Coaching: Guy Gadowsky, Head coach of Penn State College Hockey Team said something very special when he spoke to other coaches during a coaches conference. He said “my job when the puck drops is over rated but my job in practice is under rated.” There is limited impact a coach can have when players are playing games but there is tremendous impact a coach has outside the game in practice or other situations. Hockey during games is about reading and reacting and not listening and doing. Hockey during practice is about listening and learning and Coaches that teach players the ability to think and react improve those players. Coaches should strive to run the perfect practice vs. the perfect game to create better hockey players. The habits that players build come from practices that improve them and perfect them. Good coaching teaches habits that help players no matter where they play and with whom.
Coaching that focuses on systems to win may highlight a player’s skills but don’t give the player ability to adapt in other systems. Coaches often don’t realize how much they effect player development. There is a phenomena called the Pygmalion Effect and it has nothing to do with the players and all to do with the coach. It is a self -fulfilling prophecy where if you think something will happen, you may unconsciously make it happen though your actions and inaction. If a player is treated as the star and another player is treated as a leftover they will often play the part. Good coaching lets all players know that the coach believes in them and expects them to perform. A good program has coaching that will believe in the players – All of them.
Ice Time: If we can all agree on one thing it is that playing, succeeding and getting to the highest levels in hockey can be a different path for each player. Some find the love at a young age and with support, hard work and some luck achieve their destination. Others may not have played the sport at young age but started playing and with hard work achieved their goals. Late bloomers are common in hockey. Ed Jovanovski started when he was older than 11, Roman Turek 12, Alex Kovalev 13, recently Malcom Subban became a goalie when he was 12, but unlike other sports like basketball or football, hockey requires learning to skate and developing skills that you can only get on the ice.
Certainly there are benefits for hockey players for off ice training but ultimately the game is played on ice and without ice there is no hockey player. Access to ice as basic as it may be is one of the keys to a good hockey program. Often in hockey with all the long drives, the tournaments, the insanity we forget the skill development happens on the ice. The athletic development may or may not occur on the ice but much of the skill development does.
Competition: By its nature team sports are competitive including hockey. Competition refines talent and helps it have a stage to flourish. When picking players for an important competition would you go see them practice or see them in a game? You might gain some good insight in practice – how hard they work, what tendencies they have but in games you will see their will tested as well as their resolve. There is perception bias is sports – often you see a player that just looks the part, the way they skate, the way they stick handle and everything about them, yet they under-perform in games and always miss that key pass or shot. Then you also see the player that looks goofy, can’t nail a drill yet in the game you would not want anyone on your team to have the puck. As important as training is so is competition.
Improvement, Player Focused and Created for Player Best Interest: Programs that improve hockey players have to be improving to keep up with the players. Programs that are focused on improvement create more opportunities for players to gain value and skills from them. Hockey programs that are constantly improving and innovation create improvement and advanced development in players. A players best interest is development, growth and room for players to make mistakes and learn from them. The best programs challenge players to push themselves and understand learning is not doing everything right the first time but by understanding and practicing good habits that will help the players improve both capability and capacity.
In Spring-Summer-Fall 2019 MyEdgeHockey will have 3 Elite Minnesota teams: This opportunity is for Bantam and High School players that can play at the U14 (2005) Elite, U15 (2004) Elite or U16 (2003) Elite level, who want to play and compete against the best in USA, Canada and world, and can train in the Twin Cities. We will have teams playing in premier events for taking the next step such as World Selects Invite Philly and others. For information and to apply to our Minnesota program click here.
We also have tournament only teams that are made up of top players in the US and Canada that play together. To apply for invitation to those tournament only teams click apply button below. More info here.
The goal of myedgehockey.com is to be an advocate for talented youth hockey players. Good luck to all that participate in elite youth hockey and best wishes to all youth hockey families. To be notified of programs we run please apply. MyEdgeHockey is a Minnesota Non-profit company with the goal of providing elite training and competitive opportunities for top hockey players.