How to Ruin a Player

So easy, anyone can do it

The goal of coaching and player development is to help an athlete maximise his or her potential.

Major-league teams spend six to eight figures $USD to retain players, then spend more to surround them to professionals whose jobs are to help them improve.

Why then are so many players, in the prime of their fleeting athletic careers, wasted by the same organizations that have so much to gain from their ongoing success?

The answer can be found in the chart below:

Smart teams:

  1. Leverage a player’s Signature Skills (high frequency, high success) to build confidence (player to self) & trust (player to coach)

  2. Expand a player’s comfort zone by uncovering underutilised assets (low frequency, high sucess actions)

  3. Use the developmental momentum to Address a player’s high-frequency weaknesses

  4. Aggressively Ignore a player’s low-frequency weaknesses (like DZ coverage for a winger) and chalk it up as a cost of doing business with that uniquely talented player

Dumb teams:

  1. Fixate on weaknesses at the expense of leveraging strengths

  2. Spend valuable time & energy attempting to influence low-frequency, low-value skills

  3. Double down on poor process by accusing the player of being uncooperative

  4. Strip down the player’s unique identity, then sell him/her at a discount


Rasmus Dahlin (BUF)

Shane Gostisbehere (PHI)

Patrik Laine (CBJ)

Anyone else?


What I learned about trying to be less dumb

Hockey Tactics 2020 is the ebook I had always wanted to write.

It distills my NHL and AHL experience into 120 pages.

It tells the story of what makes players and teams good.

Hockey Tactics: Retrospectiveis the ebook I had always wanted to read.

Nine-year-old me never came across a hockey book which combined historical story-telling, detailed diagrams and in-depth analysis.

So 31-year-old me decided to write it for myself and others.

Is this what you’ve always wanted to read as well?