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Player/Coach When Your Team Is Bad

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03-27-2013, 08:50 AM
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Player/Coach When Your Team Is Bad

Hey guys,

I don't post here much anymore, but I wanted to get some advice and lay out a scenario to everyone. I'm playing in a division probably a notch or two below my skill set, as it was the only goalie position open in the league this season. Anyway, the team I'm playing for is full of beginners. I mean, they-have-trouble-skating-backwards-and-shooting-without-falling-down-bad. I knew their skill level before I signed on to play this season, and I welcome the challenge of trying to keep them in games. But how do I go about trying to teach the game a little bit, especially in regards to positioning and picking up the right man etc., when the skill set is hardly there to stay on the ice? I don't care if I get shelled every night so long as I get better, and I do my best to hide any frustration I may feel while playing. But I am not sure how to help the players get better and enjoy their season more, without coming across as a know-it-all.

Any advice? Keep in mind, I'm new to the team, and they've been playing together for a season or two.

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03-27-2013, 09:13 AM
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As far as defensive positioning goes, be as vocal as possible. You are the general out there. If my tendy wants me to play a certain way in his zone then that's what I do.

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03-27-2013, 09:40 AM
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Been though this quite a few times as a skater.

Not sure there's much you can do. There will be a few who are really interested in improving & learning more about the game. But, there are always a few in the bunch who think that they already know everything & think that they are great players (& will blame everyone else for bad plays, losses etc.). The latter are usually the loudmouths or more vocal players. Also, some people are just not competitive enough to care, & never want to improve & that's o.k.

When it's gotten really bad, I'll discuss plays/positioning tactfully. When there's a centerman who sits up @ center ice waiting for a break-away pass (usually those guys can't handle the long hard pass anyways so they're being completely useless) rather than play a two way game, I'll discuss how WE can help the defense/goalie out a bit more in our end by staying back & developing a team break out with puck support etc. Rather than criticizing the player directly.

I was invited to join a team once who blamed the goalie for them losing almost every game... One game, the first shift, we let in 4 goals (I was on the second line watching from the bench), everyone s*&t on the goalie for the 11-4 loss. What didn't occur to anyone other than me was that the other team had 6-8 good scoring chances on the first shift, that's NOT the goalies fault. The shots were probably 60-12 for the other team, but we lost because of our goalie..........

Probably best to look for a more competitive situation, hard to improve when you're playing well below your skill level.

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03-27-2013, 10:42 AM
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Rent some ice time and run some drills

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03-27-2013, 10:52 AM
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If you want people to pay attention, you should use specific examples, and they should not be plays which resulted in a goal against. For example, your D-man screens you, but you make the save anyway. Take the next opportunity while the play is fresh in his or her head to explain how their positioning affected you and what would have been a better play.

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03-27-2013, 11:04 AM
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Well the first thing to do is see if they want help? Some guys just don't want to work at it or improve. Unsolicited advice a lot of times just isn't appreciated.

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03-27-2013, 12:11 PM
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Talk to the coach?

I have been in your situation before, the best route that I found to go was to sit down and talk to the coach. If you take this route and he is on your side then he should start teaching more. This will benefit you cause you wont have to deal with the know it alls on the team.

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03-27-2013, 12:24 PM
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I think if you explain that you as the goalie have arguably the best view of the ice and the plays developing, that it would prevent people from thinking of you as a know-it-all.

I would also say that it's best to find the one or two players who seem interested to learn, and give them advice/teach them positioning etc. Then when those players improve, others on the team might take notice, and ask them (or you) for advice.

I think you might already think this way, but addressing the whole room at once seems like a bad idea to me.

It's tough, because you have to appreciate a balance in your teammates' desire to get better and to just have fun. Good luck!

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03-27-2013, 01:13 PM
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Our team is moslty novice (1-3 years) and we have fairly regular pre-game chalk talks to discuss what we want to do - very basic positioning in the D-zone, breakouts and O-zone etc. Mostly reminders now, we intend to do some dryland practices over the spring and summer as well.

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03-27-2013, 02:31 PM
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Between periods is also a good time to check-in with your team as a group and let them know about adjustments.

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03-28-2013, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Between periods is also a good time to check-in with your team as a group and let them know about adjustments.
Sounds like this might be the best opportunity to address some issues. I find that constructive criticsm and general strategy is better received during the heat of battle when it's fresh and relevant and when you have immediate examples. It's more informal than a chalk-talk session or even a one-on-one with a player. Also, guys have their guard down and they still have time to correct mistakes and redeem themselves.

Start with the positive or what the team is doing right before getting into the negative stuff (i.e. "You guys are doing a good job with ____. If we could just do a little better job of _____ we put ourselves in a position to win."). If the buzzer just sounded on a brutal period, use the "turn the page" approach ("We got our ***** handed to us that period, but we can find a way to ____ / do a better job of ____ we'll win the next period."). If you try to win games one period at a time, that goal might seem more attainable. If nothing else, it builds and reinforces winning behaviors.

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