What is Right with the Montreal Canadiens

 What is Right With the Montreal Canadiens

 Focus on the Positives to Achieve Better Performances                                                                                                                                                             Coach Doron B.A., D.S.A., M.Sc.

December 24, 2011

Anyone living in the city of Montreal right now knows that the Montreal Canadiens are not performing up to their potential. In fact, the organization is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Rather than focusing on what is wrong with the Montreal Canadiens, we should focus on what is right!


To get an immediate uplift, I highly recommend you check out Anakid Slayd’s  ”stand up” video which aims to unite the city in support of your franchise.

If we can learn from successful scholars and authors such as Steven Covey, we should « begin with the end in mind ». We all want the 25th Stanly Cup to be hoisted above the captain’s head and seeing it transported on St-Catherine Street. We should ask the right questions such as how can we do everything possible to improve their chances? Everyone has a role:

Fan’s Role:

·          Rather, then booing poor performances, unconditionally support your team. Rain or shine let them hear it, see it and feel it.

·          Sing the “Ole Ole” every home game even when the team is losing. What a great feeling it is to be happy when things are not going well. One would be amazed how fast things can turn around with this perspective.

·          After a goal scored upon the Habs, immediately start chanting « Go Habs Go ». Athletes are more prone to success with support vs. conditional acceptance especially in a city where the athletes are backed up only when they win. Wouldn’t it be great to focus on what can we do to reboud back after an unsuccessful event? Why not right here, right now?


How do you think the athletes feel with 21273 bosses criticizing their work? Do you think this spurs their brains neurons to illicit creative plays of excellence? Let me tell you from my experience working as a sports psychology coach, this tends to alienate even the best players and thereafter the athlete loses that spark to create, recreate and maintain their motivation – even if they are supposed to be professionals.

Media’s Role:

·          The media can accentuate the positives of each games (even when a team loses) to create a path of success vs. what is going wrong. No doubt, I am not in denial. Players need to step up especially those whose primarily roles is to put the puck across the goal line.

·          Print out fresh new articles on the players so that the fans can really get to know them.

·          Highlight the many gestures the team does for the less fortunate.

·          Provide management with other ideas on how their team and brand can help. Look on the bright side and shift your lens.

·         Having read focusing on the positives in the Montreal Gazette, what about similar uplifting feel good stories every week about the players.

·          Stop focusing on the coach’s language skills (or lack-of) and allow him to work in an environment that embraces his skills and knowledge. He certainly earned it. It is always easy to second guess and play arm chair quarterback. The term is called the knew it all along effect.  For now, let things unfold and simply describe the events without passing judgement.

Management’s Role

·          Step up efforts for scouting the best players around the world. Stop reminiscing about past performances and take the steps necessary so that you can help the team now and for years to come.

·          Increase the value of the psychological factors that a player can bring on the ice. Remember a player with less talent but who has superior mental skills is far better off for the club. Evaluate they psychological attributes of commitment, team play, mental toughness and ensure the player is dedicated to the city. Team workshops (read more) that focus precisely in these areas can serve as valuable building blocks for success.  This approach has certainly helped young kids build their mental skills while playing sports (read more).

·          The team is searching for its identify with the recent changes in coaching staff and players. This is a similar team that was one goal away from beating the Stanley Cup champions Bruins in the deciding game 7 in 2011. Are you making a change for the sake of change or does the change have a clear purpose?

Player’s Role

·          Focus on bringing back their game to the basics as the cliché goes “keeping it simple”. Home games don’t need to be so entertaining. Local fans also enjoy those dirty goals.

·          Enjoy playing in the best National Hockey League city as this is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Focus on the process, savour it and be in the moment.  The results will follow shortly.

·          Trust your skills. You’ve done your moves thousands of times in practice and in your mind. Allow yourself the freedom to express yourself even if this means you might make a mistake.

In summary, let us build on one’s strengths and thereafter the gaps of weakness will rectify itself because one will be in a better position with more confidence, enhanced self-talk (see video),  belief in onself and buying into the team concept. Everyone pushing in the same direction, thinking they can (see video) creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is amazing what we can do if we just focus on the positives. What do you see when you first see this picture? Did you see an old lady? Did you see a younger lady? It depends on what you focus on. The Canadiens organization is one of the most sought out franchises in professional sports. The CH serves as a model for others who only dream of having such a loyal fan base and deep rooted commitment to the community. Get out there and focus on your role while supporting your bleu – blanc rouge!

By Coach Doron

Coach Doron is a sports psychology coach who helps athletes improve their mental skills.

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