Sunday, December 14, 2008

Understanding your audience -- whether pros or teenagers

Pat Quinn is regarded as one of the NHL's all-time great coaches with more than 650 career wins over 19 seasons.

A two-time NHL coach of the year, Coach Quinn guided Canada to a Gold Medal in 2002 -- Canada's first in 50 years -- and a World Cup two years later.

This past spring, he coached Canada's U-18 team to a world championship.

Olympians, professionals, teenagers -- "somehow, he finds a connection with his players, finds a way to make them play for him. [As head coach in Philadelphia], his Flyers once went a record 35 games without a loss. He brought the Flyers (1980) and Canucks to the final (1994)."

According to one of his former players, "He really knows how to get down deep in you and make you want to get out there and work your butt off and win games."

In the words of Coach Quinn:

"They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. I think that is a real truism. That I find true with the men, too, not just kids. Kids need to feel it, I know that. I think they felt I had an interest in them. The principles of coaching aren't different if you're coaching the NHL level or coaching kids. You have to understand your audience, what they're capable of. You have to give them a plan."