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Changing the Culture

Category: Uncategorised
Published: Monday, 24 October 2016

Youth Soccer News: Over the years youth sports has changed from something kids did for fun to a means to achieve a goal. Whether it is to gain a college scholarship or to make an elite team, Vincent J. Stanley is working to bring the FUN back to youth sports. Stanley says, “Kids need to be kids and play for fun.”

Vincent J. (VJStanley is a long-time coach in multiple sports and the founder and president ofFrozen Shorts, which encourages children to play sports for fun. Stanley has written a book, Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports: Achieving Balanced Excellence and Health While Embracing the Value of Play for Fun, which is a guide for families, coaches and players to encourage the idea of playing youth sports for fun. The book is available as an E-book and came out in October 2012 as a MP3 file. A paperback version came out in 2013.

From Mr. Pat Burke on Youth Sports

Category: Uncategorised
Published: Monday, 17 October 2016

A coach's greatest asset is his sense of responsibility - the reliance placed on him by his players.

— Knute Rockne

Sports are big business, whether it is high school, college, or professional leagues.  At a young age, more children are gravitating to a single sport and playing it almost year-round through various leagues.  With the potential of a college scholarship from a top flight school and maybe even a lucrative professional career, the seductive power of winning can diminish the importance of sport being a mechanism for healthy character development.

Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne  has the highest Division I winning percentage among coaches in college football history. In the 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American, Rockne (played by Pat O’Brien) explained his purpose in being a coach.  He said it was about teaching young men the importance of hard work, self-sacrifice and the humility found in effective teams.  He indicated he wouldn’t know if he was successful for 10 to 15 years following a player’s graduation to see if he had become an honorable and responsible member of his community.


V.J. Stanley Jr., the former University of Rochester hockey coach, has written two books (Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports and Less is More) on the risks and lost opportunity that exist when the ends justify the means and the gift of the journey of team participation is lost.  Stanley makes the case that the pressure put on children to win overshadows the importance of participation and having fun.  Rockne was famous for saying, “I don’t play my best 11, I play my 11 best,” stressing the importance of the togetherness of team over the glorification in individual talent.

I’ve witnessed many businesses fail when a highly talented CEO is removed and the lack of an effective team cannot maintain the business. It is likely the single biggest risk for successful entrepreneurs that the business becomes “who they are,” not “what they do.”

I coached youth basketball, sixth-graders, and recognized how impactful a coach can be with young people.  Our team’s winning formula was “teamwork + discipline = success.”  At the end of the season, one of the boys asked me why I didn’t talk about winning, after finishing the season with a string of consecutive wins.  I explained to him, I can’t coach “winning,” but if we work together I can coach “becoming” the best person you can be.

Leaders in business, like coaches in sports, have a solemn responsibility to their employees and players in making them the best person they can be and resist the temptation of using them as an instrument of their own desires.

So let’s get to work.

Patrick Burke is managing principal of Burke Group in Brighton. He can be reached atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our Pre Hab

Category: Uncategorised
Published: Monday, 03 October 2016

Pre Hab. We did it every day when I coached in college. We had fewest injuries in our league 20 out of 21 years I was the head coach. Took whole first year to change the culture. If you left practice or game with injury you had to have a doctor’s note to return. No exceptions. We did what is now called dynamic stretching every day. And REST. We gave our players every Monday off and NEVER practiced on ice day after the game. There is a big mental part to this. Create an environment where they miss the rink. I encouraged our guys to play another sport. When they went home in the summer they had to rest for 2 months no hockey. Then, only 3 weeks to play and they had to play a different position.Contact us. We will show your team and orgainzation how to do this for your sport! Healthy athletes and teams play better!

Science the brain and athletics

Category: Uncategorised
Published: Monday, 26 September 2016

The most talented players, unless intrinsically motivated, and that motivation must include helping other players play well around them, are very few and far between.  When the most talented players play well, they have no checks and balances that gauge their performance in a game.  The only true gauge is not winning or losing on the scoreboard, but how many positive experiences they can be rewarded for.  But if they are still playing when they are not playing well (post puberty) they lose their desire and impetus to change their behavior and, ultimately, their style of play. 

The amygdala is a part of the brain that stores all your past events, good and bad, so you need way more positive events in that storage facility so it is easier for the negative ones to be overridden as stressful situations arise and you go back to that memory bank to make a withdrawal. The Hippocampus which is part of the Limbic system stores memories.  For example, if you are having a bad day at practice during a scrimmage and you are not taken out; your brain feels that you are performing good enough to stay in.  That level of play is not good enough, whether it be during practice or a game, but your brain is using that as a measuring stick in that area on how to perform.  Therefore, your brain is confused as to how to get better.  Just like in a classroom when you don’t understand the assignment.  Your past experiences, which are not always positive because of the stress and importance put on winning, are overridden by the front of the brain trying to fix the problem through thought not muscle memory actions.  The prefrontal cortex in your brain decides it’s time to intervene and there you go thinking when you should be acting and reacting.  This just adds to your confusion and stress level.  The hypothalamus starts to release hormones to your body in reaction to that stress.  The reservoir is not being filled with earned playing time so there is no reinforcement in the brain to get better. 

It’s why you can sit and go back in and play better when you are not playing well.  You can clear your brain from having to think during the stressful game situation.  When you go back in, you’re fresh and your muscle memory can hopefully override the frontal cortex desire to think about the stress and react to it.  Hopefully, you are more relaxed, you start to have fun and enjoy the moment instead of thinking about it.