In a piece entitled “Time has done wonders for Ken Hitchcock“, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun explains how St. Louis’ 60-year-old head coach has adapted his style to fit with today’s modern player.
Apparently Hitch attended symposiums the past two summers on dealing with younger athletes, how to approach them and — perhaps most importantly — how useless it is to leave them voice mail.
“If you want a player to call you back on the telephone and you actually want to talk to him, then you have to text him,” said Hitchcock. “If you call him and leave a message, there’s a good chance you won’t get a phone call back for a little while. But if you text him and tell him you want to talk to him, you’ll get a call right away. It’s just the way it works with this age group. Those are little things you have to learn.”
I love that Hitch called it a “telephone.” It conjures up images of him on a rotary, dialing the operator, asking how he can leave an important textual correspondence for TJ Oshie.
Turns out texting isn’t the only technological innovation Hitch found intriguing.
“Two hours before the game last night, I’ve got a player watching all of his shifts on his own iPad from the game before,” Hitchcock said. “[Players] know everything about what’s going on. They want input, and you have to give it to them if you want your team to respect you and play hard for you.”
I guess relating to today’s players is tough on older coaches. Generational gaps have always existed, but the technological advancements over the last 10-20 years are huge. I remember the height of bus ride entertainment being a book of CDs and a Discman, and I’m only 32 years old. No wonder Ron Wilson (who, at 56, is one of the league’s older coaches) joined Twitter — it was his chance to connect with the kids and their newfangled gizmos.
Speaking of Twitter, it doesn’t sound like there’s any chance of Hitch joining the fray.
“I’m not going to Twitter, no,” he told LeBrun.