Developing your leaders
Posted by Dean Holden at May 8th, 2013
by Mike Johnston, Portland Winterhawks
Winterhawks GM & Head Coach Mike Johnston is a regular presenter at hockey coaching clinics all over the world. Throughout the season he’ll be sharing his coaching philosophies with winterhawks.com.
1. Find out who your leaders are. Your team will have 3 – 4 players who will wear the “C” and “A’s”, but there are also informal leaders who when the coach is not there, they control the group. Generally they are the social leaders also.
2. Meet regularly with your leadership group to address issues and keep them informed on the schedule, travel, and upcoming meetings. Also allow them to voice their opinion of where the group is at. In this meeting include the captains, possibly 1-2 informal leaders, and also one other player on the team. Over the course of the year, all players will have a chance to be included.
3. Educate the leadership group with a one hour training session monthly. Potential topics may include how to challenge your teammates and maintain respect, preparing to play, developing accountability, dealing with problem issues, developing ownership and motivation.
4. In times of trouble it always easy for the coach to jump in and take control, but in order for players to truly lead, you have to give them an opportunity to sort it out on their own. The difficulty is to decide when they need to take control and when you need to step in.
5. Recognize individuals who show leadership skills. Compliment the team when initiative is taken.
6. Hold the team and your leadership group accountable for not taking charge of certain situations.
When the players push the players and keep the group heading in the direction you have outlined, then you have a chance to maximize your team’s potential.