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Coaching Beyond the Xs and Os

By Dan Pollard, 03/25/20, 2:00PM EDT


What respect means in hockey

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Now more than ever we can see firsthand the impact our actions have on the people around us. How we treat each other can change the world. We are all working together as a team to flatten the curve and keep as many people safe as possible. This is a learning opportunity for everyone of all ages.

It comes down to as simply as how people treat one another according to Wayne McNeil, co-founder of Respect Group. Your choice of words can have a big impact, especially when speaking with children.

“It’s really about when you’re having a conversation with someone, yeah you can have tough conversations but let’s not deteriorate or undermine someone’s self-esteem,” said McNeil. “We know if we’re going to keep kids engaged in sport, self-esteem is everything. They look to their parents, coaches and teammates to help them get through those psychological issues. If their self-esteem is low, there’s a good chance they don’t want to come back.”

Why Respect Matters

People want to be involved with organizations that demonstrate Respect. Often, Vision or Mission Statements include the word “Respect” however, few organizations have empowered and equipped ALL members of their team with the necessary tools and training to ensure a positive and psychologically safe environment. Learn more about Respect Group.

The goal of Respect Group is to educate participants on where to draw the line. It provides definition and shows how subtle examples can evolve into problems. They work to identify BAHD Behaviour - Bullying, Abuse, Harassment, Discrimination – with education and tools on how to see it and properly intervene.

We know that there are so many positive stories that sometimes get overshadowed by the negative. Celebrating the sportsmanship, teamwork and memories that our players experience over the course of a season are why kids can’t wait to come back to the rink again.

The players of today are the leaders of tomorrow. They are the next group of coaches, officials, and trainers who can pay it forward to keep the passion of the game alive.

“This should extend beyond your experience on the team. We’re looking at you as a leader in the community. You can apply this information to everything you do. We would love to keep you in hockey with a lifelong commitment. We’re teaching people life skills, leadership skills, teamwork skills.”

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Dan Pollard is the host of Breakaway, The Minor Hockey Podcast. His passion for hockey led him to volunteer as a coach and administrator while his professional career has allowed him to cover the game at various levels with CBC, Sportsnet, the NHL Network and TSN. You can currently hear Dan every morning on 105.5 Hits FM in Uxbridge.

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