At the risk of dating myself (yet again), I was recently thinking back to my heyday of the 1970s and ’80s, when there was a popular perfume commercial with the tagline: "If you want someone’s attention, whisper."
I’ve always thought this is a great approach for coaching. I’m not exactly "quiet" by nature, so learning this approach has taken some time. But, as I was joking with Stop It Goaltending’s Brian Daccord during the annual Foundation for Goalie Research and Education symposium in May, one of the key characteristics of a good coach is the ability to evolve. For me, that meant lowering the volume on my garrulous side, and learning to speak to my goalies in softer, more measured tones.
That requires a certain leap of faith. It was my coaching with girls that really highlighted how effective this approach can be. In general, girls don’t want to be "told" to do something. They want things — whether a drill, or a particular technique — explained. Which is absolutely fair. And trying to "explain" things while you’re yelling is a pretty useless exercise. But explain things to girls, and they’ll skate through walls for you. The delightful offshoot was finding out how well boys responded to this "quiet" approach as well.