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Local goalie coach and author now helping athletes with mental game

'We are never judged by a bad performance, however, we are always judged by our response to it'
Dr. Rob Graham

Dr. Rob Graham believes he has lived through some trying times. 

"When I lost my job in 2015 due to cutbacks at Nipissing University when I was driving to work and heard that on the radio I struggled for three years trying to find and regain meaning and purpose and the identity that I lost," said the North Bay resident. 

Since then, Dr. Graham has battled and grinded through life and has since evolved into an author who has published two books on 'Techonresiliency, and has transformed from university professor to motivational speaker.

He has also continued to follow his passion for hockey by mentoring young hockey goaltenders in the North Bay area and offers dryland summer training for young athletes as well. 

While keeping busy with all his projects including looking at writing a third book, Dr. Graham has pulled together all his knowledge to create a Life Skills Mentorship for Athletes online program for local athletes to help them get through the ups and downs which come with playing competitive sports. 

See related: New hockey mentorship program hoping to fix goalie shortage 

See related: Local author passionate about Technoresiliency

Ben Brunton, who just finished his first season with the North Bay U18 AAA Trappers and was named to Team NOHA for the OHL Cup which wrapped up on the weekend, believes he has gained a lot from Dr. Graham's mentorship which are offered through weekly online zoom sessions. 

"Working with Rob Graham over the past season has taught me how to be a leader on and off the ice, and how to be mentally focused before every game," said Brunton.  

"He makes sure I never get too high, and never get too low. He makes sure I stay level. Rob has helped me prep for big opportunities like playing with Voodoos, and preparing me for the OHL cup/draft.

"He always reminds me to chase the experience and not the dream. Without Rob, I would not be where I am today."

Dr. Graham believes a program like this would have been helpful for him when he was growing up and trying to develop into a hockey goaltender. 

"As a young goalie in ice hockey nobody ever told me I was going to be scored on," explains Dr. Graham, who has more than 20 years of experience as a hockey goalie coach. 

"Learning how to deal with failure and accept it as an essential part of the game was something I struggled with."

Dr. Graham urges his athletes to remember it is not about having a bad game, but it's really how you respond after that which is important. 

‘We are never judged by a bad performance, however, we are always judged by our response to it," believes Dr. Graham. 

It is feedback like the kind he has gotten from clients like Brunton that keeps him going. 

"It has given me some of that meaning that was lost, and some of that purpose so for that reason I am really enjoying having the opportunity to hopefully inspire and elevate the performance along with the growth mindset of the athletes I work with," he said. 

"However, it is also providing me with some of the inspiration that I lost when I lost my job."

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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