It was about a year ago that RDC athletic director Keith Hansen got an opportunity to attend the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Think Tank 2.0 in Florida.
The idea was to bring individuals from the Pirates’ organization together with individuals from sports, business and even the military to share ideas that can have a positive impact on teams and organizations.
After returning home Hansen wanted to find a way to share some of those ideas with RDC coaches, athletes and even the faculty.
He contacted Bernie Holliday, the director of mental conditioning with the Pirates about coming to RDC, to discuss some of his philosophies.
“It was the one time during the year when Bernie was available, prior to spring training, and we kind of bribed him by talking him into coming up and combining the sessions with a skiing holiday,” said Hansen, who knew Holliday for several years. Holliday got his PHD at Idaho where Hansen got is masters.
Holliday, who worked with the United States military for several years prior to joining the Pirates, was in town during the weekend.
He talked with representatives from Alberta Volleyball Association on Saturday, then spent time Sunday talking with RDC coaches and student athletes. On Monday he talked with RDC faculty.
It couldn’t have been better, said Hansen.
Holliday’s talk Sunday was The Science of Kicking Ass, lessons from the battlefield to the ball field.
“His discussion surrounded gaining an edge. How to gain a mental edge and winning mentally as well as how to get it back after losing that edge,” explained Hansen. “And every one of the students and coaches I talked to loved it.
“Part of the idea of having it at this time of the year was that it’s the time when all the hard work is setting in. It’s near the end of the regular season and the playoffs are just around the corner,” added Hansen.
“It’s time for the teams and players to reaffirm their goals. We have the possibility of having several championship teams and if we can add a few tools to help them it’s a huge benefit.”
Holliday spent two 90 minute sessions with the RDC faculty on Monday and the results were once again extremely positive.
“Everyone I talked to loved it and were pumped,” said Hansen.
Holliday called his Monday sessions Embracing the Suck, which he said was an army term about when things get tough you battle through them and learn to grow.
“He said there are there things that can happen when it gets tough,” said Hansen.
“One, you can avoid it. Two, tolerate it or three, embrace it and take the opportunity to learn and grow.
“Failure is a good chance to learn. It’s no different if you’re a student or a faculty member,” added Hansen. “It was a great time for us to remember what is important and not just for athletics.”
In the end close to 100 coaches from the Alberta Volleyball Association, 140 student athletes and coaches and up to 100 faculty attended the sessions.
“It was certainly beneficial and nice for everyone to get a different perspective,” said Hansen.
• RDC teams can put some of the ideas they heard into practice this weekend as the volleyball and basketball teams and the hockey Kings are in action.
• The basketball squads host Briercrest Bible College in a doubleheader. The women tip off Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. with the men to follow.
The Queens, 5-9, need to sweep the twin bill to keep their playoff chances alive.
The Kings, who moved up to fifth in the CCAA rankings, have a 13-1 record. BBC are 2-12 on the women’s side and 8-6 in the men’s division.
• The volleyball teams visit BBC Friday and Saturday.
Both RDC teams are undefeated with the 12-0 Kings No. 1 and the 14-0 Queens 4th in Canada.
Briercrest won’t be easy at home with the women sitting at 11-3 and the men, who host the national finals, at 7-5.
• The hockey Kings, 15-6-1-0, face Concordia University College Thunder, 7-10-1-1, Friday in Edmonton and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
Saturday is Minor Hockey Night with teams asked to wear their jerseys, Admission is free for all players.
• Kings basketball fifth-year guard Jacob Cusumano and hockey Queens fourth-year centre Rachael Hoppins shared the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week awards.
Cusumano had 14 points and four rebounds in a win over Concordia and added 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a win on the road over Grant MacEwan.
Cusumano has a 46.3 percent average from the three-point line, which is 10th in the nation.
As team captain Hoppins provided leadership for the Queens against Grant MacEwan, plus chipped in with two goals and two assists in a two-game sweep of the Griffins.
Hockey Kings forward Clay Petrie, volleyball Kings setter Sam Brisbane and volleyball Queens right side, Karissa Kuhr, were also in the running.
• The hockey Queens were named the Breathing Room team of the week.