The turn of another year is an exciting time for everyone involved in our game. What’s got you fired up for the second half of the season? Has your team made solid progress this season? Is there a certain player who’s really coming on strong? The playoffs will be here before you know it, and you don’t have as much time as you think to prepare. Sorry, time flies when you’re having fun.
The problem with the new year is there are always distractions. From parents to ownership to athletic departments, distractions come in many forms. And the problem with distraction is that it gets in the way of what really matters – the players.
So, from someone who’s often guilty of being serious about the wrong things, here are three resolutions to inspire those of you looking for a strong second half.
1. Leave Work at the Office
Whether you’re a minor hockey coach or a professional coach, chances are you live and breathe with every game and every practice. It takes time and practice to leave your emotions at the rink, but it’s crucial that you do so. We all need supportive partners and families if we’re going to truly embrace our passion, but that doesn’t mean our passion should control us at home. The first thing you do when you get home is ask everyone else about their day. And hey, maybe you’ll even forget about that lost faceoff that resulted in the game winning goal against.
2. Sharpen Your Focus in a Specific Area
It’s never a bad time to dig deeper into a specific area of your team’s strategies or tactics. You might think it’s nuts to revamp something at this point (unless it’s obvious it needs revamping), and you’re probably right – but what if you could tweak one specific section, something small that will make a big difference? Most coaches have a certain area of responsibility. Defense, forwards, special teams; take the opportunity to make a tweak and you might be surprised by how much more you learn about something you thought you already had surrounded. For example, your penalty kill forecheck might need some work to go from good to great. So, to help with that, here are a couple clips of a PK FC 1-3 that you might find useful.
3. Don’t Ever Forget the Joy
Maybe you don’t feel unencumbered thrills every single day. Maybe you even get stressed from time to time (imagine that!) – but just remember why you got into this business. And it’s a fun business – from the dads leading youngsters through pylons, each player with a puck on his or her stick on a Saturday morning at the Flames Community Arenas, to the young coaches learning more about teaching edge work at UBC’s Thunderbird Sports Centre, there are examples of the joy in the game everywhere you look. So if you can’t see it, just take a look in the mirror. You’ll find it. Even if you are serious about coaching.
Happy new year everybody!