Enio Sacilotto Goalsetting Ice Hockey Coach Tips and Drills Victoria Royals In Between Period Talk And Time Out Strategy For Ice Hockey Coaches

In Between Period Talk And Time Out Strategy For Coaches

In Leadership by Enio Sacilotto

Between periods and the thirty second time outs are situations where the coach can directly influence the team’s performance and an outcome of a game.  These are times where the coach and team can get a breather, gather their thoughts, focus tactically and mentally to prepare for the next period or the next sequence of play (after a time out).  A prepared coach has a plan so that he can communicate his message effectively so no time is wasted during these breaks.


In most hockey situations the between period break is anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes depending on the league.  In some minor hockey situations the coach only has a 2 minute break to prepare the team for the next period, some tips will be given for this situation at the end of the article.

Following are some suggestions for a between period plan:

  • Have a time clock in the players dressing and coach’s rooms so time can be tracked.
  • Give the coaching staff a few minutes to gather their thoughts, get a drink, etc.
  •   If available review any video of specific plays, goals, penalties, etc.
  • Have a short coaches meeting and get each coaches point of view. Ask, what are the most important areas to address?
  • Head Coach prepares his presentation to the team.
  • Optimum time for the coach to address the team the 7:00 minute mark.  Talk should be 2 to 3 minutes at most.
  • Players and coaches will then have the remaining 4 to 5 minutes to prepare for the next period

Inspire Connect Lead

Content of the talk:

  • Tell players what you want not what you don’t want.  Don’t focus on the negative.
  • There will be times when the coach has to raise his voice!  Know when these times are and they cannot happen too often.  Most times teams don’t play well because they lack concentration and not effort, but do need a push.
  • Sometimes teams deviate from game plan, give them some reminders!
  • Keep the message simple.
  • Focus on the team and not individuals.  Although sometimes individuals need to be challenged!
  • Use The Sandwich Approach: 1. Tell the team what they did well.  2. Then focus on 2 or 3 areas (maximum) that need to be fixed or addressed. 3.  Say something positive so they don’t go out feeling or thinking negatively.

Reframing is shifting the nature of the problem from a negative to positive.  If the team is down by 3 goals, a comeback may seem over whelming, encourage team to get the next one.  Team is losing by more than 3 goals, encourage them to win the period.

Ask questions:  Sometimes the coach can ask the players for their opinions on what needs to be done or the coach can use questions to the players to get his point(s) across.


When?   A time out does not have to be used at the end of a game.  Here are some situations: 1) Goalie Change (he is not having a good night) 2) after an icing players can rest and coach can make a line change, 3) when there is a 2 man advantage, coach can draw up a play and get the best PP unit on the ice.  4) Momentum break, the opponents scored 2 or 3 quick goals and the coach wants to stop the bleeding 5) Down by 1 or 2 or up by 1 or 2, late game and the coach wants to get the right players on the ice and to draw up a play for the 6 on 5 or 5 on 6 situation.

Time Out Plan:  To use the time effectively and efficiently the coach needs an organized plan.  Here is a pan for a 30 second time out:

  1.  Transition time (10 seconds): Players get their thoughts and emotions together, have some water. Coach gets emotions together, prepares the message he needs to communicate.
  2. Coach talks, (20 seconds):  Coach must be exact and absolutely clear about the message and avoid any unnecessary chatter.  Use rink board if needed.  It is about FOCUS, so the coach must have 1 or 2 key points? Coach must make sure the players understand the message.
  3. End of time out (10 seconds):  Players and coaches prepare themselves to resume play.

This time out plan may be used for the minor hockey 2 minute between period break.  1. Transition time (45 seconds), players do their thing, coaches have a quick meeting and head coach prepares talk, 2.  Coach talk (60 seconds), use sandwich approach!  3. End: players and coaches use the last 15 seconds to prepare to resume play.

Coaches can practise time outs with their players or at least go over the plan.  If anyone has any more questions, reach me by email at [email protected], phone 604 255 4747 or visit my website at www.caochenio.com.

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About the Author

Enio Sacilotto

Enio Sacilotto is President of International Hockey Camps and operates the Mental Edge High-Performance Coaching. Enio has 38 years of coaching experience (professional hockey in Europe and the Victoria Royals of the WHL). Currently, he coaches the North West Hawks U15 and the Croatian National Men's team. If you have questions or are interested in any of his services, contact Enio at [email protected] or call 604 255 4747.


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