Creating a High Performance Culture
Every coach has the opportunity to create a high performance culture, one that supports the development of players and coaches. Today’s elite players ask lots of questions and want to be told the truth every day. It is important to create an environment that supports teaching and the learning of the necessary skills, tactics and systems to be successful as a team. Every coach should want to create his or her team’s identity and that is only accomplished when the team plays with a purpose in all three zones of the rink. For players to play with a clear sense of purpose they must understand the key concepts and principles of how the game should be played at the elite level to support the puck and win the Possession Game.
Players should be encouraged to ask questions and coaches should want to provide players with answers as part of the learning and development process. The what, why and how questions are important to creating an identity for individual players and the team. Providing the right answers to the many questions that need to be asked is key to creating the right learning environment for the team.
The what, why and how questions below are samples of the questions that need to be asked to create a high performance culture. The answers to these important questions position individual players and the team for success. If a coach has to intimidate players or bench players to change their behaviours then he or she should examine their processes. Using discipline to change behaviours should always be a last resort. Players and coaches have a vested interest in becoming high performers and reaching level 4 in the hierarchy of learning (skilled or unconscious competence stage) in skills, tactics and systems play. Players need to be engaged in the learning process so they should be encouraged to ask questions and to become self-reliant in their development process. The coach has the opportunity to create a CORE set of values and beliefs that should be used to make all team decisions.
The What Questions
- What type of team do we want to create?
- What style of hockey do we want to play in all three zones?
- What hockey skills do we need players to learn to play our style of game?
- What other skills do we need players to learn to develop into elite performers?
- What tactics (individual & group) do our players need to learn to support our style of game?
- What systems do our players need to learn to play our style of game in all three zones of the rink?
- What are the best teaching methods to deploy to steepen the learning curve of players?
- What good habits do our players and coaches need to demonstrate every day to get better?
- What skills and knowledge do our coaches need to possess to support player development and our goals?
- What skills, knowledge and tools do our scouts need to evaluate players for our program?
There are many what questions that need to be asked if you are interested in creating and developing elite players and a high performing team. The what questions above are examples of important questions that need to be asked and answered if you want to create a team with an identity and one that plays with purpose in all three zones of the ice surface.
The Why Questions
- Why do we want to create this type of team?
- Why do we want to play this style of game in all three zones of the rink?
- Why do players need to possess these skills and knowledge to play our style of game?
- Why are these skills, tactics and systems being deployed?
- Why do we support the puck offensively and defensively in all three zones?
- Why do we use the ice surface to support the puck?
- Why do we always need two or more passing options at all times?
- Why is neutral zone GAP control important to our style of play?
- Why is maximum effort required at all times by players and coaches when we enter the building?
- Why do we do things as a team that are aligned with our CORE Values & Beliefs as a team?
- Why can we never have too many Leaders on the team?
There are many why questions that need to be asked and there are no stupid or bad questions. Developing players and people requires a learning environment where asking questions is encouraged. Knowledge is power so a learning environment that fosters engagement of learners (players & coaches) is important to the process.
There are reasons we do things the way we do them on a high performing team. There are key concepts and principles athletes have to learn to play the game at a high level.
The How Questions
- How do we teach the skills, tactics and systems to facilitate learning of key fundamentals, concepts and principles?
- How do we teach character skills?
- How do we teach the top 10 emotional intelligence competences of high performing people to our players?
- How do we create a high performance culture?
- How we teach support the puck offensively and defensively in all three zones of the rink to win the Possession Game?
- How do we create more Leaders amongst our group?
- How do we build confidence in our players and coaches?
- How do we reduce our goals against/games played record?
- How do we increase our PK and PP efficiency ratings?
- How do we defend with structure?
- How do we get better every day/week and benefit from the aggregate of marginal gains?
- How do we replace bad habits with good habits with our group?
- How do we create a healthy workplace culture where team members are best positioned to learn and develop new skills and abilities?
- How do we use technology to steepen the learning curve of our team?
- How do we measure performance?
The what, why and how questions are important to individuals who live their life with a purpose every day. The what we do, why we do it and how we do it are important to creating your identity as a person, player and as a team. When you live and play with a purpose you establish your own identity.