Hockey in Canada takes on a whole new level of intensity during the holidays. The World Junior Tournament has become an annual tradition in households from The Soo to Chilliwack and all the way back to St. John’s. It’s a celebration of the Canadian game, and this year will no doubt be another classic as hockey coaches everywhere watch as Canada tries to avenge a heart-breaking shootout last in last year’s tournament.
But you know what else the World Juniors does? It invigorates us. Just imagine Team Canada skating out for their first shift hell-bent on setting the tone early. Those first couple bodychecks always send shivers up my spine.
Being burnt-out at the end of the hockey season’s unofficial first half is as common as grabbing a Double Double on the way to the rink for an early morning practice. It’s dark out early, it’s cold, and the players are fighting through the grind.
So with that in mind, prepare for an inspired second half with these New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Rediscover Your Passion
That could be as easy as tuning into the World Juniors for you, or it might just mean loosening up the reins at practice for some healthy competition. Put some timbits on the line and watch your players go nuts.
2. Learn Something New
Odds are you’ve spent the past four months running drills you’re comfortable with, systems you’re familiar with, and saying the same things you’ve always said. Why not switch it up in the new year? Learn some new drills, listen to a new perspective, or just try something you’ve always wanted to try.
3. Stay Balanced
Whether you’re a full time coach or a volunteer, it’s never a bad time to re-commit yourself to a balanced lifestyle. We’re all guilty of bringing losses home with us. It’s natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair to our families. Get away from the rink and spend time this holiday season with the people who are truly important to you.
4. Establish Your Details
Another thing coaches are guilty of is wingin’ it. You know what I’m talking about – showing up to the rink without a practice plan or just generally reacting instead if dictating. We want our players to dictate during games, so we should do the same. Get organized in the second half and get ahead of the game.
5. Measure Your Team’s Process
On the ice, the second half could be a triumphant march to the playoffs or a dark slog through the dog days of winter. Or it could be somewhere in between. Either way, write down a base of metrics to measure your team. Something like: when we’re successful, we’re doing this. When we’ve won games, we’ve had this (number) of (shots, hits, breakouts, etc.) Writing down your team’s process will keep you even keel in the second half of the season, and make all your other resolutions a lot easier to follow.
The second half of the season is going to fly by. It always does. So remind yourself that you’ve got work to do, and pretty soon you’ll go from burnt-out to itching to get back.
From everyone here at The Coaches’ Site, all the best to you and yours this holiday season. Happy New Year!
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