USA Hockey Magazine

February 2019

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PHOTO BY USA Hockey Magazine Archives When a player is in a slump he or she needs to go back to the basics of what has worked in the past. Encourage them to focus on the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. You need to stress to a slump- ing player that there are other ways he or she can help your team b e s u c c e s s f u l . O n e o f t h e m o s t important is to be a good teammate and celebrate the team's successes even though they may not find their name on the scoresheet. A s a c o a c h i t 's y o u r j o b t o c r e a t e t h e r i g h t t y p e o f culture within your locker room. You need to stress that everyone is in this tog ether. If one player is not scoring, it's up to his or her teammates to pick up the slack and continue to support one another. If you have a positive approach your players will feed off of that. Encourage a slumping player to stay positive and continue t o w o r k h a r d . A p l a y e r w i t h a positive attitude is going to work t h e i r w a y o u t o f a s l u m p m u c h f a st e r t h a n a p l ay e r w h o d w e l l s on it. P Scott Paluch is a regional manager with the American Development Model. Not all slumps are a lack of scor- ing. Sometimes a player just may not be playing up to his or her potential. They may not have the same jump or may be a step behind the play. Their head just might not be in the game. Goalies, too, go through rough patches where they let in more goals than they are used to. There are a number of variables that can cause a slump. A player may be injured, or worn down as the season drags on. They have run into a couple of hot goalies or find that teams are keying on them. Or they've simply hit a bit of bad luck. The first step to snapping out of a slump is to get to the root o f t h e p r o b l e m . T h a t st a r t s w i t h determining whether it is a physical or mental slump. As stated earlier, a physical slump may be caused by an injury or the wear and tear of a long season. Mental slumps can be more difficult to detect, and thus harder to figure out how to break out of. A mental slump can shake a player's confidence or leave them pressing too hard and gripping their stick too tight. A mental slump can shake a player's confidence or leave them pressing too hard and gripping their stick too tight. E v e r y a t h l e t e i s g o i n g t o g o through a slump at one time or another. Whether they're a baseball player struggling to get a hit or a hockey player who is having a hard time finding the back of the net, everyone hits a dry spell. How they handle themselves in the lean times is what separates winners from losers. As a coach you can play a big role in helping a player put a slump behind them. 1 2 7 3 4 5 6 Helping A Player Bust Out Of A Slump g By Scott Paluch O F F W I N G 3 B E Y O N D T H E X ' S A N D O ' S FEBRUARY 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 11

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