The defensive zone. What comes to your mind when you think of it?
If you’re a coach, the thought of the defensive zone immediately raises your attention to 100%. On the other hand, if you’re a player, you probably don’t like to think about it very often and have already forgot about the defensive zone once your skates go over the blue line on a breakout. If we are being honest, players just don’t care about the defensive zone like coaches do. Players like scoring goals. Unless you’re the goalie, stopping goals against just isn’t that entertaining or fun.
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In order to grab and hold a team’s attention to the less fun details that drive winning, coaches must find ways to get a message through. As coaches, we must find a way to make our message short, but memorable. A mantra or rule fits the bill perfectly.
With or without the puck
Every player loves having the puck and playing with it. If you polled 100 players if they like playing with the puck vs playing without it, 100% would agree playing with the puck is more fun. Yet in the defensive zone many players have a terrible habit of throwing pucks away.
At worst it’s a turnover to the other team. At best it’s a 50/50 puck race after going glass and out. Thrown away pucks from the defensive zone are almost always situations that go against your team’s chance of driving play and winning.
Yet how do coaches get in the way enough to promote better decisions? Rather than players panicking once they touch the puck they should be comfortable holding onto the puck and making a quality hockey decision. How do we allow them the mental tools to avoid throwing the puck away?
It all has to do with breaking the reaction/response chain that leads to those panicked moments.
Urban Meyer: E+R=O
Urban Meyer has been a winner wherever he has gone in college football. The true genius in his coaching is the ability to find great players and teach them skills that enhance their performance.
His latest teams at Ohio State have set records, particularly, for sending players to the next level. In the 2016 NFL Draft they set the record for most players selected in the first three rounds, with 10. Amazing.
Of course there is physical skill development, but more impressive is the priority Urban puts on the mental side of the game. In his quest, Urban has come to champion a simple formula, E+R=O.