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My Role as a Coach

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Where Will You See The Increase In Infractions?

One of the challenges you face as a coach is identifying where and when during the game the standards will have the greatest impact. This article will focus on identifying 7 ‘high risk’ times during a game. Teach the situations and help your players avoid penalties in these instances.
1. Face-Offs
During typical games, face-offs occur every 45-50 seconds – during a typical minor hockey game this translates into approximately 50 face-offs. In the standard of play, the face-off is also a facet of the game where a high volume of infractions will arise. Common tactics and coaching expressions used over the past 20 years such as “tie up your man” or on the win we have to “hold up the winger” can no longer be employed. Taking teaching time to enforce face-off responsibilities will assist in reducing penalties in this area.
2. Defensive Play
In a 60 minute game each team has offensive control of the puck about 200 times – conversely the defensive team is trying to get it back 200 times. With this mind the key scenarios that produce great opportunity for obstruction penalties include backchecking, one-on-one play off the rush, net front play and one-on-one play down low. Terms and tactics like ‘stick on the man’, ‘pinning’, ‘can opener’ and ‘lasso’ no longer apply in the new game. Coaches need to be creative and develop terms that paint a clear picture for players with regards to what they can do on the defensive side of the puck.

3. Offensive Play
Two areas of potential infractions will occur on offense – picks/interference and hold-ups on the forecheck. Offense is often a forgotten area of the game when it comes to playing the game within the new standard. However, players need to be careful in situations such as cycling or give and go’s. Offensive players can not impede the opposition team’s ability to move defensively.

Your ability as a coach to teach players the proper techniques when engaged in these areas of the game is vital to their development and enjoyment of the game.

American author Richard David Bach once said, “You teach best what you most need to learn.” For many coaches the standard of play involves a re-programming of how the game is thought. Over the last 20 years the game has undergone a coaching brainstorm which has resulted in the addition of everyday tactics and terms such as ‘can opener’, ‘hold up the man’, ‘stick on the body’ and many more. Your challenge as a coach is to develop and teach the concepts that will lead the game over the next 20 years. How will you coach a game that is built on speed, skill and the ability to make decisions quickly?

4. Be A Student of the Game
There are a number of ways in which you as a coach can learn more about the rules emphasis. The IIHF and the NHL have been leaders in this move and simply observing the IIHF World Junior Championship or the NHL can assist you as a coach in understanding what is permissible and what is not.

5. Teach The Game
Knowing the game and being able to teach the concepts to a young player are very different challenges. The most effective teaching opportunity you will have with your team is during practice – taking advantage of this and continually re-enforcing the rules will assist players understand the change.

Skating (balance, agility, quickness, speed, power) have always been the foundation of the game. As a coach if you build a strong skating base a player’s chances of success in the game will improve.

In practice run drills with an emphasis on teaching – controlled scrimmages, one-on-one play and small-area games are tremendous opportunities to emphasize specific tactical elements of the game while insuring players abide by the standard of play.

6. Be a Communicator
The more informed your partners in the game are the easier the transition will be. Work with your players and parents to ensure that they understand the game. Open up the lines of communication and understanding by inviting on-ice officials out to speak to your team.
Have a great season and check back frequently at for tips on teaching skills and tactics under the standard of play. 

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