After one of his nine seasons coaching the winnipeg jetsPaul Maurice had an idea: Could he be more intentional with the video he showed his players?
Video sessions are one of the most common teaching tools used by coaches. Maurice, now coach of the florida panthers, the darling eighth seed of the Stanley Cup playoffs who are one win away from the Cup final, wondered how his staff could maximize these meetings. How many times did you have to show off a system before it showed up in a game? Were you able to identify the time lag from a video teachable moment to tangible success on the ice?
Maurice also wanted to quantify something deeper: Was his clip selection affecting players’ psyche and performance?
“What happens if we put the same player in all of our negative clips, even though I know it’s not all up to that player, like I’m bothering him? Or if I keep showing a player who only does good things, because you love that player? ” Mauricio said. “We wanted to find the cumulative effect of the video we were showing.”
So Maurice and his staff embarked on an off-season project.
“Monday through Thursday, all summer, from 9 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m., we’d all get together and go over everything,” said Pascal Vincent, then one of Maurice’s Winnipeg assistants. “We were looking for ways to improve.”
The Jets staff recorded videos showing the team the previous season and tracked the results in subsequent games. They tagged each clip into one of three categories: positive clip, teaching clip, negative clip. The analytics department took it from there.
As the data accumulated, the coaches couldn’t help but notice a pattern.
“We found that we were getting results and seeing more success when we showed more positive videos,” said Vincent. “Of course, there are many other variables, but that’s what the data says. I’ve read a lot about it in other walks of life, and it confirmed what I was feeling.”
The sentiment has become a massive trend in the NHL: Coaches are finding that it’s more productive to build trust through encouragement rather than constantly criticizing players. And it’s especially true with young millennials and Generation Z.
“The bully coach, good, bad or different, has no chance in today’s match,” Detroit Red Wings said coach Derek Lalonde. “It’s the reality of the players today. You still have to hold them accountable, but you have to do it in different ways.”
Call it the Ted Lasso effect. Heck, NHL players even cite the fictional football coach, known for his extremely upbeat attitude. Bruins goalie linus ullmark made a puck handling error in overtime of Game 5 of Boston’s first-round series, leading directly to Matthew TkachukFlorida’s game-winning goal. Afterwards, Ullmark met a group of reporters and cameras at his locker, relaxed, collected and even smiled at times. “You just have to have the mind of a goldfish,” said Ullmark, a direct quote from the television series.
The popular program is a microcosm for a change in social norms, including a new emphasis on mental health. Workplaces in multiple industries are adapting as younger generations yearn for different — and in many cases, less negative — environments than its predecessors. Historically, that was in stark contrast to the demanding, high-pressure nature of professional sports. Not anymore.
“Positive, constructive feedback; maybe people needed it generations earlier, too,” the Bruins forward said. hathaway garnet31. “It just wasn’t mainstream or championed. But now, you see it as a way to unlock even more potential.”
The change in the sport is remarkable and is leading to periods of self-reflection.
“Overall, it’s become a more conservative and sensitive world. Kids now grow up without being yelled at, so they don’t know how to react when yelled at.” colorado avalanche forward evan rodrigues, 29, said. “Growing up, I loved being yelled at, it got me into the game, it focused me. Now when someone yells at me, I take it differently. I’d rather have them come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I know you’re better than that. I used to love to prove people wrong, whereas now I like to prove people right.”
That idea fuels one of Vincent’s tried and true teaching techniques.
“Even if a player is in trouble, there’s a reason they’re here. [in the NHL]said Vincent, who this season served as an assistant coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the youngest teams in the league. “So you have to figure out what that player is good at and then reinforce it. When you lose trust, you go back to the foundation that you’re good at, and that helps them find it again.”
Many players interviewed for this article rejected the idea that training should be positive all the time, or that the NHL has been completely transformed.
One player from an Eastern Conference team said: “My coach reads me the riot act almost twice a week. And I’m fine with that, if I deserve it.”
Another player described a “passive aggressive” style from one of his former coaches, who is still behind an NHL bench. “He would say mean things about you out loud, while you were within earshot so you could hear him,” the player said. “Obviously because he sought let you hear it.”
Some in the league see a downside to the super-positive approach. After the Maple Leafs‘ disappointing second-round loss to the Panthers, a narrative emerged in some circles that Toronto’s management created an environment in which its star players were too spoiled and therefore ill-equipped to handle playoff adversity. hockey.
One veteran player in the league said he has noticed a gradual change in recent years and “it doesn’t sit well with me.”
“I don’t want to be the ‘back in the day’ type, but…it really feels like we’ve gotten softer as a league,” the player said. “There are some dinosaur practices that need to go away. I would never advocate mental or physical abuse. But this is a professional sport and it demands a level of responsibility and toughness. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes. It’s okay to get yelled at.” they call you or yell at you when you are not meeting the standards. That’s what makes you stronger.”
Former player Ray Ferraro, an 18-year NHL veteran and current ESPN analyst, put it bluntly: “Sometimes you have to be picky, but not an asshole. Because the old way certainly doesn’t work.”
avalanche ahead Mikko Rantanen26, called himself “a younger guy” but said: “I don’t care [coaching] sometimes.”
“I think the positive way of looking is better, but it can’t be all positive; there has to be a balance,” Rantanen said. “[Colorado coach] Jared [Bednar] does a good job of that. When we don’t play well, he shows it. Even when there’s a game where we fall asleep for just a few plays, he’ll show it the next day and he’ll be mad. And that’s how it should be.”
After Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, dallas stars Coach Peter DeBoer said he trusted his players a bit after their loss to Las Vegas Golden Knights.
“There are certain pressure points with your team that you have to decide as a coach,” DeBoer said. “Is this a time to be supportive and a calming voice of reason, or is this a time to tighten the screws and get into it a bit? I think you can only go to the latter so often.”
Trainers have also embraced another trend coveted by younger millennials and Generation Z: transparency. Younger players don’t need to agree with what’s happening, they just want to know why. Bednar said he has adjusted by being clearer with communication.
“The trend, and it makes sense to me now, is if guys don’t get information, they’re going to go into the negative thought process,” Bednar said. “I always thought that if I don’t give feedback on something, then you know you’re doing it right. I like my guys to know that: If I don’t come to you, it’s a good thing.”
But in recent seasons, Bednar has noticed that approach doesn’t always work, especially with younger players. If players didn’t get any feedback from him, they would assume the worst or look elsewhere for feedback, like social media, which can be dangerous.
“If a guy plays 10 minutes a night overall, and all of a sudden he’s playing a 7½ game, he’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, what did I do wrong?’ Then the negative thoughts come,” Bednar said. “So I try to interrupt that. You have to try harder. Now I try to walk past them in the locker room and just say, ‘Hey, good job last night,’ so they have something, even if I’m not going to have meetings with them. “.
Lalonde said he has made transparency a top priority for the Red Wings.
“I had never put up a lineup until I told the player it was missing and exactly why,” Lalonde said. “You have to be honest.”
Lalonde cited an example this season of a game in which he scratched one of his forwards.
“We spent as much time as the coaching staff putting together three or four points for the guy that wasn’t in the lineup as we did in game planning the next night,” he said.
Maurice still thinks about his tape study, but isn’t ready to jump to any big conclusions.
“I don’t know if there is a solid theory for every team,” Maurice said. “Every team is different, every player is different. The most important thing is to understand the human nature aspect of all this.”