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Coach Strategy: Use Empathy To Help Players Move On From Mistakes

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Tom Grilk (@TomGrilk) is the CEO of the Boston Athletic Association and the Boston Marathon. He is focused on maintaining the traditions that have fostered more than a century of achievement at the B.A.A., while pursuing innovations that will keep the organization and the Boston Marathon at the forefront of athletic excellence and community service going forward.

In this video, Grilk explains how his son would react negatively after any mistake in his early playing days. This was due in large part to negative coaches who would reprimand his son any time he screwed up. However, the difference between positive and negative coaches was never more obvious then when his son was coached by Boston Bruins legends Steve Kasper and Ray Bourque.

When Grilk's son made mistakes with Kasper and Bourque at the helm, they more effectively coached him through mistakes using two strategies:

Kasper said: "We play the first game so we learn how to play the next game better."

Bourque empathized, saying: "I used to make the same mistake that you just made. Don't worry, you'll improve."

This empathic approach was immediately effective according to Grilk, who saw his son full of energy and enthusiasm after coaches were empathic and helped him on to the next play.