Brad Shaw: How Do We Get the Most Out of Our Defensemen?

Brad Shaw Assistant Coach Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Ice Hockey Coach tips and drills Developing Young Defensemen

 

If your players knew everything you knew while watching and coaching the game – from the numbers on the clock, who they’re on the ice with and against, the natural pressure of the state of the competition – well then we’d all be out of a job.

For Brad Shaw, coaching is about so much more than following a game plan or executing the right skills at a proficient level. The assistant coach of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets delivered an inspiring talk at this summer’s Coaching Conference that really dug into the cerebral parts of the game. Making the right read on the bench as a coach is tough enough, and we all know what it’s like to know exactly what your players should do, yet we continuously watch them make what we’d classify as the wrong decision.

And that’s putting it mildly. This is a family-friendly site, after all.

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“What was a good situational read 5 minutes into a nothing-nothing game, down 3-1 with 5 minutes left would totally change the appropriateness of that situation.”

For coach Shaw, it’s unreasonable to expect young players to finds the right solution when they simply don’t have the prerequisite experience. If you’re coaching junior hockey, you know what it’s like to coach talented players with warts in their game early in the season.

And defence is the hardest position to play. (Sorry goalies.) The amount of detail that goes into the position can be overwhelming.

It’s tough because so much rides on a defenseman’s decisions. Developing defensemen means teaching them to be a step ahead mentally so they can move the puck out of the zone, jump into the play, or keep the offence alive at the opposition’s blue line.

It’s a tall task. Check out Coach Shaw’s talk to learn how he does it.

 

 


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