Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – Losing Is a Habit – Ten Tips To Break The Habit

No one like to lose the game.  Worse yet, no one ever want to go on the losing streak.  Losing is a habit, just like winning is a habit.  So when you stuck in the losing habit, how do you break it?

It is not only the coach that need to break the habit, but the player.  It come from being aware and recognizing that CHANGE MUST TAKE PLACE.

These are my ten tip for breaking the losing habit and other bad habit;

1. Acknowledge

Acknowledge that what you have been doing is not working.  Stop trying to rationalize what you are doing.  Rationalization is the skill of coming up with facts to defend something that is indefensible. The moment you can see through the smokescreen of your rationalization and admit that something you do is not working is the moment you can start to take action.

2. Isolate

Part of the rationalization process is seeing your losing habit as the inevitable result of other things on the ice. For example, “I cant get up for the game because I’m frustrated, because my team is bad, because I have a bad coach. (or I have bad players)” This lead to the wrong conclusion that the only way to stop being bad on the ice is to get a new coach or get new player. No one deny that the team will be better by improving your work habits. However, the problem at hand is bad performance on the ice, period. By isolating the habits you want to change, you can address them directly, and succeed more easy.

3. Pair

Isolating a bad habit makes sense when the trigger causes long or complicated problems. But research show that sometimes, it does help to tackle a few bad habits at the same time, if they are closely linked. For example, if you dump and chase and never regain possession of the puck, then attack both habits at the same time. You have a greater chance of success this way.

4. Want

Facts are weak motivators, we all know what the fact are. For example, knowing that your penalty kill is causing you to lose more game because your penalty kill is not good won’t get you to change the penalty kill system in most case. To change, you heart, soul and desire. Only when your desire to end losing is deep and strong will you have the drive and willpower to succeed. So seek deeper reason to make the changes.

5. Rebel

Research suggest that one of the main reasons we continue with bad habit that cause losing, is that so many other people have them too; they almost become accepted or normal. This make sense: It’s hard to say no to the one two two neutral zone trap when everyone around you is using it. But if it not working, it is simply not working. The message: Pay no attention to what everyone else do. You are not defined by them. Do what’s right for you. Chances are, others will respect you for your choices to be different.  An even better strategy: Spend less time with people who have bad habits and more time with people who have the good habit you want to develop.

6. Honour yourself

People who try to make a change due to outside pressure or frustration often fail. People who respect and like themselves, and who are generally happy with who they are, are more likely to succeed.  So challenge your bad habit from a position of personal strength and confidence, not a perspective of failure or weakness. Remember that you also have good habit and quality, and only a handful of ones that need change.

7. Plan

Once you have yourself in the right state of mind to take on the bad habit, you need to do one more thing before taking action: Plan your approach. Will you stop what you do completely? What day do you start? Will you keep the journal of the process? Who else will you involve in the process? A clear, detailed plan help provide the discipline to succeed.

8. Act

So far, we talk about the mindset changes that precede taking on the bad habit. But don’t let internal factors take away from the process. It’s easy to overthink the change you want to make. Take action! Expert say that most habits can be broken if you can go 30 days without them. Focus simply on this: no repeating the habit for one month. Then focus on 30 more day.

9. Enlist And Reward

There a reason why this is the team game and change is the team effort; team of people sharing the same goal succeed better than individuals who go it alone. Pick those who can help you break the habit carefully, and empower them to help you achieve your goal with reminders, praise, distractions, even time off. And remember: The key of good teamwork is communication. For your team to be engaged, you need to talk openly and frequently with them.

10. Forgive

When you slip up, forgive yourself, and your team because no one is perfect. Start the next day fresh and fully commit to beating the habit. Yesterday mistake is history. Learn from it, and move on. People who are committed to breaking the habit don’t throw up their hands in defeat after a few struggle. Rather, they apply themselves even more.

Repetition is the key to the good and bad habit.  Good repetition and bad repetition is contagious.  Losing game, losing battles, and losing hope is also contagious.

Repeat what is good in your habit, and remove what is bad.  It sound simple, but in practice it is not.  The key is to be aware of the habit to begin with, and to be flexible enough to change based on recognition.  It is the smart coach and smart player who go far in the game, it is also the smart coach and player that are not afraid to change.

Your attitude will determine your altitude,


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