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How Trotz Leads the Modern Player

By The Coaches Site, 12/13/21, 9:45AM EST


Great coaches are lifelong learners

With over 1,800 games behind an NHL bench under his belt, Barry Trotz has likely forgotten more about hockey and leadership than most people will learn in a lifetime. His longevity and success can be credited to staying in touch with his players. Even when that requires him, as a leader, to consistently adjust and re-examine his approach.

Great coaches are lifelong learners. They are humble and have a beginner’s mind. A beginner’s mind is a concept from Zen Buddhism called Shoshin: "Having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would."

Anyone who has been around Barry and observed his career closely would agree that definition aligns well with his coaching philosophy. Being a great coach is a constant work in progress. Great leaders welcome the challenge of continuous self-improvement.

In this excerpt from Barry’s presentation on Leading the Modern Player at our 2014 Hockey Coaches Conference (the summer before he took over in Washington), he shares an overview of what he believes is required to lead today’s athlete. As he puts it:

“The more the game and attitudes evolve, the more coaches have to stay in tune to the changing times.”

This presentation provides direction for coaches, and leaders in all walks of life, on how to bring people (commonly referred to as millennials) together in the spirit of achieving a common goal. 

Barry’s full presentation is available at The Coaches Site, along with hundreds of other presentations from hockey’s top coaches and leaders. 

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Founded in 2011, The Coaches Site is the #1 online resource for hockey coaches, serving a global audience. Members of The Coaches Site comprise a like-minded community of coaches committed to being great teachers, mentors and leaders. The Coaches Site provides them with the insights, inspiration, and fuel to offer their athletes with an enhanced development opportunity, on and off the ice. For more information, visit

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