Saturday, 02 March 2024

Coaching From the Inside Out

As thousands of fans make their way to the exits, there is a sense of danger in the half empty arena – it was not a good night for Team USA and Coach Herb Brooks was not happy. It was anything but our best effort, remembered Jack O’Callahan and you could see the steam belching from Herbie’s ears…

The roar from the crowd no longer reverberated from the stands; a half hearted performance is unacceptable from Coach Herb Brooks. As players begin to exit, they are stopped and turned around and instructed to go back to the ice. Coach Brooks reminds them that if they don’t want to work during the game then they’ll work now. For the next hour the words “Again, Again, and Again,” followed by screeches of a whistle fill their head while doing “Herbies.” Lungs burning, hearts pounding, legs quivering is the only thing they feel. No one knows how man “Herbies” they did that night. This is the night that made 20 members of the 1980 Olympic Hockey squad a team.

I chose this project because, like any assistant coach, my dream is to become a head coach. My project is to analyze what characteristics made Herb Brooks a great coach. Great coaches like Herb Brooks know more than just drills and plays. Knowledge of the mechanics of the game is only one part. Philosophy and how it’s communicated are just as essential.

Coach Brooks expected his players to be focused and mentally tough on and off the ice. More than anything else, he wanted his players to be men of character. He wanted them to succeed in the Olympics and in life. Brooks not only coached hockey but he taught life lessons and he expected the best from everyone.

This project and the philosophy of Coach Brooks helped me to be a winner in the classroom and on the soccer field. To win and earn the respect of your players and a nation takes more than just talent. It takes a philosophy deeply rooted in values, discipline and courage. Herb Brooks will be an inspiration for me in the future.