I just finished an initial consultation with a college soccer player. He plays at one of the top 5 programs in the US. He just finished his freshman year. He played in every game this season and started most of them. He's a pretty rare athlete. Even for someone that does not play on ice. His coaches asked him to get some training in mental training and his family found me via the Seattle Sounders FC and theinternet as I trust by now you all have at www.TheMental-Game.com. It was a fairlylengthilyinterview. He and his mom wanting to understand where I came from and why they should work with me.
The entire process got me thinking. We have not been properly introduced. I have now written 26 posts for Junior Hockey. Some of you have been kind enough to read my stuff and pass it on to others. I appreciate that.ButI am a relative stranger, so Ithoughtyou should know who I am other than by the brief bio attached to my page.
So I'd like to tell you a story. It will, as my stories most often do, have a point in the end.
I've been working with athletes on the game within the game for almost 35 years. I like to tell people that it means I started when I was 5. It is obvious for anyone that has seen a recent picture of me that this statement is clearly a bald-faced lie. OK I'll admit to 13 then. If there is a point to this Margolies get on with it would you.
I left the friendly confines ofHumboldt State Universitywith degree in hand to pursue myMasters Degreein Sport Science under the supervision of one Marvin Clein. I had been given an assistantship solely based on my ability to teach fencing. This of course was a complete or almost complete fabrication. I had taken one-quarter of fencing in college. The first thing my French trained instructor had said in class was that in France we wouldn't touch a foil for 2 years. I'd had 3 months and was prepared to teach the course in college. This of course is the confidence of a 21-year-old soccer playing, PE major.
I graduated in June, drove to Colorado to be aPark Ranger(this will be another chapter some day) and found my way to the ivy brick buildings of theUniversity of Denver, 2 days before my program and teaching fencing began. I was directed into the department chairs office. He didn't get up. He was on the phone. He said (it seemed to me curtly), I'm on the phone, talk to Bruce. Here I had driven all this way and he was on the phone. At least I thought I had 10 minutes left before he started in on me on fencing.
While lost in this thought I heard a voice. Bruce was communicating with me and I was not very attentive. I apologized and paid attention. Bruce was an older man (keep in mind I was 21). He had white hair and a friendly smile. He asked how my trip had been and what I wanted to do with my life.
I told him I wanted to coach because almost every coach I'd ever had was not great and had gotten it all wrong. This included my soccer coach who I admired a great deal. He had failed in my year with him to turn me into a NASL player, so how good could he have been after all. My football coach CAL State LA didn't think I was worthy of starting as a freshman (it's a secret, but the guy ahead of me was drafted into the NFL). My High School coaches were more concerned with the length of my hair... OH well these are talks for another time. Let's just say that I wanted to coach athletes and knew there was a better way and I wanted to find it.
I had been rambling for a minute or two when I noticed Bruce was smiling. I assumed that he thought I was just another idiot college kid. I said we hadn't been really introduced. He said his name was Bruce Olgilvie and he was a good friend of Marv's. We talked for another half hour before Marv found his way off the phone. I had realized that I did know Bruce. I had read about him in text books and inSports Illustrated. He was like the modern father of Sports Psychology. He and some guy named Tutko at San Jose State worked together. I was pretty much in aw, but Bruce drew me out. We talked about athletes he had worked with and the Olympics. It was very cool.
While we had been chatting away like a couple of teenagers, he noticed first, that now Marv was smiling. I figured that grumpy Marv was about to give me something to think about, like which direction to take back to California. Instead he said to Bruce it was time for lunch. He got up and walked to the door with his old friend leaving me standing (I had gotten up not knowing what to do). When he got to the door he barked "Margolies, your driving and flipped me the keys". It was an odd way to start on this 30 year journey working with athletes.
I can hear Marv now in his loud gruff voice "Margolies- tell these people the point" "alright Marv- I hear you (he's been gone 10 years or so and his voice still guides me).
I've been at this a long time. I was a failure as an athlete that learned to help others where I had failed. I was bold enough (confidence) to say I could do something to meet my need of an education. Yet I was terrified and stressed that I would be found out and dismissed. We are all like that a lot of the time, as people and athletes. We believe in ourselves, yet we doubt ourselves. It's our EQ. Checks andbalance. Had it not been for Bruce getting me to talk about what I wanted to do with my life, I might have been on that long bus ride back to California. He was able to allow me to be me, as was Marv. When I work with athletes and help them to become who they want to become, it's just like being in that office. They did me a great favor and I've tried to show my gratitude to them all these years by helping train those that seek out my help as tribute to them. What's your EQ? Make it work for you and you may want to thank someone 30 years later too. I've had that privilege, being on the receiving end, and I'll tell you it makes it all worthwhile.
This is my why. It's important to me for you to understand. It's just as important to me, that YOY understand your own WHY. When you do, you will be a better hockey player!