Training camp is an important time to build your team’s foundation and team concept. As a coach you want to establish the mindset that you are looking to instill in your players that will be enforced all season long. Obviously you want to work on your systems to build a cohesive team on the ice, but it’s the relationship building and mental development during training camp that will make the biggest impact on your team.
As you get to know your players, systems will be tweaked throughout a season to highlight your team’s strengths which takes time. But your team concept, that does not change – no matter what happens.
The challenges that you might face will be from new players not willing to buy into the team concept and/or returning players who feel a sense of entitlement that they deserve to be treated a certain way.
Returning players need to realize how important their role is in mentoring the new players on the team and it starts with leading by example. There is nothing better to see as a coach when older players take younger players under their wing and sincerely take care of them. Some returning/older players need to be reminded how important their actions and words are in building a successful team.
Winning teams whether in sports, business or the military take great pride in mentoring their replacements. Not every person has the ability to do that and it can be very difficult especially if you are competing against your replacement for your job or spot in the lineup. But this goes back to the importance of getting everyone to buy into the team concept right from the start because at the end of the day, you only want the people on your team who are willing to put the team’s best interest before their own.