Kah refuses to pat himself on the back for the turnaround against the Eddies — “it’s still the players that are going to go out and perform,” he points out — but that match offered a glimpse of the weight that those few moments at half-time can carry.
It is the one true opportunity a coach has to change the course of a game.
“Sometimes it has a negative impact because (the players) take it the wrong way,” HFX Wanderers coach Stephen Hart said.
“And other times it has the opposite effect where they just come out flying. It’s really a tricky one.”
Hart identified two key principles he sticks to.
First, “give an air of being in control” in front of both the players and the media.
Second, cut through the stream of information that is at a modern coach’s disposal and focus on what is most important.
“There’s a lot of stats now and a lot of analysis and things going wrong and you look at the game and you say, ‘I don’t need all of this s***,’” he said.
“I can see that we are giving away the ball in certain parts of the field and that’s costing us. It’s as simple as that.”
Tip 2: Skip the Hollywood theatrics before kick-off
In a stunning development, it turns out Hollywood’s depiction of what happens in the locker room before a game is not typically accurate.
The reality is less Any Given Sunday and more a functional reinforcement of the training sessions and meetings that have led into matchday.
“I just give them a couple of reminders,” Hart said.
“Just a little reminder of what we’ve been doing the whole week, so it doesn’t get lost,” echoed Kah.
“I never got the big rah-rah-rah kind of stuff by some coaches,” Hart continued.
“I know a lot of players thrive on that, but I didn’t get it because I really never had to be motivated to play football. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”