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TAKE 5 with USA Hockey’s Matt Herr

08/18/2014, 2:00pm MDT
By USAHockey.com

From lifelong friendships to powerful life lessons to everlasting memories of thrilling victories, there are many reasons for your kids to play sports.

As a parent, you can encourage your kids to participate in, or at least try, youth sports. With so many other factors and activities pulling them in different directions, it’s important to properly frame and discuss the many rewards of playing sports.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ sat down with USA Hockey coach Matt Herr to get his thoughts on the importance of playing sports along with the life lessons he learned.

In our exclusive TAKE 5 interview, Matt, who serves as Regional Manager of the American Development Model, told us that he believes the biggest life lesson taught by sports is to fully focus on and address the details – because they always add up to something bigger.

“Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to show his teams how to wear their socks,” said Matt. “In sports, it’s about doing the little things correctly in order to accomplish something bigger in the end. In order to succeed, you need to take care of the details.”

Matt added that sports also teach kids to process and come back from setbacks.

“We will all fail at some point in our lives,” said Matt. “The hope is that we can learn from that failure and become better, whether in school, at our jobs, or in hockey.”

Matt stressed that it’s also important for both coaches and parents to help their kids deal with those failures and setbacks after they happen.

“Kids know when they have not played well in a game,” said Matt. “Parents should be supportive, and once the dust has settled (not on the car ride home), help their child understand what steps can be taken in order to improve for next time.”

Matt told us his parents were always there for him when it came to offering this kind of strong, smart support. He also recalled a particularly powerful example of that parental support and dedication.

“My mom would put on the goalie pads at times and let me shoot on her in the driveway,” remembered Matt. “Having now played at all levels from Mites to the NHL, I wish I had that time back when my mom was shooting tennis balls at me pretending she was Ron Duguay (New York Rangers) and I was Billy Smith (New York Islanders) playing for the Stanley Cup.”

To Matt, this is just another example of the game of hockey not only teaching many life lessons, but  also offering a very compelling reason for kids to play, no matter how far their career advances.

“The number one reason: it is FUN!,” said Matt.

To read the full TAKE 5 interview with Matt, visit PlayPositive.com. And come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 interview!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of sportsmanship and integrity shown by people every day. We created Play Positive™, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

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From lifelong friendships to powerful life lessons to everlasting memories of thrilling victories, there are many reasons for your kids to play sports.

As a parent, you can encourage your kids to participate in, or at least try, youth sports. With so many other factors and activities pulling them in different directions, it’s important to properly frame and discuss the many rewards of playing sports.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ sat down with USA Hockey coach Matt Herr to get his thoughts on the importance of playing sports along with the life lessons he learned.

In our exclusive TAKE 5 interview, Matt, who serves as Regional Manager of the American Development Model, told us that he believes the biggest life lesson taught by sports is to fully focus on and address the details – because they always add up to something bigger.

“Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to show his teams how to wear their socks,” said Matt. “In sports, it’s about doing the little things correctly in order to accomplish something bigger in the end. In order to succeed, you need to take care of the details.”

Matt added that sports also teach kids to process and come back from setbacks.

“We will all fail at some point in our lives,” said Matt. “The hope is that we can learn from that failure and become better, whether in school, at our jobs, or in hockey.”

Matt stressed that it’s also important for both coaches and parents to help their kids deal with those failures and setbacks after they happen.

“Kids know when they have not played well in a game,” said Matt. “Parents should be supportive, and once the dust has settled (not on the car ride home), help their child understand what steps can be taken in order to improve for next time.”

Matt told us his parents were always there for him when it came to offering this kind of strong, smart support. He also recalled a particularly powerful example of that parental support and dedication.

“My mom would put on the goalie pads at times and let me shoot on her in the driveway,” remembered Matt. “Having now played at all levels from Mites to the NHL, I wish I had that time back when my mom was shooting tennis balls at me pretending she was Ron Duguay (New York Rangers) and I was Billy Smith (New York Islanders) playing for the Stanley Cup.”

To Matt, this is just another example of the game of hockey not only teaching many life lessons, but  also offering a very compelling reason for kids to play, no matter how far their career advances.

“The number one reason: it is FUN!,” said Matt.

To read the full TAKE 5 interview with Matt, visit PlayPositive.com. And come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 interview!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of sportsmanship and integrity shown by people every day. We created Play Positive™, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

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Three ways to beat burnout

11/28/2016, 9:45pm MST
By Dave Pond

According to NHL metrics, the average hockey shift lasts somewhere between 45 and 55 seconds. There’s inherent beauty and fluidity to line changes, as skaters come on and off the ice, looking to recharge after going full throttle for their teams.

Meanwhile, your NHL officiating peers are giving their all, too – regularly logging 4-5 miles a game. Those totals are even greater at your level, where you and your colleagues officiate multiple games a day, several times per week, on a seemingly never-ending calendar.

And, although we want to perform our best every game, everyone has both good days and bad – players and officials alike. To learn more about keeping burnout at bay, we went to the experts: longtime amateur hockey scheduler Larry Carrington and former NHL official Mark Faucette.

“There is so much more to officiating than meets the eye,” said Faucette, a 17-year NHL veteran. “It may look easy from the stands, but to maintain total control of a game along with the stress, slumps, supervisors, travel, and fitness regimen takes a very special kind of person.”

Get in shape (and stay there)
We all think we’re in “pretty good” shape, but the reality is, officials must be top athletes and in great condition – even at the youngest levels.

“Conditioning is very important—the deeper into the season, the more important it is,” Carrington said. “Burnout happens physically, mentally, and emotionally. An official who is in good condition will experience less physical burnout, and that will in turn help with the emotional and mental burnout.”

Faucette stresses following a workout routine that maxes yourself at least every other day. Neither player or official should plan to use games as a vehicle toward better physical fitness.

“Where we used to go to camp to get into shape, officials today are on summer conditioning regimens and are tested as soon as they come to camp,” he said. “Taking care of your body is a total focus for the good official.

“The players are so much stronger and faster now, so it’s imperative the officials keep the same pace.”

Find balance
No, not balance on your skates (that’s a given). Rather, make sure to keep the big picture in mind, to work a manageable schedule that includes everything that’s important to you – family, friends, and time away from the rink.

Although it makes Carrington’s job as an assignor more difficult, he said it pays off in the long run.

“I encourage officials to take at least one weekend off to get away from hockey,” he said. “I certainly don't want to lose their services for a week, but the invigoration that it usually provides makes them a much more valuable asset over the course of the season.”

That’s huge in an industry where both mental and physical fatigue are commonplace.

“Every official runs into slumps, just as players do,” Faucette said. “You spend numerous hours alone as an official, and when things are not going good, where everything is negative, it can cause you duress.

“Positive thoughts and self-evaluations speed up recovery,” he continued. “So, instead of telling yourself, ‘I wonder what bad thing will happen tonight?’ say ‘I’m ready for anything – bring it on!’”

Have fun
It’s No. 3 here, but should be No. 1 on your to-do list.

“I realize the officials are all trying hard, and mistakes are part of any sport by any participant,” said Faucette, who currently serves as supervisor of officials for USA Hockey, the NAHL director of player safety and the SPHL director of officiating. “That being said, the joy I get out of seeing a young official start out at ground level and making the big time one day is immeasurable.”

For most of you reading this, the “big time” might not be the end goal (and that’s OK). But wherever you are, there’s experience you’ve gained, as well as that to come – which both point back to why you first got involved in this great sport.

As an assignor, Carrington tries to get out of the office as much as he can and intentionally varies the schedules of his officials to help keep things fresh. He also encourages his more senior officials to lend a hand to those who aren’t as long in the tooth.

“Going to the rink and helping officials help themselves get better can be very invigorating,” he said. “Even a very good, very experienced official will often find it fun and relaxing to mentor some new official at a lower-level game where the stress levels aren’t nearly as high.”

But no matter where you officiate, Carrington emphasizes keeping one thing in mind: the love of the sport and those playing it today.

“If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be out there.”

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By Harry Thompson - USA Hockey Magazine

Bill Belisle has coached for the past 42 seasons

Speaking from his heart, Coach touches the hearts of millions

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