Chris hadfield

8 Learnings from Chris Hadfield

Ok, you might be thinking: “Sounds cool, but what does an astronaut have to do with my passion as a football coach?” The answer is: “A lot!” At the end of the day, our players and we as coaches have to call up our performance when it really matters. In order to be able to visualize the underlying ideas, other situations help in which “high performance” is required. What could be more suitable than the “High Risk – High Reward” moments as an astronaut? One mistake can cost you everything, but it can also give you unique moments. Have fun with the Chris Hadfield story!

“Making Decisions within One Breath”

When we think of ravages and space travel, we think of “Star Trek, Captain Picard or Commander Spock. All the action that is going on and the adrenaline that is flowing. Astronauts aren’t a bit like that, ”says Hadfield. In contrast, it takes people who are calm and competent. “We hate the adrenaline, we don’t make good decisions.” Nor does anyone need someone who wants to prove something or want to play “the hero”. “We need to be able to solve problems in one breath. Either to grab a mask or get somewhere where there is air to breathe.

Learning for trainers: Yes, emotionality is part of football, but it cannot be stressed enough that the better decisions are made with less emotionality. The art of the trainer is to convey emotions without being emotional oneself. We all have emotions, being emotional is something else. At least one in the coaching team should be calm.

Best antidote for fear is competence

Hadfield describes a situation that happened to him in space as follows: “I was outside the space station when one eye suddenly swelled and lost a tear. Due to the lack of gravity, the tear stayed in the eye and I was blind in one eye. After a short time the same thing happened in the other eye. I was completely blind outside of the space station. ”A situation that, if you put yourself in their shoes, would scare anyone. Not so Hadfield. “This is exactly what we trained for: to be blind in space. We were prepared. The best antidote to fear is competence. “

Learning for trainers: Fear is the emotion that can have the greatest influence on being a trainer. Whether on the sidelines, on the training ground or in conversations. Competence in all of these areas is the best step to take.

“Preperation is everything”

The title says it all, but the dimensions only become clear when you consider what that means in the everyday life of an astronaut. Numerous complications can arise just at the start. If there is a crash, it can happen over the Arctic, the Sahara desert or in the jungle. “It can be that it takes two to three days until we are rescued, until then we have to survive.”

A very consistent expression of the preparation for a space flight is also a very blatant one: As an astronaut, you can die. “We have to be completely honest with it. We also trained what it’s like when I die. Who will inform my wife? Who will appear in front of the press? What are the next steps? “According to Hadfield, this preparation helps in the moment when it really occurs:” These play-throughs give everyone security, no matter how hard the training, it enables clear processes and real grief in the worst-case scenario. “

Learning for trainers: What can happen as a trainer? What’s the most blatant consequence you can imagine and how can you prepare for it? Of course, nobody has to die in football, but are we really prepared for the smallest of imponderables?

Another important message is simple: be diligent! Preparing for all the unpredictable is hard work and cannot be replaced by anything.

“Leadership is the art of influencing human behavior to accomplish a mission in the manner desired by the leader.”

“First Point on the Agenda – We stay alive. Second – Keep the Ship alive. Third – Do our Job”

On the space station there are clear priorities that everyone is aware of. “First we see that we live,” says Hadfield, “second, the ship remains intact and third, we do our job.” In emergency situations, but also with the smallest decisions This completes the setting of priorities, as everyone can orientate themselves on them for every action.

Learning for trainers: Are you aware of your most important points? When things get tricky, do you act on your gut or do you know your priorities (values)? And are these communicated and known to everyone?

“Chris‘ One Pagers”


One of the most important messages from Hadfield is the aforementioned competence that an astronaut needs. “Nothing will help you more than having the skills to implement it.” Astronauts are not specialists at the same time, they mustn’t be either. Astronauts have to be able to do just about anything. If you are more or less alone in the space station you have to find solutions while you are on your own – in all areas. Hadfield found a way to keep everything within reach: good old notes. He has a complete book with his “One Pagers”, where he has summarized a special topic on one page. These help him prepare for tasks in the space station.

Learning for trainers: We also advise you to take your own notes in our training. Why? The brain can take in its own notes more easily and call them up later.

“You have to fail in the simulator”


This article is all about training and how to prepare for challenges. This point also aims at this in detail. “You have to fail in the simulator. On the one hand you have to experience what it is like to lose, on the other hand you have to get to know exactly this limit. “

Learning for trainers: In training, we all too often make sure that a game form “works” or “works”. We are simply dissatisfied when the ball keeps bouncing or finding itself out of bounds. However, we all too often forget that these experiences are not only part of it, but are also extremely important for the learning process. Players also have to get to know “this limit”. The necessary patience gradually ensures that the ball bounces less and stays in play more.

“I think you need to decide in your heart what is worth doing in life... And then accept that there are risks. Not everyone is going to succeed... But don’t let that stop you.”

“I am proud of this dock as I am on commanding a space shuttle”

In private, Hadfield is someone who likes to do things himself. “At our house there is a small jetty to the water that we wanted to make new.” He takes the same care as he does in space. “We have made a plan that suits our skills. The old girders were taken out and a beautiful wooden walkway built, which I’m just as proud of as I am of my space walks. “

Learning for trainers: amazing, isn’t it? A man who has experienced what very few people even experience enjoys doing “everyday” manual work. An impressive example that it is not about the final result, but about the process in which one is absorbed. Whether champions league or regional league, we are all on the pitch because we love the game and the work. Otherwise no volunteer would tear down hundreds of hours year after year just so that his team has a coach. Let’s keep that.

“There is an enormous group of people”


Astronauts are in the foreground. But, as Hadfield notes, “you have to count on an incredible number of people who invest a lot and love what they do every day.” This group of people can “do something that is supposed to be impossible.” He believes it should be something complex how space travel is made possible by so many and it has to feel like “impossible” at first.

Learning for trainers: We trainers are never lone fighters. There are always assistant coaches or colleagues. Of course we are in the foreground but we always stay humble and don’t forget the people in the avoidable background.

“As I have discovered again and again, things are never as bad (or as good) as they seem at the time.”

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