Hockey Talk

Cultivating Unselfishness and Winning

Jackie MacMillan, ice hockey coachJackie MacMillan, ice hockey coach
Jackie Macmillan

Shannon exposes more of the personnel issues facing coaches and offers valuable advice on how to cultivate important traits such a unselfishness in a team to create a winning atmosphere and her guest is Coach Jackie MacMillan

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

Podcast length: 43′ 22″

Shannon’s topic this week is Cultivating Unselfishness and Winning which is one of the biggest challenges coaches face. She offers a number of constructive ideas to help from setting team goals together to emphasizing team goals on a regular basis and getting to know the players the best you can so you can help them get the best out of their experience.  Her guest is Jackie MacMillan who is in her 9th season as head coach, Division III a St. Scholastica in Duluth, Mn.  Jackie played Division I hockey at UW – goal tender. 

Scroll down for Shannon’s notes.

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Shannon’s Notes:

Can a coach cultivate unselfishness?

In this day and age, one of our biggest challenges as coaches is cultivating unselfishness. Here are some ideas to help in this area:

  • set team goals together, and emphasize team goals on a regular basis
  • post team goals/visual reminder + refer to the team goals when at home, on the road, and in meetings.
  • only discuss personal goals in private – lead that conversation to how those personal goals can be strived for while achieving the team goals
  • hold several small group communication sessions where players will be more likely to speak openly and freely. 1 AC, with 5-7 players. Listen to their needs, what’s on their minds, no judgment, just support.
  • Create a ‘team brand’ – with guidance from the coaches the players decide who they want to be as a team – who they want to become together – how they want to be viewed by others, etc…
  • create individual awards within your team, but make sure the awards reflect values that will help you achieve your team goals – example: Spark Plug Award – outer spark the team needed/any player could win this award; Hardest Worker – hard hat – player that wins the footraces, plays physical, blocks shots, back checks, stays on to fore check and sacrifices themselves so teammates can change, etc…
  • teach your players that to think ill, to speak ill and to act ill towards a teammate or coach, damages the team – it creates cracks that can get bigger over time and opponents can attack; it’s like the analogy of pulling on the rope – if your not pulling in the same direction, you become the opponent
  • Get to know the players the best you can so you can help them get the best out of their experience – it’s not your responsibility to make them happy – but it’s important to try and help them get there, because when they are happy themselves, there is a better chance they will be happy for others.
  • IT is more difficult to be selfish with people you like and in an atmosphere where honesty prevails.

Coaching Tips for Winning:

  • WANT to just PLAY the game or want to WIN the game? We are playing to WIN – everyone must understand that – staff, players & administration
  • Good habits and discipline must be a daily commitment
  • Players need to practice under pressure and be pushed, to create the good habits, work ethic and skills needed to perform under pressure in a game.
  • Coaches should be enthusiastic, unselfish, and channel energy in a positive manner
  • Stay loose, be inspirational and fun in the moments that allow for that
  • Be disciplined, tough, and have a focused energy in the moments that require that
  • Incorporate fun into practices, video sessions, team travel and games
  • Be creative AND motivational
  • Lead with a strong vision, and exude confidence and passion
  • Be clear about expectations and hold people accountable
  • Lead with an unwavering commitment, emotion and perseverance
  • Believe in the players and team goals. Breathe belief into them when you sense doubt. Breathe confidence into them when you sense fear.
  • Be innovative and try new things. Encourage players to be innovative and try new things.
  • Take risks and encourage players to take risks. “Progress always involves risk; you can’t steal second base with your foot on first.”
  • Let the players know that making mistakes is OK. The goal is to make fewer and fewer mistakes as the season goes on. Don’t confuse making mistakes with allowing poor habits or a lack of effort. You are always striving to do the right thing, but mistakes will be made.
  • Draw the lessons out of winning and losing games and emphasize that you win and lose together, always.
  • Strive to make fewer and fewer mistakes – AND always play to win.
  • “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in awhile , you don’t do things right once in a while , you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately so is losing.” Vince Lombardi


  1. Update on the law suit – Federal and State.
  2. Announcement – A film maker is doing a documentary on my life –  including the law suit and win at federal trial +  what’s still going on with the 3 head coaches and our State Claims.




Photo: Jackie MacMillan supplied


  1. Anne Flannery

    March 3, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Love all of the great content on women’s sports! Terrific.

    • WiSP Sports Editor

      March 4, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you Anne, appreciate your support.

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