I have had the privilege to Coach with someone who let me be me and implement some of my non traditional ideas. One of them came to light after speaking with my Niece. We have used this idea a couple of times, but never really shared it before. She has a son playing U13 hockey and it is my hope that more Coaches use it.
Most games consist of two fifteen minute periods and a twenty minute period. A 50 minute game total. A typical team consists of three lines of forwards and three sets of defense. If each shift maxis out at 60 seconds, there are only 50 shifts available in a game or about 16.5 shifts period. Three lines, or about 5.5 shifts per period or 5.8 minutes of playing time per period. The question that needs to be asked is what happens with the remaining time? Players need time time to recover physically and mentally probably 45 to 60 seconds. They should be given a process for this ahead of time. The remaining time is where hockey needs to get better. With the remaining minutes players can be Coached. Coaches can use the whiteboard to review tactics, whiteboards can be given to players so they explain themselves better to line mates to improve communication, or players can watch the game to be more engaged on their next shift. The example below is from the golf world ( Thanks to Pia Nillson and Lynne Marriott) but hockey is a very easy substitution.
The Think Box would be the players bench and the Play Box would represent the ice surface. The Think Box is where physical and mental recovery occurs during the first 45-60 seconds and the remaining time would be coaching or collaboration with team mates. The decision line is stepping onto the ice ( play box) transfer the learnings into actual game actions. This is a routine which is as important as pre game or post game routine. I believe it is an under developed area and something that all young athletes could benefit for a life time.
Another action that I would like to see young athletes do is to journal after every game, practice, and training session. Journaling is a very powerful tool. It allows the athlete to put there thoughts down on paper in a bounded note book. It helps to clear the mind which’s lead to better focus and performance. Dr. Bhrett McCabe to a huge proponent of this and recommends that athletes focus on three areas. What I did well today? What did I learn today? What did I struggle with? He recommends that you write down two to three items for each category. One of his clients Jon Rahm, golf’s number one player always writes in black ink as he feels it has more meaning. Every couple of weeks he asks players to go back and reread so they have an idea of their progress. I started journaling about a year and a half ago after listening to one of his podcasts and I highly recommend it. Not too sure if I have heard of any hockey team doing this, but it would part of my player development program as a Coach or something a parent could suggest to their athlete. The simple action of writing in a digital age can be very freeing, not to mention just improving your writing skills.
A little bit of old school never hurts once in awhile.
Until next time.
Follow on Twitter @Betweentheears2