Analyzing Your Team’s Strengths: When in Doubt, Double Down

In Coaching Hockey, Cultureby Kyle ElmendorfLeave a Comment

Coaches are continuously looking for ways to improve whether in-season or off-season. As they should. However, if we’re not careful, our analysis of our club can cause us to reverse course. In order to avoid paralysis by analysis we should narrow our focus. In other words, we should double down on our team’s strengths.

It goes without saying that coaches, players, and teams should always be working on improving weaknesses. However, many times we overlook our strengths in an effort to improve. In wanting to improve upon our weaknesses we forget about making our strengths even stronger.

In this day and age it’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed. There’s so much to do all the time. The best coaches, players, and teams all have one thing in common. They narrow their focus and work relentlessly. They double down on their team’s strengths.

In the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics there was a viral image of swimming champion Michael Phelps and one of his biggest rivals. The image shows Phelps emerging from the water with a head and shoulders lead over the challenging rival in the next lane. What made the image viral was the fact that Phelps’ head and eyes were focused straight ahead. He had tunnel vision. His challenging rival took the opposite approach. His head was turned to the right looking at Phelps.

The challenger shifted his focus and worried about what his opponent was doing. The champion doubled down on himself and didn’t look back.

The best coaches across sport all teach the same philosophy. They spend more time working on themselves and their team than worrying about their opponents. There are more distractions causing more comparisons than ever in the digital age we live in. We have to fight the urge to keep up with the Joneses and stay in our lane.

Our focus as coaches should be on controlling the controllables: our attitudes, efforts, enthusiasm, and commitment. Preparation is key. More thought and effort should go into improving our team’s existing strengths than worrying about what our opponents are doing.

Play to your strengths and make your opponents play your game. This approach will give your athletes the confidence needed to go out and perform at their highest level.

When in doubt…double down. It’s the best thing you can do for your team.


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About the Author
Kyle Elmendorf

Kyle Elmendorf

Kyle Elmendorf is an educator, coach, speaker, and writer. He currently resides near St. Louis and is the proud father to two young sons, and the loving husband to his beautiful wife, Angela. Coach Elmendorf also serves as the director of business development for Lead 'Em Up (www.leademup.com), a company who's drills and excersises help build the leaders needed to win. His passion lies in building champions on and off the playing field. Sports are a vehicle to teach life lessons and build leadership skills, but only if done so intentionally. Coach Elmendorf has made it his life's mission to build character and leadership through sport in order to build a better future for our world. Oustide of his career, Coach Elmendorf loves to travel, be active outdoors, read, and spend time with his family. He writes a regular blog which can be found at www.coachkyleelmendorf.com and his articles have been featured in NFHS Coaching Today, The 9s Magazine, Ignite Magazine, and High School Today.

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