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08-03-2010, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by TheOtter View Post
Great thread. I have a suggestion that's a bit more for everyone else, but I think it fits.

If you're one of the better (or at least more vocal) players on your team, I think it's important to distinguish between these three types of mistakes that you see, and how you respond to them:

1. Mistake of execution - many less experienced players try to do something and fail - whiffed passes come to mind. This isn't the time to get on them for not passing the puck or for turning it over. This is a good time to pat them on the back for having the balls to try to pass in the first place. "I saw you trying to pass that puck instead of throwing it away - nice job. Better luck next time." This way you don't discourage them from trying again. If you tell them not to turn the puck over, then you've just made sure they won't attempt that pass again.

2. Physical impossibilities - if a hot shot speedster skates around your beginner defenseman like he's a road cone, this isn't the time to make comments about "we can't let that guy walk in on our goalie like that!" Because for all practical purposes, your beginner defenseman really is a road cone to that player. Nothing needs to be said here - the beginner knows he got beat. Any negative comment really isn't going to do anyone any good (unless it's to point out that the better players shouldn't leave that beginner hanging out to dry in the first place).

3. Bad decision / habit / whatever. This is the time to break out your player/coach wisdom, and the sooner after the incident, the better. And most poorer players will love to get advice on this sort of thing.
This is great advice, and falls under the same category as my best advice, 'keep it light'. It's all about fun. There are tons of ways to have constructive dialogue amongst teammates without coming off as scolding and serious. Just try to appreciate where everyone else is coming from and have fun.

Two other things:

1.Don't be afraid of the give-and-go. It seems like often less experienced players will receive a pass, and then frantically look around and force a pass somewhere else or throw it away when the player they just received a pass from had moved to a new position and was open. There's no rule against passing it back. By the same token, when you make a pass...make an effort to move to a position where you can support the puck carrier and receive a return pass or draw defenders away to create space for them. Just do...something.

2.Use your whole body. Learn how to control the puck with your skates. If you're going to stop a hard rim around the boards, an errant flip pass, a wildly bouncing puck, etc. that you think you might have trouble handling, don't just wave your stick at it like a magic wand, get yourself in front of it. use your legs, skates, shoulder, beer gut, whatever to help control the puck, move yourself right up against the wall, etc. This way, if you don't catch the puck with your erratic stick flailing, you'll still likely end up with the puck in your control anyway.

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