USA Hockey Magazine

March 2017

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16 // MARCH 2017 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM PHOTO BY USA Hockey Magazine Archives O F F W I N G 3 B E Y O N D T H E X ' S A N D O ' S Developing Your Total Team Create Building Blocks Of Success Set the tone early in the season, let- ting both players and parents know what your expectations are for the season, both on and off the ice. Let players know that it is their respon- sibility to improve each and every time they step on the ice. Every time they give less than their all, it's a wasted opportunity to improve. It's a coach's responsibility to create an environment where every player can improve. Every drill and skill should be part of a progression for those building blocks of success. Play 'Em If You Got 'Em Play everyone. If they 're good enough to make my team, they 're good enough to play. It's a coach's j o b t o e n s u r e t h a t e v e r y o n e h a s improved from the beginning of the year to the end. If that doesn't hap- pen, you need to re-evaluate your role as a coach. Early in the season, it's recom- m e n d e d t h a t y o u m i x a n d m a t c h your lines and allow everyone an opportunity to be a part of the power play and penalty killing units. As the season hits its full stride and your No. 1 power play and penalty killing units take shape, it's even more important to find enough ice time for all your players. A coach who shortens the bench may somehow think they 're advancing their career, but even if that were true, would it be worth it? A Right Time For Everything Early in the season may not be the right time to work on your 5-on-3 power play. Divide the season into four quarters with a heavy diet of skill development early on, focusing on habits and concepts. Later on in the season is probably a better time to focus on special teams and other minor details. Also, be conscious of what's going in the lives of your players. For example, if it's a heavy time for exams on schoolwork, you should lighten the load in practice. Practice Makes Perfect You may be at the mercy of your association's scheduler when it comes to adhering to the recommended 3-to- 1 practice-to-game ratio. Make the most of the time you have. Sometimes you'll find you've been allocated only It's a coach's job to ensure that everyone has improved from the beginning of the year to the end. 1 2 3 4 Creating a step-by-step approach to developing the skills of every member of the team can help coaches design a blueprint for success. ome wasn't built in a day, and n e i t h e r i s a c h a m p i o n s h i p team. The key to long-term success is thinking long term. Coaches who create a step-by-step approach to developing the skills of every member of their team will ulti- mately create a blueprint for success. R half the ice for a practice session. While that may create challenges w i t h t e a m c o n c e p t s s u c h a s t h e neutral zone regroup, be creative and employ small area games that replicate those game-like scenarios. Plan For The Future Injuries and illness are a part of every team's season. That's why it's important to get everyone involved e a r l y i n t h e s e a s o n . I f y o u d o n 't improve your entire team, how do you expect a fourth-line player to step up and contribute at a crucial point in the season? Many coaches will tell you that winning seasons and championships take a back seat to seeing a former player years down the road and he or she tells you how much you helped them as both a player and a person. P 5

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