50 Winning Coaching Tenets

With the pressure to win hockey games on them, some coaches may lose sight of the fact that winning is a by-product of many elements; some of which you can control and others which you cannot. Below are 50 coaching tenets, developed by Greg Siller of Pro Learning Systems that are designed to remind coaches (players and parents too) of the essential aspects of winning.

1.             Your first shift should be played to let your opponent know that their next hour won’t be easy.

2.             After a loss, evaluate how your individual play affected the outcome, how your teams’ play affected the outcome, how your opponents play affected the outcome, and then reset the clock.

3.             Creativity is difficult to teach. The fundamentals to unleash that creativity are not.

4.             When your players get frustrated, teach them to skate harder and use their mouth’s less.

5.             The goaltender owns the shooter; the defense owns the rebound and the opponents near the net.

6.             If you are not skating, you better be on the bench.

7.             Each shift is not a measure of how long you can stay on the rink; it is a measure of what you can do for your team while you are out there.

8.             You can talk about how good you played during your game only when you have contributed both individually as well as for the team.

9.             Winning and losing are both variations of learning.

10.         Officials are not perfect; but then, neither are the rest of us.

11.         Your opponent is only present to test your ability to persevere.

12.         The coach always knows best, at least until the next game.

13.         Think of overtime as the final course in a good meal—dessert.

14.         Each game represents a snapshot of your current ability.

15.         The mental aspects of your game are the ones that drive the physical ones.

16.         Losing means that you were out-scored by your opponent. It does not mean that you are not the better team.

17.         At any given time, only 2 or 3 players are involved in control or pursuit of the puck. Each practice should reflect this competitive principle.

18.         Between periods, have your team rally together. Recuperate, hydrate, communicate, and renew the battle, with more knowledge, vigor, and intensity than the period before.

19.         Parents can second-guess the coach at any time; however when that second-guessing begins to adversely affect the team (coaches, players, other parents), then its time to talk.

20.         Individuals win individual battles. Teams win games.

21.         Self-confidence is a trust in yourself to always play your very best.

22.         Respect becomes very clear during any competition. You see what your opponents are capable of and they see what you are capable of.

23.         On the penalty kill, focus your energies offensively at least once per shift.

24.         Power plays involve a patient progression of the five P’s; positioning, passing, puck control, pressure, and putting the puck on net.

25.         Face-offs are another opportunity for your team to gain control of the puck.

26.         While you are on the bench, observe your opponents patterns and use that knowledge to beat them on your next shift.

27.         A good penalty is one that occurs in your defensive zone; in a potential scoring situation.

28.         If your team does not have control of the puck, position your players to gain control of it.

29.         If your team has control of the puck, position your team to keep control of it.

30.         When playing defensively, always force the play to the boards.

31.         Communicate with your teammates both on the rink and on the bench.

32.         Respect yourself, your team, your opponents, and the game.

33.         If you have the puck and are not in a high percentage shooting location, move to a better location, pass the puck, or shoot with the intent of forcing a rebound.

34.         In any given game, you will be the better team.

35.         Over time, you have the ability to win more games than you lose.

36.         The breakout play is like a play in football. The quarterback (puck carrier) has about 5 seconds to pass, hand-off, or run the football (puck) up the field.

37.         Words (trash talk) can temporarily defeat the mind. Solid team play can consistently defeat any opponent.

38.         Words of encouragement are seeds for future first-class play.

39.         At the end of the game, the immediate contest is over, and your next one begins.

40.         Always view each game in terms of opportunities and learning.

41.         Passing will advance the puck quicker than skating with it.

42.         Keep your mind active, both on the rink and on the bench.

43.         Find time for fun. This helps make all your hard work seem worthwhile.

44.         Even though the game is fast-paced, both speed and patience are required to win.

45.         Use what you learn in practice and apply it creatively during your games.

46.         Line changes are an opportunity to renew your teams’ challenge.

47.         Move the puck North/South or East/West no more than 2 times in a row to avoid predictability.

48.         Winning means many things. And whether you played good or bad, your team has jumped two points in the standings.

49.         If you’re losing by a goal or two late in an evenly matched game, consider pulling your goaltender. Besides the obvious objective of providing your team with an extra attacker, it allows your team the opportunity to test its character, as well as that of your opponent.

50.         Always keep in mind why you got involved in hockey in the first place. It helps put the superfluous aspects of the game in perspective.

A Hockey Coaching Tool from Greg Siller of Pro Learning Systems.

Contact me with other successful coaching tenets.

Contact Greg Siller - siller@prolearning.com
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