back as soon as possible. Thank you to Becky Carlson.

[00:34:43] Follow and comment on social media. Twitter is @WiSPsports. My Twitter is @Miller12Shannon. My Facebook and Instagram is at Coach Shannon Miller. My website is Check out the latest drills of the week that I post every Thursday. You can find links in the show note for this episode at and find more coverage of women’s sport. Thanks for supporting women in sport everywhere.











Photo: Becky Carlson
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