Hi Everyone and welcome back to the Hockey Journey Podcast, episode number 75, "The Performance Advantage," presented to you by Online Hockey Training dot com. I'm your host Coach Lance Pitlick. If you're new here, please make sure you subscribe, so you won't miss out on any future episodes.
Before we put the practice plan together, head to the rink and begin this conversation, if you want to learn more about me, my hockey experiences, that I have the world's largest database of off-ice stickhandling, passing and hockey shooting drills, what I know, and most importantly, how I've been helping hockey players get really good with a stick and puck, just head on over to onlinehockeytraining.com and gain instant access to my 10 part video series where I'll show you everything. Consider it my gift to you.
Lastly, if you live in Minnesota or are visiting the State of Hockey sometime soon and you want to schedule an in-person off-ice stick skills lesson, I'd love to have the opportunity to show you my little world. Go to sweethockeycoach.com, and watch the video on the homepage for instructions. Thanks and I look forward to working with you sometime soon.
As I write this, soon to be recording it later today, it's the day after Thanksgiving and I have a smile on my face. I literally have a smile on my face, seriously! Why do you ask? Because I'm grateful for the life I have, what I get to do each day, and for the relationships and people I get to spend time with week after week.
All of the players I get to work with on a consistent basis, female or male, at the beginning, middle or toward the end of their career, every single one of them share the same desire or want, and that's to become better at hockey, specifically with me, getting better with a stick and puck. They are all willing to invest a little time 3-4 days a week to become a more improved version of themselves.
I take those opportunities with these individuals very seriously, as one of my biggest fears ever since I started coaching was that a player would come back to me years later when they were an adult and tell me that I failed him or her somehow way back when. It's always been in the back of my mind and is a constant reminder that I can never go through the motions.
Now that I've got 2 decades of coaching or training players under my belt, while I'm still learning new things on how to get better at stick skills, my absorption of new methods, drills or techniques or the creation of new content has slowed to a drip. I have over 1200 drills in my online hockey training database, at some point the well is going to start to run dry. But the good news is that it's not bone dry yet and I'll continue to squeeze out whatever remaining drills or ways to get you better when they appear in my head.
One way I've pivoted in how I train players is the conversations we have during and between drills, and I have to say I owe it all to this podcast. When the decision was made to start the Hockey Journey Podcast back in October of 2021, I really didn't know what it was going to evolve into, all I knew for-sure, was the name of the podcast and I was going to start by telling my journey as a player and then start inviting guests to tell to hopefully tell theirs.
Back in my playing days, I was an avid reader when traveling on buses or planes as well when sitting in airports or my hotel room. I didn't love to read, but it was a way to help make the days go by faster. But my leisure reading would come to a screeching halt, once kids came into my wife and I's world, they got into hockey and I started coaching them.
Those days have come and gone, I'm 5 years out of coaching and an empty nester, so I've regained some time in my day for me, sweet!! My love for reading has been reignited and I'm consuming more books now than I ever did when I was playing in the NHL. How? Technology! There are so many ways to consume a book today that didn't exist pre mainstream internet and the smartphone. If I wanted to read a book back in the 90's, I had to get the book and then physically read the book. Now, you can listen to it being read to you, you can read it on your digital device, you can watch a YouTube version of the piece and the list goes on and on.
What technology has done, is given the human population the ability to consume content more easily and faster. Want to read a book in record time? Don't learn to speed read, listen to it at 2x's speed. For the past 18 months, I've read or listened to 1-2 books per week most weeks. I know that sounds like a lot, but that's part of my day now, I budget 60-90 minutes per day for reading and or consuming books. I don't think about it anymore, I just do it and look forward to seeing what's next in the pages to come.
How cool is it that you can spend a few days, amounting to a handful of hours and be able to hear someone's life story, their journey? Everyone's got a story, nobody was an instant success, and there's always some roadblocks or adversity that's sprinkled in on the road traveled.
One proven method to get closer to mastery of anything, is developing the capacity to teach whatever it is you are trying to specialize in. That's what I'm so grateful for, is being able to show players what I know about acquiring elite level stick skills. During these training sessions, one way I enhance the experience, and maybe it's a little selfish on my part, but I'm always having conversations with players regarding what I've been reading or listening to. It helps me absorb it more fully and I feel I retain the information better by talking about it with others after the info enters my brain.
What I've found by adding this little adjustment to my lessons, is that the conversations with players and their parents are much richer. They engage faster and I really start to get to know them better on a deeper level, what makes them tick. What's resulted is that players are more willing to open up and share things with me that they otherwise wouldn't years ago. I have a counseling degree, so it feels like somedays I get to use what I learned back in college.
Now that everyone knows I'm doing podcasts, I'm starting to get requests to do an episode on a certain topic. A couple weeks ago, I was asked to do one on adversity, as a couple of my players were trying to get over a wall that all of the sudden appeared in their lives.
But now that the winter season is rocking, the common theme being asked by these student athletes is how to consistently play at a higher level. Why do you think that is? Because everyone loves to win a game once in a while and the only way to do that is by playing at your best. Is there a performance advantage out there that you haven't heard about? I hope we'll get closer to answering that question by the end of this episode.
There are many that have made the topic of peak performance their life's work and I'm going to lean on them to help me out here and share with you some of their most important and impactful findings, with the hope that the wisdom you're about to hear will help you become a little better version of yourself!
For the following books I'm going to reference, know that I'm only scratching the surface of all the learning nuggets in each of the titles. If something resonates with you from a certain book, by the end of this episode, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of your own and read it in its entirety. I'll put the links to each of the titles in the description. With that being said, let's begin.
Book Number One
One Percent Better
A Story About How To Close The Gap From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be
By Brian Cain
“The best place to start is to intentionally invest 1% of your day into yourself and become a better version of you today than you were yesterday. Then wake up tomorrow and do the same thing. Rinse and repeat. It’s actually quite simple.” (End Quote)
THE 1% INTENTION
“‘Good morning, Mr. Big! It’s time to get juiced. Either we are going to dominate the day or the day will dominate us. Are you ready?’ Sunny asked this with the excitement of a kid on Christmas Day. As we began walking the halls to the scent of bacon and breakfast, Sunny started asking me about math. ‘Mr. Big, there are 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in each hour. How many minutes are there in a day?’ I quickly took out my phone and asked, ‘Hey, Siri. How many minutes in a day?’ ‘There are 1,440 minutes in a day,’ Siri chimed back. Then she asked, ‘What’s 1% of 1,440?’ This is where I was stumped. I wasn’t sure how to do the math. After all, I wasn’t a math teacher. ‘No idea,’ I replied. ‘1% of a day is 14 minutes and 24 seconds,’ she said emphatically. ‘Everyone wants to get 1% better but they fail to intentionally invest 1% of their day because they don’t even know that it’s a strategy for success.’” (End Quote)
GROWING THROUGH THE MOTIONS
‘'Mr. Big, it’s the start that stops most people. An object, in this case you, in motion stays in motion. It’s breaking inertia that is the hardest part. Did you know that a space shuttle uses about 80% of its fuel in the first hour of its journey? Once you get momentum on your side, success comes your way. You create a rhythm and routine and start operating your habits and routines more intentionally instead of blindly going through the motions. I like to call it growing through the motions vs. going through the motions,’ Sunny asserted. ‘The best place to start is always with your intention and your investment. Your 1% intention is flexible and flowing. It can adapt over time, but it must ALWAYS be written down and it must always be in action, preferably as part of your A.M. or P.M. routine because that’s where you have the most control of your day." (End Quote)
A + S + GOYA = R
“‘Today’s Success Hotline message was about exactly how to go from temporary to legendary. Dr. Gilbert talked about A + S + GOYA = R,’ Sunny explained. ‘Dr. Gilbert is using an acronym that means Ability + Strategy + Get Off Your Anatomy and do the work = Results,’ Sunny recited aloud as she wrote it on the white board in my classroom. ‘Mr. Big, ability is not something you are lacking to be the optimal version of yourself. You are simply blocking it. How we unblock our ability is by giving you the right strategy. In this case, that strategy is simply your 1% intention. You then have to get off your anatomy and do your 1% intention each day. When you do that, you will see better results.’” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #5
THE 3 STEP SUCCESS CYCLE
“‘When you create a 1% intention, you want to be sure that you can follow the 3 step success cycle. The 3 step success cycle is a process that is applied to all types of performance, teaching, marriage, athletic, business, and yes, your 1% intention,’ Sunny said. ‘First, you have to prepare for your performance. Then, you perform. Finally, you have to reflect on your performance to maximize your learning from that performance on that day. The biggest mistake I see in people who set the 1% intention is that they prepare by writing down what they will do, then they do their 1% intention for a short period of time, but fail to reflect on it. Reflection is where the golden nuggets of wisdom and development are mined. You have to reflect so you can learn. Otherwise, you slip back into going through the motions instead of growing through the motions.’” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #6
PLANT THE TREE
“‘Well, Mr. Big, the best time to plant the tree of investment and intention would have been 20 years ago when you started, because it would be fully grown and able to provide fruit for others. But the second-best time to plant the tree is right now.’” (End Quote)
Book Number Two
Talent is Overrated
What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
By Geoff Colvin
“We tend to think we are forever barred from all manner of successes because of what we were or were not born with. The range of cases in which that belief is true turns out to be a great deal narrower than most of us think. The roadblocks we face seem to be mostly imaginary.” (End Quote)
THE TEN YEAR RULE
“The phenomenon seems nearly universal. In a famous study of chess players, Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon and William Chase proposed “the ten year rule,” based on their observation that no one seemed to reach the top ranks of chess players without a decade or so of intensive study, and some required much more time. Even Bobby Fischer was not an exception; when he became a grand master at age sixteen, he had been studying chess intensively for nine years. Subsequent research in a wide range of fields has substantiated the ten-year rule everywhere the researchers have looked. In math, science, musical composition, swimming, X-ray diagnosis, tennis, literature—no one, not even the most “talented” performers, became great without at least ten years of very hard preparation. If talent means that success is easy or rapid, as most people seem to believe, then something is obviously wrong with a talent-based explanation of high achievement.” (End Quote)
THE MOZART MYTH
“Wolfgang’s first four piano concertos, composed when he was eleven, actually contain no original music by him. He put them together out of works by other composers. He wrote his next three works of this type, today not classified as piano concertos, at age sixteen; these also contain no original music but instead are arrangements of works by Johann Christian Bach, with whom Wolfgang had studied in London... Mozart’s first work regarded today as a masterpiece, with its status confirmed by the number of recordings available, is his Piano Concerto No. 9, composed when he was twenty-one. That’scertainly an early age, but we must remember that by then Wolfgang had been through eighteen years of extremely hard, expert training.” (End Quote)
KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
“Step one, obvious yet deserving a moment’s consideration, is knowing what you want to do. The key word is not what, but knowing. Because the demands of achieving exceptional performance are so great over so many years, no one has a prayer of meeting them without utter commitment. You’ve got to know what you want to do, not suspect it or be inclined toward it or be thinking about it.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #5
THEY ALL KNEW IT BUT...
“By age eighteen, the violinists in the first group had accumulated 7,410 hours of lifetime practice on average, versus 5,301 hours for violinists in the second group and 3,420 hours for those in the third group. All the differences were scientifically significant.”
“They all knew it, but they didn’t all do it.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #6
PRACTICE & NAPITATIONS
“Practice is so hard that doing a lot of it requires people to arrange their lives in particular ways. The two top groups of violinists did most of their practicing in the late morning or early afternoon, when they were still fairly fresh. By contrast, violinists in the third group practiced mostly in the late afternoon, when they were more likely to be tired. The two top groups differed from the third group in another way: They slept more. They not only slept more at night, they also took far more afternoon naps. All that practicing seems to demand a lot of recovery.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #7
“Deliberate practice is characterized by several elements, each worth examining. It is activity designed specifically to improve performance, often with a teacher’s help; it can be repeated a lot; feedback on results is continuously available; it’s highly demanding mentally, whether the activity is purely intellectual, such as chess or business-related activities, or heavily physical, such as sports; and it isn’t much fun.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #8
COMFORT, LEARNING & PANIC ZONES
“Noel Richy, a professor at the University of Michigan business school and former chief of General Electric’s famous Crotonville management development center, illustrates the point by drawing three concentric circles. He labels the inner circle “comfort zone,” the middle one “learning zone,” and the outer one “panic zone.” Only by choosing activities in the learning zone can one make progress. That’s the location of skills and abilities that are just out of reach. We can never make progress in the comfort zone because those are the activities we can already do easily, while panic-zone activities are so hard that we don’t even know how to approach them. Identifying the learning zone, which is not simple, and then forcing oneself to stay continually in it as it changes, which is even harder—these are the first and most important characteristics of deliberate practice.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #9
GREAT INNOVATIONS & ROSES BLOOMING
“The greatest innovators in a wide range of fields—business, science, painting, music—all have at least one characteristic in common: They spent many years in intensive preparation before making any kind of creative breakthrough. Creative achievement never came suddenly, even in those cases in which the creator later claimed they did. Whether it was the transistor or the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album or the cell phone or Picasso’s Les Demoiselle d’Avignon, it always followed a long earlier period of extremely hard work, and in most cases the creative products themselves were developed over a significant period. Great innovations are roses that bloom after long and careful cultivation." (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #10
FALLING ON YOUR BUTT 20,000 TIMES
“A study of figure skaters found that sub-elite skaters spent lots of time working on the jumps they could already do, while skaters at the highest levels spent more time on the jumps they couldn’t do, the kind that ultimately win Olympic medals and that involve lots of falling down before they’re mastered.”
“Landing on your butt twenty thousand times is where great performance comes from.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #11
WHAT DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE?
“What do you really want? And what do you really believe? ... The second question is more profound. What do you really believe? Do you really believe that you have a choice in the matter? Do you believe that if you do the work, properly designed, with intense focus for hours a day and years on end, your performance will grow dramatically better and eventually reach the highest levels? If you believe that, then there’s at least a chance you will do the work and achieve great performance. But if you believe that your performance is forever limited by your lack of a specific innate gift, or by a lack of general abilities at a level that you think must be necessary, then there’s no chance at all that you will do the work.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #12
WE CAN ALL BECOME BETTER
“The evidence offers no easy assurances. It shows that the price of top-level achievement is extraordinarily high. Perhaps it’s inevitable that not many people will choose to pay it. But the evidence shows also that by understanding how a few become great, anyone can become better. Above all, what the evidence shouts most loudly is striking, liberating news: that great performance is not reserved for the pre-ordained few. It is available to you and to everyone.” (End Quote)
Book Number Three
David and Goliath
Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
By Malcolm Gladwell
“David and Goliath is a book about what happens when ordinary people confront giants. By ‘giants,’ I mean powerful opponents of all kinds—from armies and mighty warriors to disability, misfortune, and oppression. Each chapter tells thestory of a different person—famous or unknown, ordinary or brilliant—who has faced an outsize challenge and been forced to respond. Should I play by the rules or follow my own instincts? Shall I persevere or give up? Should I strike back orforgive? Through these stories, I want to explore two ideas. The first is that much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out of these kinds of lopsided conflicts, because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty. And second, that we consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong. We misread them. We misinterpret them. Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness. And the fact of being an underdog can change people in ways that we often fail to appreciate; it can open doors and create opportunities and educate and enlighten and make possible what might otherwise have seemed unthinkable. We need a better guide to facing giants—and there is no better place to start that journey than with the epic confrontation between David and Goliath three thousand years ago in the Valley of Elah.” (End Quote)
GOLIATH, MEET DAVID
“The battle is won miraculously by an underdog who, by all expectations, should not have won at all. This is the way we have told one another the story over many centuries since. It is how the phrase ‘David and Goliath’ has come to be embedded in our language—as a metaphor for improbable victory. And the problem with that version of the events is that almost everything about it is wrong. ... ‘Goliath had as much chance against David,’ the historian Robert Dohrenwend writes, ‘as any Bronze Age warrior with a sword would have had against an [opponent] armed with a .45 automatic pistol.’”
Gladwell concludes the intro: “What the Israelites saw, from high on the ridge, was an intimidating giant. In reality, the very thing that gave the giant his size was also the source of his greatest weakness. There is an important lesson in that for battles with all kinds of giants. The powerful and the strong are not always what they seem. David came running toward Goliath, powered by courage and faith. Goliath was blind to his approach—and then he was down, too big and slow and blurry-eyed to comprehend the way the tables had been turned. All these years, we’ve been telling these kinds of stories wrong. David and Goliath is about getting them right.” (End Quote)
“‘I have so many coaches come in every year to learn the press,’ Pitino said. He is now the head basketball coach at the University of Louisville, and Louisville has become the Mecca for all those Davids trying to learn how to beat Goliaths. ‘Then they email me. They tell me they can’t do it. They don’t know if their players will last.’ Pitino shook his head. ‘We practice ever day for two hours,’ he went on. The players are moving almost ninety-eight percent of the practice. We spend very little time talking. When we make our corrections’—that is, when Pitino and his coaches stop play to give instructions—’they are seven-second corrections, so that our heart rate never rests. We are always working.’ Seven seconds! The coaches who come to Louisville sit in the stands and watch that ceaseless activity and despair. To play by David’s rules you have to be desperate. You have to be so bad that you have no choice. Their teams are just good enough that they know it could never work. Their players could never be convinced to play that hard. They were not desperate enough. But Ranadivé? Oh, he was desperate. You would think, looking at his girls, that their complete inability to pass and dribble and shoot was their greatest disadvantage. But it wasn’t was it? It was what made their winning strategy possible.” (End Quote)
THE INVERTED U
“That’s what is called an inverted-U curve. Inverted U curves are hard to understand. They almost never fail to take us by surprise, and one of the reasons we are so often confused about advantages and disadvantages is that we forget when we are operating in a U-shaped world. ... * The psychologists Barry Schwartz and Adam Grant argue, in a brilliant paper, that, in fact, nearly everything of consequence follows the inverted U: ‘Across many domains of psychology, one finds that X increases Y to a point, and then it decreases Y. ... There is no such thing as an unmitigated good. All positive traits, states, and experiences have costs that at high levels may begin to outweigh their benefits.’”
“We all assume that being bigger and stronger and richer is always in our best interest. Vivek Ranadivé, a shepherd boy named David, and the principal of Shepaug Valley Middle School will tell you that it isn’t.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #5
COURAGE IS WHAT YOU EARN
“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough at all. Do you see the catastrophic error that the Germans made? They bombed London because they thought that the trauma associated with the Blitz would destroy the courage of the British people. In fact, it did the opposite. It created a city of remote misses, who were more courageous than they had ever been before. The Germans would have been better off not bombing London at all.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #6
“The CRT is really hard. But here’s the strange thing. Do you know the easiest way to raise people’s scores on the test? Make it just a little bit harder. The psychologists Adam Alter and Daniel Oppenheimer tried this a few years ago with a group of undergraduates at Princeton University. First they gave the CRT the normal way, and the students averaged 1.9 correct answers out of three. That’s pretty good, though it is well short of the 2.18 that MIT students averaged. Then Alter and Oppenheimer printed out the test questions in a font that was really hard to read—a 10 percent gray, 10-point italics Myriad Pro font—so it looked like this: The average score this time around? 2.45. Suddenly, the students were doing much better than their counterparts at MIT. That’s strange, isn’t it? Normally we think that we are better at solving problems when they are presented clearly and simply. But here the opposite happened.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #7
STRENGTH AND PURPOSE
“It was not the privileged and the fortunate who took in the Jews in France. It was the marginal and the damaged, which should remind us that there are real limits to what evil and misfortune can accomplish. If you take away the gift of reading, you create the gift of reading, you create the gift of listening. If you bomb a city, you leave behind death and destruction. But you create a community of remote misses. If you take away a mother or a father, you cause suffering and despair. But one time in ten, out of that despair rises an indomitable force. You see the giant and the shepherd in the Valley of Elah and your eye is drawn to the man with the sword and shield and the glittering armor. But so much of what is beautiful and valuable in the world comes from the shepherd, who has more strength and purpose than we ever imagine.” (End Quote)
Alright then, some pretty powerful ideas to think about yourself or have an expanded conversation in the car with whoever is with you, and see what really hit home? For me, it comes from the first book, One Percent Better, by Brian Cain. This is the second half of the quote. ‘Mr. Big, there are 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in each hour. How many minutes are there in a day?’ I quickly took out my phone and asked, ‘Hey, Siri. How many minutes in a day?’ ‘There are 1,440 minutes in a day,’ Siri chimed back. Then she asked, ‘What’s 1% of 1,440?’ This is where I was stumped. I wasn’t sure how to do the math. After all, I wasn’t a math teacher. ‘No idea,’ I replied. ‘1% of a day is 14 minutes and 24 seconds,’ she said emphatically. ‘Everyone wants to get 1% better but they fail to intentionally invest 1% of their day because they don’t even know that it’s a strategy for success.’” (End Quote)
Well that concludes another episode of the hockey journey podcast. I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and listening. I hope you enjoyed The Performance Advantage. If you think there’s someone in your circle of family and friends that might like this episode as well, please share it with just one person, it will really help me in growing this hockey community.
Again, I appreciate you being here, don’t forget to subscribe, rate or submit a review, I hope to see you back here soon, and do me a favor, make someone close to you smile today. All the best my friends!!