Coaches Corner

Hockey: A Game of Mistakes

Hockey: A Game of Mistakes

As the golf saying goes, "Don't let one bad shot ruin your entire game." 

You can find players making mistakes on every shift at every level in the great game of hockey. That's the beauty of the sport - players are constantly reading & reacting to situations that need to be executed as quickly as possible. 

The things I look for after a mistake has been made is: what is that player going to do next? How are their teammates going to react? 

As a coach, you do everything you can to train players on how to avoid making mistakes - but no matter how good of a coach you are or how good the player is, mistakes will still be made. 

So, how much time is spent on teaching your players how to act after they have made a mistake? How much time is spent on teaching your team how to react after one of their teammates have made a mistake? 

Coaches need to know that players don't try to make mistakes. However, what does frustrate a coach is when a player repeatedly makes the same mistake. But, then again, is that the player's fault or is it the coach's? 

If the player is sincerely trying to get better it is the coach's responsibility to find a way to get the player to fix the issue. But it is also the player's responsibility to be willing to be coached. The use of video, practice repetitions and appropriate communication can fix mistakes, but the most important thing that is needed in order to be successful is TRUST

You can learn a lot about your players and team from mistakes. I suggest the next time a mistake is made look for the following things: 

- Body Language

- Communication

- How does the rest of the team react? 

- Does the player bounce back in a positive way or do they fold?

A team can spend all its time training to avoid making mistakes, but what happens when the mistake does happen? That in lies the true test of a player and a championship team. 

Sam Cheema