Hockey Talk

Adversity, Diversity & Communications

Karin Lofstrom - participant, volunteer, leader, mentor and advocate for girls and women in sport and physical activity both in Canada and internationally.
Karin Lofstrom

Coach Shannon Miller discusses adversity, diversity and communications with Karin Lofstrom who specializes in Gender Equity, plus a note in history that was just made between men’s and women’s sport at the NHL All Star Weekend

Hockey Talk, sponsored by ugo Wear is presented by Shannon Miller

Podcast length: 32′ 18″

As coaches we are role models, and all of our communication needs to be honest, and this should eventually lead to trust and respect. Somewhere between 85-90% of our feedback needs to be honest/positive, depending on the day, the situation and the phase of development you are in. It is also very important to give honest corrective feedback when mistakes are made and/or improvement is required. It’s simply coaching – trying to help an athlete or team get better – some players can handle it better than others. But both are required.Shannon’s guest this week is Karin Lofstrom from Ottawa, Ontario who is a former college hockey player and a leader heavily involved in women in sport, specializing in Gender Equity, Diversity and Sport Management. Today’s Side Bar is about the history that was just made between men’s and women’s sport at the NHL All Star Weekend.  This week’s drill of the week will be “Tactical Continuous” – a drill that allows for 2v0’s, 2v1’s and 3v1’s – it will be posted on my FB page @coachshannonmiller on Thursday.  

Scroll down for Shannon’s notes below.

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Episode 16: Adversity, Diversity & Communication

As coaches we are role models, and all of our communication needs to be honest, and this should eventually lead to trust and respect. As coaches, somewhere between 85-90% of our feedback needs to be honest/positive, depending on the day, the situation and the phase of development your in. It is also very important to give honest corrective feedback when mistakes are made and/or improvement is required. It’s simply coaching – trying to help an athlete or team get better – some players can handle it better than others. But both are required.

Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach that won five NFL titles in seven years, and tagged “the World’s Greatest Coach” – said he made many mistakes each season – at the end of each season he would have a long list of mistakes he made– in the off season he would reflect on them and try to make fewer mistakes the next season. This is what we all must do. Encourage all team members to be patient when people make mistakes, because we will all make mistakes, it’s just a matter of time. But over time, the goal is to be patient with one another and make fewer and fewer as you go.

Success and failure are both crucial to the process of growth in relationships, and in forming a strong team. A team rarely becomes the best they can be without facing fairly major adversity throughout the course of the season. Encourage players and staff to ask for support when they need it, but not just from the head coach, from each other as well. When problems are identified, the staff, the team or whoever is appropriate, works together to de-construct the things that are hurting the team. Athletes are pre-conditioned – most of it is positive, but some of it isn’t, and it has to be de-constructed so it doesn’t harm the team. The same goes for coaches and staff. De-constructing requires good intentions, time and patience by both parties.

I coached a college team that had players from many different countries on it for 16 years. People, especially other coaches, talked to me about how difficult it must be to have so many different nationalities on the team. People felt it would divide the team. The truth is, we took the approach of “Open, Honest & Accepting” – and this led to learning about each others differences, really getting to know each other at a deeper level, and it brought us closer together. There was plenty of common ground between all of us, but the uniqueness of each one was accepted, celebrated and in the end it made us stronger as a team. We would have team potluck dinners where each group would cook a dish from a certain country, dress in garb from that country, and share some interesting facts about that country. It was fun for them to plan it and then host it. We knew we were unique, we had great team chemistry and we loved that about ourselves.

Coaches, some seasons will fly by with great team chemistry and very few problems – some seasons will be much more difficult – have the difficult conversations – deal with the ego’s, the jealousy, the gossip, the lies – do the work – go into it – and work your way out. Again, this takes time and willing participation from both parties, but it’s worth it.  Get to know each other through open, honest conversation – this will

allow everyone to go “deeper” – get to know people’s intentions – good intentions should be allowed to go along way – bad intentions need to be re-routed/nipped in the bud.  Give each other “passes” on mistakes made – it’s how people learn and grow – it’s how teams get to know each other at a deeper level, how they learn to respect each other – and everyone deserves that.

Things will happen on your team, but once they’re over, try to get everyone to move on and live in the present. You can do this by setting common goals for the NOW and CREATING a plan together on how to make the future you all want, a reality. It’s also a good idea to introduce some “fun team time”, like team building activities.

Becoming a strong, successful team is a process. The process takes time. Trust in the process.

SIDE BAR: A moment in history for NHL hockey, women’s hockey and all sport.

This past Friday night, during the men’s NHL All-Star Weekend in San Diego, Kendall Coyne made history by being the first female to participate in the NHL Skills Showcase. Kendall Coyne competed in the Fastest Skater competition, achieving an amazing time of 14.346 seconds. Kendall, who is 5’2”, 125 pounds of explosive energy, unleashed her speed and confidence to finish 7th, own the moment, and make history! A shout out to Kendall Coyne, and a step towards equality in the game of hockey.

Another woman who has led the way, playing college hockey when it first became a letter sport for women at the U of Saskatchewan, and now residing in Ottawa, Ontario, is my guest Karin Lofstrom. Karin and I played college hockey together at U of S and she went on to become the head of the prestigious CAAWS organization …Canadian Advancement Association for Women in Sport.

Karin now owns her own business called KL Sports Consulting, specializing in Gender Equity, Diversity and Sport Management.

Karin and I played college hockey together back in the good old days when there was full body checking – and when Dave King was the coach of the U of S men’s team – and our two teams worked closely together under the leadership of Lori Boesch and Mike Babcock. Welcome Karin….

Questions:

1. I just talked about Kendall Coyne breaking a glass ceiling by her surprise participation and amazing performance in the NHL Skills Competition – you’ve been around sport your whole life, what are your thoughts about the glass ceiling?

There have been a few women that have coached in the NBA – Nancy Lieberman – Sacramento Kings (2015-2017); others who are still presently coaching: Becky Hammon – San Antonio Spurs; Jenny Boucek – Dallas Mavericks; Natalie Nakase – LA Clippers; Kristi Toliver – Washington Wizards….AND a friend of mine has been coaching in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers since 2017 – Katie Sowers – Katie is a Receivers Coach and we met speaking at an Equality Event in California.

2. What do you think about women coaching men?

3.  Gender Equality is the view that men and women should receive equal treatment and should not be discriminated against based on gender. This is the objective of the United Nations Universal declaration of Human Rights.

NCAA Gender Equity: An athletics program can be considered gender equitable when the participants in both the men’s and women’s sports programs would accept as fair and equitable the overall program of the other gender.

What are your thoughts on this and how does this relate to sport in Canada?

Gender Bias

  • women need to understand the consequences of gender bias. Once women understand we can help men understand.
  • The same qualities that make a male coach great make a female coach great – mental toughness, good communication, skilled coaching, discipline, emotion, focus, energy, confidence, commitment, passion, winning!

4. Ken Hitchcock, who’s the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers now, he didn’t put skates on until late in his life – he wasn’t an elite player – but he did win a Stanly Cup in 1999 w Dallas – that was 20 years ago – he is a respected coach and presently has a job in the NHL as a head coach. I’ve met Ken and absolutely respect him as a coach. BUT women are not afforded that same respect – why?

Harassment and Abuse in Sport

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Karin Lofstrom
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