• Share this article:

First, What Really Matters

Monday, April 18, 2005 - 22:43 by Mike Milinkovich

I am very fortunate to have a professional position which I thoroughly enjoy. Really, not that many people get to have a job that they are really passionate about.

Over time, I expect that this blog will be filled with postings about Eclipse and its various developments. That’s what I do, and that’s my main purpose in writing here.

But I thought that it might be fun to start off my blog talking about the other thing that I am truly passionate about. (Well, OK, my family is truly #1, but that’s a given.)

In my case, the activity that I love the most outside of the job is hockey. More specifically, it’s coaching young kids’ house league hockey. I’ve been doing this in one capacity or another for ten years now, so I don’t think that this is just a passing interest. I still play twice a week when I’m not traveling, but most of the eleven and twelve year olds on my team already play better than I do.

This is my fifth season as a head coach and for the first time I coached my team to a league championship just this weekend. This whole season has been a really positive experience for myself and the boys on my team. I coach my youngest son, and he’s pretty happy that I’ve finally come through with a winning formula. Usually my pattern is to coach teams which end the regular season in first place and then tank in the playoffs.

The difference this year was that I really focused on the psychology of the team and worked hard to ensure that the team did not peak too early. It is a strange thing, but this simple idea worked wonders. In case you haven’t guessed, I am Canadian. In this country recreational hockey is played for almost eight months. Keeping kids interested, committed and keen for that long is an exercise in motivation. Since I coach recreational hockey, everything has to be kept positive and fun. Actually, I believe that even if I was coaching competitive-level hockey that would be the way to do things.

If you’ve never tried volunteering in your community as a coach, I highly recommend it. I do other volunteer activities, but there is nothing nearly as rewarding as teaching kids how to play a game that you truly love. And surprisingly, I have learned a lot from kids about how to motivate and lead in other situations. In some ways, coaching a team has similarities to leading a community. That may someday be a topic for another post.