If you’re a hockey coach, then you probably know all too well that there is nothing worse than forwards quickly attacking the blue line. When that happens, your players have to make the tough decision to stand up at the line or to all move to one side.
Of course, they’re likely to do what you have asked of them and trained them to…but what should you train them to do?
While it would be nice if this question had an “easy answer,” the truth is that all you can really train your players to do is to listen to their instinct…to go with their gut. Sometimes, the thrill, confidence, and success that can go along with stepping up on the blue line is amazing. Other times, though, it’s better to minimize risk and take the safer route. As a coach, though, all you can do is teach your players how to trust their gut and then allow them to make the decision for themselves when the time come.
While this may be easier said than done, you can do your part to help your players develop confidence in their abilities and in their understanding of the game. Teach them how to “read the ice.” In other words, show them what each action or event is likely to lead to. Teach them to quickly be able to summon all the possibilities when something happens on the ice, to assess the situation, and to make a judgment call. This ability will come in handy many times on the ice…and many times in life as well.
Teaching your players to trust themselves and make their own decisions takes time, encouragement, and regular effort, but it is something that will pay off, both for you and for them, in the long run, making it infinitely worth it.