Here are 3 ways to spark excitement and motivation as you prepare for your playoff run!
These 3 tips have been huge for me… but as you’re going through this, I want to know… what would you add to this list? What things have you done to make sure your team finishes strong?
Drop your own advice in the comments below!
Before we dive straight in, I want to make sure you know what I mean by “January blues…”
I’m sure you’ve experienced this at some point, either as a player, coach, or parent.
The season starts, and everyone is pumped up and full of energy… “it’s gonna be a great year!”
Teams are picked, development is looking good, you have your first tournament or two… whether you’re winning or losing, the players are learning, and things are great.
December hits. It’s always dark. It’s cold. You’re getting a little tired.
You think to yourself, “Just a couple of weeks and we’ll have a break over Christmas… that’ll be nice.”
Christmas break comes and goes…
You get back on the ice expecting to feel refreshed, but the truth is, you’re exhausted. You’ve been giving it your all for months now, planning practices, managing parents’ needs, putting your heart and soul into games… everything good coaches do.
But you’re still in it.
Then… someone gets sick. Then someone else. Then there’s an injury. Then someone no-shows. And you realize it’s been a few weeks since you’ve even had a full squad at practice.
You’re exhausted. The players and parents are exhausted. And you still have two or three months left (or more!).
That’s the “January blues.”
At this point… average coaches succumb to the exhaustion and let their teams fizzle.
But great coaches regroup, rally their troops, and finish strong.
Here are 3 ways to spark excitement and motivation as you prepare your team to finish strong and have an awesome playoff run:
- Take care of your own health first. Good coaching takes a lot out of you, both physically and emotionally. It’s important that you stay healthy, so you can keep your energy high. If the coach goes down, the team goes down with him or her. So… make sure you eat well, take your vitamins, get enough rest, and stay in the game!
- Send a “rally the troops” email. Remember, the coaches, players, and parents are a team unit. And we’re all in it together. Most seasons, I send out an email to my teams describing what to expect for the back-half of the season, and remind the players and parents to stay healthy, stay committed, and refocus their efforts for the home stretch. Good teams start strong… great teams finish strong!
I’ve included an example of an email I’ve sent to my teams previously. You can scroll down to the bottom of this post to check it out, and use it as a template for your own “rally-the-troops” email.
- Readjust your development focus. Everything in the first half of the season is geared toward acquiring the skills and systems needed to be competitive. The second half of the season is all about fine tuning and perfecting the skills and systems you’ve acquired.
I have some awesome material to help you dial in your development strategy for the second half of the season:
The strategies and concepts found in this material have directly contributed to hundreds of championships at all age groups and skill levels around the world, and they’ll do the same for you.
The second half of the season can be a grind. No doubt.
But it can also be the most rewarding, and the most memorable for our athletes… if we teach them how to finish like champions.
While most teams are struggling, falling apart, and going out with a whimper, the tips described above will help your players, parents, and coaching staff dial it in, refocus, and finish with each game getting stronger than the last one.
The 3 tips above have been huge for me… but what would you add to this list? What things have you done to make sure your team finishes strong? Drop your own advice in the comments below!
SAMPLE EMAIL (Actual email I sent in the final weeks of the 2019 season. The team rallied and finished stronger than ever!)
We’re down to the last _______ weeks of the season. Our team has the potential to [win it out,] but we need to decide, as players and parents, to make that happen.
On Saturday we played beneath our abilities; at least half the team wasn’t dressed 15 minutes before for the pregame chat. Then we had 5 players missing practice tonight (some without notice). I’m hearing we may be missing some players for [our next games] as well.
I understand it’s late in the season, and there are other priorities that can be pressing. But I’d like to make a good push through these last few weeks and finish strong.
Can we commit to each other to make this happen? Here’s what I’m hoping for, in order to finish strong:
- We need our players at all our practices and games, on time, dialed in mentally and physically.
- Bedtimes and nutrition are important, especially on game days (and the night before early games).
- We need healthy, well-rested, alert athletes
- They need to be on top of their school work and chores so that grades and home life aren’t a distraction from their playoff push.
- They should be taking at least 50 shots per day, at home, as mentioned a few weeks ago.
- If we can pull this together, there’s no doubt we can have a great playoff, and do awesome in the [final tournament]. But it will need to be a group effort, and a recommitment for the final push.
If you have any concerns about any of this, please shoot me a text or an email. I’m happy to chat 🙂
Let’s finish strong!