Hockey Talk

Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional

Calgary Inferno, ice hockey, Shannon Miller, Kristen Hagg
Calgary Inferno

Continuing the progressive and positive approach that is Shannon’s modus operandi this week’s theme emphasizes growth and development with encouragement and re-enforcement among coaching staff 

 Hockey Talk, hosted by Shannon Miller, is sponsored by IN STAT.

Podcast length: 23′ 41″

Calgary Inferno, Kristen Hagg PHOTO: Chris Tanouye/Canadian Women's Hockey League

Kristen Hagg

On this week’s episode the topic is expectations and accountability with the emphasis on the fact that change is inevitable, growth optional. Shannon encourage coaches to take a progressive approach, to develop a vision and a strategic plan.  “It’s important to encourage, teach, and re-enforce , and extremely important to be positive the majority of the time, to reward good work ethic, good attitude and good intentions.  Shannon’s guest is Kristen Hagg, the General Manager of the Calgary Inferno — a professional women’s hockey league of the CWHL.  Kristen previously played for the Inferno before becoming the Assistant General Manager. She is also an attorney.  This week’s sidebar topic is stress. Coaching can be stressful;  stress plants the seeds of illness, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, and increased blood pressure. Coaches need to take care of themselves first to then have the health and energy to take care of others. The Drill of the Week is on Shannon’s Facebook page @coachshannonmiller .

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This episode focuses on expectations  and accountability, and the message will align with the quote, “ Change is inevitable – growth is optional.”  On each episode I encourage coaches to take a progressive approach:
– adapt to changes in the game, and help change the game yourself
– introduce new concepts, drills, face offs, and ideas
– to challenge yourself, your staff and your athletes
– to model growth – to push yourself and your athletes outside of the comfort zone – reach, stretch and grow
to leave the ground and ascend!

First – develop your vision, then your strategic plan, and then get to work;
– start with pieces – chip away at every aspect of the game and every opportunity for growth
– our goal is to operate at a higher altitude – everyone.
– now, volatility is inherent in growth.
– turbulence, rough air – but it’s a sign that your ascending
– anticipate the nay sayers, the players that may cause problems bc they don’t want change – they want it the way it used to be – what they know and are comfortable with
– when pushing people to be the best they can be – when you have high expectations – when you hold people accountable – turbulence will present itself – keep it steady and keep ascending and coaches, expect set backs – but don’t let in one ounce of doubt – keep you vision, work your strategic plan and bring people along
– expect the bumps, navigate through them and continue to ascend.

Expectations and Accountability
On previous episodes, I have talked about being clear in setting high expectations for you, your staff and players. I have talked about the importance of accountability.
Coaches, we teach systems, good habits, good attitude and disciplined play.
Continue to encourage, teach, and re-enforce……it’s extremely important to be positive the majority of the time,,,,it’s extremely important to reward good work ethic, good attitude, good intentions.
but also remember to call them out in areas where they need to be called out on, and to hold them accountable.
There is a great book called “Earn the Right” – earn the right to be on the team, to wear the jersey, to play….and then collectively, earn the right to win. It’s all about the sacrifices players make – how hard they must be pushed to really create inner and outer long lasting growth – how they must pay the price so they know they have earned the right to play and earned the right to win. It’s a book I highly recommend for anyone that wants to win a championship – male or female – any sport.
And another book that tells it like it is, called “The Spark and the Grind” – talks about the importance for all of us to have a good work ethic and grind it out through good times and bad.
But it also talks about how important it is to have the spark – The outer spark and the inner spark.
Inner spark – to spark yourself when you need it; Outer spark – to be the spark your team needs when that’s all that is being asked of you and maybe all you can do at that time.
If you’re fortunate enough to be playing a regular shift, and maybe have the privilege to be on the PP or PK for your team – The Spark and the Grind are both expected and needed for the success of the team.
For an athlete that may not be playing much (or at all) on a particular day, they aren’t being given the opportunity to grind it out “that day at that time” – but obviously they have plenty of chances to be the grind and the spark at every practice, and they will be given opportunities in future games. It’s important they accept their role on that day, contribute greatly however they can, and help the team to “Earn the Right to Win”.
Athletes must park the ego. It’s very simple – the team comes first. The athlete is being given the opportunity to wear the jersey, be on the bench, and contribute by providing a spark for their teammates. An opportunity to be part of the game, part of the growth, and earning the right to win.
Teammates notice the maturity, unselfishness and energy that another player gives them, or the bench, or the entire team – coaches’ notice – it makes a difference and it matters.
William Shakespeare, “ Act well you part, there in lies the glory.”
Striving for excellence isn’t a burden – having high expectations is not a negative thing – it should excite us, push us and propel us to become the best we can be.
In my many years of coaching experience – the players that actually do develop the Grind and the Spark – that do Earn the Right to Play – that hunger to be the best they can be – that contribute to their team Earning the Right to Win – are the players that want you to demand the best from them. They expect it and they embrace it.
Growth is a process – yes there are growing pains – it’s a constant pursuit – and it’s magnificent.
Have high expectations, make them clear and hold them accountable.
Champions are not born, they are made.

Now I’d like to introduce my special guest from the world of women’s hockey – Kristen Hagg is the GM of the Calgary Inferno in the professional women’s hockey league of the CWHL. Kristen used to play for the Inferno, was the Ast GM and now has the honor and responsibility as the GM. Kristen is also an attorney.

SIDE BAR – This week’s topic is stress. Coaching can be stressful – stress plants the seeds of illness – anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, and increased blood pressure. Coaches, we need to take care of ourselves first, then we will have the health and energy to take care of others. 

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

Shannon’s website

Shannon on Twitter  |  Instagram

Kristen on Twitter

Calgary Inferno on   Facebook  |   Twitter 

Calgary Inferno website









Photo: Calgary Inferno
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