About Greg Poss

From Championship Triumph to Mental Transformation: Coach's Journey to Unlocking Athletes' Optimal Performance

In 2007, I thought I was on top of the world.

The hockey team I coached, the Mannheim Eagles, won the German Championship. After 14 years as a head coach, I won my first title.
As I hugged my assistants and players and we received our championship trophy, I felt extremely gratified.

Then, something strange happened. Within 15 minutes of the final buzzer, the happiness and excitement and celebration started to fade.

By 1 a.m., I went through the McDonald’s drive-thru thinking, “Was this the big thing I always thought would bring me happiness and satisfaction?” The rush of winning a title left. Poof.

Worse, the fear, anxiety and stress of trying to repeat already had started to kick in. Our organization won five championships in the past 10 years.
I knew I pushed the players hard to win the championship and many of the relationships had been damaged.

I never enjoyed the offseason. How would I motivate the players?

Through training camp and the games, my worst concerns became realized. I couldn’t reach the players. We lost more than we won. Management kept the pressure on.

Two days before Christmas, the Mannheim Eagles fired me.

Strangely, I felt this enormous relief. Riding my bike home that night in 40-degree temperatures, I was the happiest man alive.

The mental suffering I went through from that night at McDonald’s to now was over. A giant burden lifted.

I vowed I would find a different way not only to coach but be. I read everything I could and tried every technique possible but I returned to my old style.

Over the next 12 years, I would be fired three more times, once a week before the playoffs. I had been a gypsy coach the past 27 years, working nine different jobs. What was my purpose?

Then I remembered a visit I had a year earlier. Scott Streckenbach, my best friend from childhood, came to visit me with his family while I was in Salzburg, Austria for Christmas 2018.

During Scott’s visit, he asked me if I had spoken with Raj. Raj is Dr. Niraj Nijhawan, a clinical scientist and anesthesiologist in Wisconsin.

He has spent nearly 30 years cataloging, practicing, teaching and helping people integrate the latest knowledge from the realms of medical, social, and neuroscience into their lives.

Scott said Raj was doing some interesting research on brain science and how it improves athletes.

I had not spoken with Raj in 25 years but during my time at the University Wisconsin he, Scott and I became friends.

I was an undergraduate student and they were graduate students who didn’t have a lot of time for a social life so I gave them tickets I received for the hockey games and then they’d come to our after-game parties.

When I called Raj, within 10 minutes of speaking with him, I knew this is what I had been seeking!

Based on my talks with Raj and my interpretations of those discussions, I’ve devised a program for athletes to help optimize mental performance, compete at a high level and maintain that not just game-to-game but day-to-day.

About Greg Poss

From Championship Triumph to Mental Transformation: Coach's Journey to Unlocking Athletes' Optimal Performance

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