New Episodes Released Every Tuesday!
Nov. 16, 2021

Why Coaches Should Develop All Players and Have Fun in the Process

Why Coaches Should Develop All Players and Have Fun in the Process

Coaching is coaching regardless of the sport. Caring about athletes as people, embracing the process of changing lives, intentionally building relationships are just a few of the themes that have been covered on previous episodes showcasing coaches of multiple sports. Today, I’m excited to feature our first hockey coach, Paul Pearl, who in July was named head coach for boys hockey at Cushing Academy, an elite prep school in Massachusetts.

Coach Pearl has coached hockey at the D1 level for more than 30 years, most recently at Boston University & Harvard. Before his time at BU and Harvard, Pearl was head coach at Holy Cross for 19 years and remains the all-time winningest coach in their history. 

Now you may be asking yourself, “Why would a coach with a D1 pedigree agree to become a head coach at a high school.” Well I posted Cushing Academy’s hockey facilities on Twitter (@LukeMertens). Check it out and LMK if that would be of interest to you? Also, if you’re unfamiliar with Cushing, the hockey program is one of the top in the country, producing 18 NHL players, 5 Olympians, & 8 players from last year’s team earned D1 scholarships.

In this episode you will learn: 

  • What makes a successful head coach
  • The vital role lower-level coaches play in building a program
  • And how to balance development within the expectations of winning

Resources:

Cushing Academy

More Info Cushing Hockey & Coach Pearl


Review The "I" in Win on Apple Podcast or my website to let me know what you think of the show.

 

Transcript

Luke:

This is episode 15 of The "I" in Win podcast.

Paul:

And then the way that you impart it is really huge too. You can be, um, you to be firm, right? But you never have to be demeaning. You never have to be negative. And you certainly, you gotta, you gotta be, know that you're a role model,

Coaching is coaching, regardless of the sport. Caring about athletes as people and embracing the process of changing lives, intentionally building relationships are just a few of the themes that have been covered on previous episodes, showcasing coaches of multiple sports. Today, I'm excited to feature our first hockey coach, Paul Pearl, who in July, was named head coach for boys hockey at Cushing Academy, an elite prep school in Massachusetts. Coach Pearl has coached D one hockey for over 30 years. Most recently at Boston and Harvard universities before his time at BU and Harvard, Pearl was head coach at holy cross for 19 years. And remains the all-time winningest coach in their history. Now you may be asking yourself, just like I did. Why would a coach with a D one pedigree agree to become a head coach at a high school? Well, I post a Cushing Academy's hockey facilities on Twitter (@LukeMertens). Check that out and you let me know if you'd be interested in that job. Also, if run from there with Cushing, they're an elite hockey program, one of the top in the country producing 18 NHL players, five Olympians and eight players, some last year's team alone, earned D one scholarships. In this episode, coach Pearl teach us what makes a successful head coach, the vital role lower-level coaches play in building a program and how to balance development with the expectations of winning. Hope you enjoy the episode

Luke:

Okay. Welcome to another episode of the "I" in Win. And I want to welcome on our guest today, Paul Pearl, and he has over 30 years of coaching division, one hockey at Boston, Harvard, holy cross, UConn and Brown, and recently was named head coach at Cushing Academy, which is a prep school in Massachusetts coach. Thanks for being.

Paul:

Thanks for having me.

Luke:

And let's start with Cushing academy. Why don't you give our listeners a little bit of a snapshot of what your school looks like?

Paul:

Uh, Cushing is a boarding school in central mass. We're about 50 minutes Northwest of Boston. So nice location. We have a 382 students here, boys hand girls. And actually it's a super high percentage. We have like 94% of them actually live on campus. So we have little to no day population here. So it truly is a community. And, uh, it's been a really cool, cool spot. And from a hockey standpoint, I I'd been gone pretty long there in division one hockey. Enjoyed it thoroughly, but a friend of mine was the previous coach here and he was stepping down and he let me know that they were looking. So I came and had a look around and kind of from a hockey standpoint, with all of the players that have come through here over the years and how supportive the administration is for the sport. I saw it felt like a college job to me. So I took it here. I am.

Luke:

And you've had multiple roles as head coach in both assistant coach. So let's start with that head coach piece, in your opinion, what makes a great head coach?

Paul:

I think a couple of things, I mean, one, you know, if you're going to be the head coach, you need to become an expert in your field. Right? It's like running a company. So, I need to become an expert on Cushing academy as fast as possible. And then I think you need to be an expert in what you're doing. So, you know, I'd like to think I have a pretty good hockey background and know, you know, a good amount of the X's and O's, and, and what is important for our team to do, to win hockey games and to develop players. And then I think three, you certainly need to be a people person and be able to relate to not just the kids that you're coaching, but their parents and people that are important to them. Um, and then for, I think you need to be accessible to the kids on your team all the time. And that's a college, that's a prep school. That's anywhere that, you know, if a kid has a problem, might have nothing to do with hockey might be you know, everything to do something that is completely non hockey related. You're going to be there to listen and help and, and certainly help guide these kids as they grow up in.

Luke:

Over 30 years coaching experience at the division one level 19 as a head coach, why did you decide to work backwards and start coaching high school age athletes?

Paul:

Well, I really want it to be a head coach again. And like I said, when, when Steve asked her to come out and have a look at for, I didn't think I'd want to do it, tell you the truth, because exactly what you're saying. No, when I came here, like it's such a big part of this school. 12 guys go on and play in the NHL. You know, all the 200 division one hockey players in the past, um between men's and women's hockey. I want to say eight or nine Olympians. Like th there's there's just a huge hockey tradition here and the way they treat it and the support they give, it felt a lot like when I was head coach and holy cross, to tell you the truth, like, like they're behind hockey, it's smaller. It's certainly not the big pond of, uh, or the big, big ocean. Division one hockey coach in it at BU or at Harvard, but it's pretty big and it's important. And that, to me, I don't have like the need to be seen on TV or anything. I just, I want to work somewhere where people are equally as passionate about putting together a good hockey program as I am. And so I really felt that here in obscene, nothing but that since I got here, so it's been fancy.

Luke:

And now as head coach, you have to build a program because you have three levels. You have a varsity. Varsity B and a JV. And I'm assuming you want alignment. You know, I was a head football coach and I wanted to make sure that I had as much alignment in my program as possible. And I wanted to meet with my lower level coaches as much as possible prior to the season, because once a season begins, we're going our own direction, trying to run our level of football. So in your situation, You're meeting with your Lola lower-level coaches, what's your directive to them? What is their role as a low-level coach?

Paul:

Develop players, you know, like develop them as hockey players develop them as people, you know, and, and all the things that I just said about what I expect out of myself. Approachable and being available, like that's really important for them too. And the nice thing about Cushing and nice thing about ice hockey, you know, I can hop on the ice for their practices too. Like I'm here all the time. They're they're skating. I'd rather be on the ice any day instead of, you know, sitting in my office. So, I planned to be hyper. Connected to those guys. And, and certainly, you know, we, we've already met once and we'll meet a bunch more times as the season almost is here just to make sure that we're all kind of doing the same things, and then the second part of that is just making sure the systems are all the same so that a kid can seamlessly move up through the ranks here and feel good about the style of play that.

Luke:

So the developmental piece for me with football was I would tell my little level coaches, Hey guys, the only way they're going to develop is if you coach them all, and if you let them all play and to be totally Frank with you. I would get pushback. I'd get pushback from assistant coaches and I would get pushback from parents. And usually it was the parents of the best players, because they want their son out there playing both ways. And why are we wasting time? How come we're not trying to win games? And I felt like everyone was just so short-sighted in all of this. So now I have the opportunity to talk to you. You know, division one pedigree you've coached at very high level. Why is that developmental piece just so important on the lower levels and is letting kids play and develop.

Paul:

Um, I have many thoughts on that, but I think the number one thing is, it's not about the adults ever it's about the kids and about their development. You know, but sometimes unfortunately people think from a coaching stance, It's their next step on the rung. And they're going to use that and they want to win games when games win games and that that's gonna get them to the next level of coaching or whatever it might be. And it's just the exact wrong thing to think about it. Like the sport of ice hockey. It's not about the coaches. It's not about the refs. It's not about the scorekeeper. It's not about all the noise you hear, or you see on Twitter about this, that, and the other thing in the end, it's just the kids. Like, even if you're coaching. You called your coach in the Chicago Blackhawks. Your number one job is to get the team to the game. Other than that, the players play, and you know, certainly that's a professional level and they need to win and all that, but good out to youth, same thing. Get the kids there and let them play. And if they're younger, how do you know who's good unless you play everybody, like you have to give opportunity. You have to let kids develop. That might be some kid who, when he was eight, had way more opportunity to do something. So he might be better at that point. But then some kid who rolled around at age 11, it was never, you know, use your sport, pick up a football before, and then it jumps up. And you know, if that kid never gets on the field, how do you know if he's going to turn out to be pretty good? You know? So I just, I just feel that parents, coaches, officials, everybody needs to get out of the way and just let the kids play a little bit. And, um, obviously everyone likes to win and there's, there's nothing wrong with trying to win. I'm not trying to say that you shouldn't, but I think you have to try to win within the team concept. You know, it's, it's very, very important to keep the USA hockey funnel. For more kids to move on. Cause I can tell you right now if I'm 10 and I've already gotten tagged as someone who can't play on the powerplay, I'm probably not playing the sport anymore. When I'm playing. Like, because like what you gonna, you got you to make me a fourth liner as a ten-year-old and I'm going to block shots and occasionally kill a penalty. Like that's not fun, you know? Um, I mean, and not, not all look at me, but just, I can give you a real life example was I coach my son's 14 year old team, is that sick eight or nine years ago when we played in the new England hockey league final game and we had that team together. Those kids in played together probably seven or eight years growing up all the way from mites. And, you know, a couple of kids moved away and we added a couple of kids, but for the most part we had a core of 10 that had been together and we lost in the final game in overtime. With basically are, if, you know, in hockey par launch out third line and our third pairing D on the ice, and I couldn't have cared less. Like it just like, Hey, would the kids have loved to have jumped around with trophies? Absolutely. But. Those third pairing day and those that they're lying, it felt that good about it. If they hadn't actually played an overtime, no, it would have been awful. So I think you have to look at, you know, all sports has as part of child development, right. And, and Hey, it's not everybody gets to do everything equal in life. All I get on. But when they're younger and you're in sports. Yeah. You, you've got to let everybody try to do all the different aspects of the sport or else. I would think you'd probably shirk and your responsibilities a little bit, maybe a little bit too worried about winning. Um, and then the, the other thing I've found, if you do do that, because as I told you, we didn't lose, we didn't lose in the first round that we lost in the championship final. Right. All those kids had developed pretty well, you know? Cause they had been doing all that stuff. The eight years we were coaching them, you know, so we never had a power play. We'd never had a, like we had systems, but everybody knew them and this is what we do. And this is how we get better at it, you know? Um, no. And then I think once you had 16, 17, 18, absolutely. Now you get into some specialization in the sport you get into. Okay. Maybe winning's a little more important, et cetera. Yeah. Then, then I think you get down, get down.

Luke:

And I'll, let's talk to youth coaches. And based off your response, I, think I know what you're going to say to this question. You have a group of youth coaches, what would you tell them their obligation is as.

Paul:

Again, going back to the beginning of this, having as much knowledge about the sport as you possibly can and being able to impart that to your players, that's huge. And then the way that you impart it is really huge too. You can be, um, you to be firm, right? But you never have to be demeaning. You never have to be negative. And you certainly, you gotta, you gotta be, know that you're a role model, because whether you, whether you want to not, and no matter how strong a parent is or how great your relationship with your kid is and stuff, you're not over there on the bench and that you spend a lot of time with these guys and. That it's it's first and foremost, their responsibility to be good human beings and to make decisions for their kids that keep in mind safety. Role modeling education, all the different things that sports is supposed to be part of like, like sports would become a business, obviously. And you know, I'm not going to sit here and start yelling at clouds, but I'm just saying I was growing up, my father used to coach our teams. He never got paid a cent. Right. He was really, really good hockey coach because he's my dad. Do I think that, yeah, absolutely. But we, we always had good teams and we had fun and we had a lot of good players. Whatever, what do you got paid? $0, 0 cents. And you know, we practice twice a week and at two games and the whole thing. Now it's a business. The rinks need, you know, money and hiring coaches to do it. And those guys by and large do a great job. Don't get me wrong. They're professionals. And there is something to be said for hiring a professional to coach your child. But, but there's a big, but it just has removed a little bit of the element of. This is supposed to be fun. You know what I mean? Like if you imagine like, like, like having a pressure pad. Afternoon when you're 11 years old. Why who would want that? Like I'd much rather go play video games. Like it's fun. Like that's, these kids should be having fun. Like it's not hockey is, is, can it be great in terms of moving you on to college and getting a scholarship? Absolutely. But by and large, most kids aren't getting that right. In in, in always kids, aren't getting that. If you try to jam it throat that's happening because natural things happen and development of kids happens and you know, certain kids a good enough to someday get a scholarship for the most part, those kids playing on team X, Y, and Z. This is the height of their. Athletic prowess. And so let's have fun with it, you know, teach them shortly discipline and you know, being respectful and I'm not saying make it all easy and you know, just play hopscotch at practice everyday, not working really hard and all that, but like, if they love it and they have fun and you produce another guy who, when he is 35, has a kid who plays hockey. You, you did your job. Like, but if everything's going to be a means to an end and oh, I only play hockey because I want to get a scholarship to miss. And you're going to be disappointed in the end. Like I'm just telling him, well, 1% of 1% won't be, and then everybody will be, so why put your kid in that position and play hockey, I'm have fun playing hockey. And then, you know, if God gave him the talents to move on and he has the drive and the competitiveness to move on. Great. If not great, you know what I mean? Like, what are we.

Luke:

So next question might be tough.

Paul:

All right. I'm sorry. I a little bit on this, but some of this stuff drives me absolutely crazy. I don't know if, you know, look, but aside from coaching a cushy, I'm also the head of player development in Massachusetts. So picking the 15 year old, 16 year old, 17 year old kids that go on to play in the national festival for hockey. So, you know, I, before even coming to Cushing, I did. These younger levels and know exactly kind of what you're getting at with these questions. And, you know, I, I, this isn't the first time I've said this stuff, so no I'll remain consistent on it.

Luke:

Well, no, I appreciate the fact that you're being candid and it's why I'm doing this. I'm disappointed with the trajectory of, of sports and you hit it. on the head. It's become a business. And I think we're not going to go backwards on that. However, it's, to me, not a business, it's human development. And we w we, we can't continually say what's going on with our youth to. When in many cases, it's the adults that are screwing them up. So, um, so here we are talking about it. So keep being candid, I think it's, it's really great for our audience.

Paul:

Sirius to everybody, right? Like, and I don't want to be, I mean, hockey's a great sport. Has 99.99. Great people running it and part of it. And, and I am thankful that I've gotten, I make a living out of that sport and that, you know, my family has played the sport and it's an awesome sport. And, you know, if the Bruins are on, we'll all still sit down and watch the game. So we love it, you know? And, and I think that's a lot because of some of the coaches I played for and some of the people I know, and I think there's a million good coaches. That are doing their best and they're good people. And so I don't want to come off as negative. I think sometimes when we have conversations like this, there's a small percentage of people who right. That we're talking about, but they're the ones who kind of get all that attention because it's so contrary. And then if you, or me, or someone has to deal with those people, it just becomes that much more of a hot button issue for us. So it can be. Can be, um, sometimes overdone in terms of all the world is falling. I don't think that, I just think, like you say, the toothpaste is not going back into the tube. Like it is what it is, so let's make the best of it.

Luke:

Completely agree with you. And this next question, as I said, it's going to be kind of tough to answer, but I think it's something that we all want to get to this, those 99% of the coaches that are in it for the right reasons. How do you balance the development of kids with the realistic demands of.

Paul:

ah, that's not a tough question. That's the easiest one you asked me yet, because if you develop all the kids, you will win guaranteed. I can, I've been doing this for 31 years. It is what it is now. Will you always win the championship? But if you're an average team and you become above average, you did your job as a coach. If you're an above average team and you become an excellent team, you did great. You know what I mean? Like, like your job is to develop the whole group and then the team will be better. You develop no one, if just your five best players play all the time and no one else gets any better, you didn't do. So you, you, you gathered talent and put a good team together. Absolutely. There's you know, my, my Boston red Sox have done that a few times, right. In the last little bit, like there's no development there. This year's red Sox team. This is development. They've gotten better as the year went along, then they weren't, you know what I mean? So, so at the, at the youth level it's your job. If you pick 15 kids to have all 15 of those kids improve, that's your job? Like, that's what you took the job for. Otherwise, you're just a general manager. You're not a coach and no one needs an 11 year olds team having a general manager. Right.

Luke:

Yeah, no, that's a great answer. And before I started my season, I would have a whole program meeting and I'd always explain to my parents. I don't care about winning. That's not what my focus is. And then I would get into my explanation of my why, which ultimately will lead to the point. You just. By not focusing on winning. Ironically, I'm going to win more because I want to develop more kids. People are going to feel more part of it, and we're all going to be, all of us will be more successful because of it.

Paul:

Well,

Luke:

only.

Paul:

let me give you a real life example, right? So you can take a college team, right? And, and you become a new coach and you'd take over their basketball program. And you you're, you've been hired. They want to win. They want to go to the NCA tournament and you just gas, all 11 guys on scholarship that you have taken over. Okay. And you bring in, five stud freshmen, cause you have really good connections in the AAU world. You bring in five guys through the transfer of. 'cause, they were really good players at Kentucky and whatever, but they weren't playing a lot. Maybe they could start for you. And then you, that year go to the final four. What did you do? Did you really develop that team? No. Right. And anyone with common sense would say, no, you just gassed the entire team and brought in new players. And did he do a good job recruiting? Absolutely. Did it, did he do a good job of general managing? Absolutely. Did he coach? No, not really. Like w w what, what do you mean? He didn't take a kid freshman year and have them become, you know, assistant captain and in great player and good kid and, you know, helping out in the dorms and whatever, by the time he's a. That's not, that's not coaching like that is coaching the other, stuff's not coaching the other, the other stuff. That's why the NCA is John. You know what talking you to sports him, but that's why this whole transfer portal and being able to track transfer without having city year and you know, them giving an extra year to everybody. Um, this year, even though they played last year, like it's just absurd because all it's doing is just making free agency in college sports. And I'd S I bring this up. Youth sports has always free agency, right? Cause the parents, Hey, and you, you can, if you're paying you, they can't make you stay on the Pearl team. They can slide over to the Jones team tomorrow. Like that's their choice, they're paying for it. So if you're just grabbing all the best players that doesn't tell it doesn't mean you're not a good coach. Maybe you are, but don't tell me you are, you know, I could show up with the best five guys and win like that. That's not bad. I got three guys who can dunk and a great point guard and the guy who could really pass. Like, it's not coaching. That's just putting good players together.

Luke:

Right. Yeah. I completely agree with you. And, It's been fascinating to me, how people do miss the mark on that. And, you know, again, going back to my message with my program, they only heard the front part of my statement of I don't care about winning. And they would literally email my athletic directors and say, this is ridiculous. We have a head football coach doesn't care about winning. They didn't even listen to the message, you know? Um,

Paul:

It's all about, it's all about the process versus the outcome, right? When you were very much processed. And, you know, I first heard bill parsley. I love talking. I'm sure the same way hearing and reading about and all that about coaches. I first, I got that from parcels and I'm sure he got it from somewhere else, but he's like, just worry about the process. It's all about the process. Stick with the process. If you have the right process, you will win. If you do. Fix your process. Don't try to fix the outcome to me, fixing the outcome is running out and getting three transfers to hop in or on a Pee-wee hockey team, grabbing three guys off of this team and slide them over to your team who cares for what? Like to win the intergalactic championship that no one will remember yet later. Like no one, no one can.

Luke:

Yeah, completely, completely agreeing. And speaking to the point of process, I think an important part of the process of winning is developing genuine human connections and relationships with the players that you coach. And I'm just making the assumption that you would agree with that statement. So with that, What are some simple strategies that you could give to our listeners? Many of whom are teachers and coaches that they could implement into their classrooms around their fields, or, you know, wherever the athletic realm may be of how they could really foster the relationships with their kids and make sure their kids know like, yeah, of course we want to win. But at the end of the day, I care about you as a human.

Paul:

Never talk about winning first off like that, that, that does nobody. But take your team, take your class, take whoever it is and make sure you talked to every kid every day might be, Hey, how Glasgow today might be. How's your sister. I know she had, you know, the flu might be whatever it is, but always, and it's not easy. But what you'll find is the more you start doing that, they start searching you out. You know, I used to have, uh, uh, put a white index. Oh, in front of my office every day. And the rule was you had to check the board every day and I would sometimes be something important. Like everybody go see compliance, you need to sign this form or whatever. But some days I might just write on them, Moran see me. And it was just to get him. And talk to him every day, got him in the habit of coming by my office, making that kind of a center place that the kids would always go by show that we could try to build those relationships. And, um, it's just the personal touch. It's it's you don't realize it when you first started coaching either. You think everything's about, you know, the Hoosier's speech to, to the whole team and yay, rah, rah, but the motivation and personal connection and all the stuff you're talking about that, that, that comes from personal interactions on a daily basis. And you can't have it happen right away. It's got to grow, it's got to build. It's why they call it building a program, you know, and. Be it a prep school program or Cushing or a high school program at another place or a college program or a Peewee hockey program, whatever that program is, if you're going to build it, you have to have good building blocks. And it all starts with just personal contact and, and getting to know each other.

Luke:

If you're a coach that focuses on winning, it's pretty easy to measure your success to gauge your progress. If you're a coach that focuses on what you just explained, the idea of relationships, personal connections, Dell, developing people. It's a little bit more nebulous than how to, how to gauge that. So how can you as a coach know that, okay, I'm doing the right things. I am making these connections. I am impacting lives and people are leaving my program feeling important. I am increasing self-esteem. I am. better people. How can you gauge that when it's not as tangible as a scoreboard?

Paul:

I don't, I don't know if you can truly gauge it because we all have a tendency to be able to fool ourselves too. Right. You can also take the, oh, we're not trying to win thing to make yourself feel better. It can be a bit of a defensive mechanism when you don't how a coach, right. Trump, like, that's the other side of it. Like, but I think, you know, let's say, let's say we do w we're doing the right stuff. Let's say we have the right process in place. Let's say that our relationships, what we want to build and what we want to get going and all that, I think you'll feel it because you'll see improvement in the. And I think that, you know, there's enough metrics out there these days that you'll know, even though you might not win every game or win as many games as you want, you will start winning more. I think you get to end of seasons and the kids is still connected and the kids are still locked in and you get as good as effort in, you know, game 92 as you didn't gain one. I think you did your job. I mean, I, I can honestly say like one of the best jobs I ever did. Coaching-wise um, we won nine games. It was the team that won the least amount of games of any team. I have a coach. We were locked and loaded right to the end of the year. And we ended up, um, we came in eighth in the first place. We put the one eight game and we took them to three games. We lost, you know, they were better than us, but we took the series, the three games and, you know, but I knew while I was going through it, I wanted to, you know, I wanted to pull my hair out. But afterwards, when you look back and you kind of analyze the season yeah. I did a really good job coaching that team this year, we got better. We got really better, you know, and, and now, okay. Our process has to change a little bit in that our recruiting has to improve and we have to do all the things, but for that snapshot in time, that that group, that was a nine wind team and we got all nine wins. You know, that, that, I think that kind of answers your question. I apologize if I went off of it.

Luke:

No, no. That's all right. No, you definitely answered the question. He kind of led into my next one because you're talking about going back and evaluating that nine win season. And once you got out of the stress of the season, you're able to kind of look objectively and say, Hey. We were successful, right? Like there there's ways to be successful despite just the scoreboard. And it's that process piece that we've been harping on throughout this conversation. And I think it takes. Some development as a coach to be able to objectively look at that and, and really focus outside of the season, which leads to professional growth. What are some recommendations that you could give to coaches? You mentioned you love reading, for example, what are some of these books or any other professional developments that you would recommend for coaches to do? That's going to make them the type of coach that we've been discussing. They should.

Paul:

Well, everybody has a national governing body, right. And I'm, I'm a bit of a USA hockey walk, right. Because. Do the player development in Massachusetts for USA hockey, um, so like, if you go on their website. You will be given the keys to the kingdom in terms of drills and information and things you can sit in on webinars and, you know, it's all there. And, and so, you know, you want to get information about how to do things, turn to the professionals that have been doing it for a long time. And they usually have, and that doesn't mean they're infallible too. And I'll tell you what any really good coach. Like at the highest levels there, they're still trying to find other people to listen to, or talk to and find out more of how to get better at coaching.

Luke:

And what about just beyond, and this is my last question, by the way, I appreciate you being on for extended amount of time. I know you're, you're busy building your program right now. What about beyond the X's and O's, some books or people you could recommend that you know, our listeners can tune into and say, this is how you touch people. This is how you touch.

Paul:

Um, I don't know, because I get a little eclectic off of the sports stuff. So like I'm a huge Malcolm Gladwell guy, because I felt he approaches life the right way. I don't know that he says anything specifically about managing. Podcasts and stuff, but, he's really, really good in terms of just the right way to think about living life. So he'd be, it'd be my number one guy to go to either read his books or to listen to podcasts wise. I would just say overall, just kids picked up on it. Like, like if you're going to work with kids on a day-to-day basis, You don't have to be the cool guy like for, but you have to have a little idea of what their lives are like, you know, so I think just kind of being current, and not, you know, just showing up and blowing the whistle and Don and Bacco, Shaw, this and miracle to do. I think you have to be current, you know, and you have to, like, there's certain things that I love doing. Coaching-wise in, you know, 1990s. You know, and they were great back then. No question. They worked, you know, we had good teams, but they wouldn't fly in, you know, 2021, you know? So you have to kind of stay current and move on with the times, be it how you coach or, you know, how you talk to them or anything.

Luke:

Yeah, there's no, doubt. I I've been very blessed that I've had some former players come back and become assistant coaches on my staff. And they always were surprised and say that it became so chill. And man, what happened to you? And I'm like, man, it's 15 years. Since you play times change, you have to adapt as a coach. That's what. Most important aspects of being successful in today's world is adaptability. Right? So,

Paul:

Yeah, no, I think you're right. I think you're a hundred percent.

Luke:

uh, and to, to wrap this up, uh if someone wanted to learn a little bit more about Cushing academy or reach out to you with a quick question on coaching, uh, w how can they.

Paul:

So my email is PA P E a R L. So pop Pearl, um, at Cushing dot. And then, um, I'm at, you know, we're cushing.org is our, is our website. And then, feel free, reach out anytime. I love talking coaching with anybody, love talking hockey, you know, any, any of that stuff. So, um, you know, we have.

Luke:

Great. Well, thanks for sharing that. And thank you so much for sharing our time. Like I said, I know we went over what we were supposed to, but it was a very engaging conversation. Uh, I definitely would love to have to have you back on, because I think there's a lot of other concepts that we could dive back into that people would really be interested in learning because you're speaking facts. You know, parents are confused and today's day and age they're trying to do right by their kids. And here you are a division one pedigree saying here's the facts, focus on development, focus on letting kids play focus on being a part of an organization that encourages development and that wins and losses and play for coaches who are role models and, and I love all of it. So thanks again. I really appreciate you being on.

Paul:

Anytime Luke has a lot of fun.

Luke:

That was really cool to have the opportunity to talk with coach Pearl, who has had so much success at such a high level. His thoughts on what it takes to be a head coach. We're spot on. And I especially love his answer on the role of lower level coaches and program alignment. The themes coach hit upon that resonated with me and hopefully with you as well, where that a head coach always needs to be present and assessable. Development of all players is vital to success. And most importantly, we can't forget that playing sports should be fun. I know you have many choices in how to spend your time. So thank you for listening. If you're finding value, please recommend the podcast to someone else. And if you want to connect with me best way is on Twitter @LukeMertens and remember the more eyes we impact in this world the more everyone wins that's the"I" in Win!

Paul Pearl Profile Photo

Paul Pearl

Head Boys Hockey Coach

Paul Pearl has coached at the Division 1 level for more than 30 years. He comes to Cushing from Boston University, where he was associate head coach. Prior to BU, Pearl was associate head coach at Harvard University when that team participated in three straight NCAA tournaments between 2015- 2017 and won the ECAC championship twice, sharing the 2017 Clear Cup. Harvard also received its first Beanpot title since 1993 and saw its most victories since 1989 duringPearl’s tenure as associate coach.

Before his time at BU and Harvard, Pearl was head coach at his alma mater, Holy Cross, for 19 years, and remains the all-time winningest coach in the college’s history. He led the Crusaders to NCAA tournament games in 2004 and 2006 and coached five 20-win seasons. He was named Coach of the Year in 1998 by the ECAC and New England Writers’ Association, the MAAC Coach of the Year in 2002, and Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2011.

Pearl began his coaching career at UConn and Brown University. As a player at Holy Cross, Pearl scored 77 points on 14 career goals and 63 assists. He graduated from Holy Cross in 1989 and earned his MBA from UConn in 1994.