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Character Counts

03/14/2018, 9:30am CDT
By Shane Frederick

Why Body Language Matters for Frank Serratore

Like any college coach Air Force’s Frank Serratore is looking for talented hockey players for his program. But, the Coleraine native said, talent isn’t the only thing on coaches’ wish list. Character can be just as important. One way coaches try to find out about player’s character is by studying his or her body language.

“Successful teams are built with unselfish people who are willing to put individual accomplishments aside in order to achieve team goals,” Serratore said. “Coaches are looking for good players who are even better people, individuals who will become great teammates and contributors to a winning team culture. Your body language tells a lot about your makeup as a person. Make sure your body language is sending a positive message.”

Here are some tips from Serratore, who is in his 21st season with the Falcons, about minding your body language—on and off the ice.

Blame game

“The examples I can give that bother me most are when a player receives a bad pass from a teammate and reacts in a negative way so too openly put the blame on a teammate,” Serratore said. “Also, when a goalie lets in a goal, whether it’s deflected or screened by a teammate, and puts his hands in the air to send a message that it wasn’t his fault but the fault of someone else.”

Stay positive

“I always notice when the first thing a goal scorer does after he raises his hands in the air is seek out the player who gave him the pass or the player who funneled the original shot to the net,” Serratore added. “I love to see this. I also love to see when a player accidently deflects a puck into his own net, the goalie who is victimized immediately goes to the player and consoles him. Unselfish and smart goalies react in this manner. And the player he consoles will most likely throw his face in front of the next shot in a show of loyalty to the goalie who defended him.

“Actions like this are what great teams are built on.”

It matters for everyone

“I believe every player needs to be mindful of body language,” Serratore said. “What they say is far less important than what they do. Actions speak louder than words. Goal scorers who are humble and credit their teammates are respected and appreciated. Goal scorers who look to dominate the limelight are rarely loved and, at the very best, simply tolerated by their teammates.” 

Chain reaction

“There is no question that one negative reaction to a play can lead to another negative occurrence,” Serratore said. “Conversely, one positive reaction to a negative play can lead to a positive result.

“I also coach my goalies here at Air Force, and I tell them the best goalies have the shortest memories. It is vital goalies don’t let the goal they just allowed be the primary reason why they allow the next goal. Positive actions and reactions generally lead to positive results.”

"Actions speak louder than words. Goal scorers who are humble and credit their teammates are respected and appreciated." 


-Frank Serratore

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