Friday, December 8, 2017

Does Simpler Equal Better?

Sooner or later, every team will get into a situation where it is unable to find an opening and, due to growing frustration, players just take a low-percentage shot. While this isn’t ideal, it’s something that happens often and is something that most people understand.  

The problem, though, is that when this kind of thing happens, coaches often get mad that their players are spending too much time trying to make perfect shots. So, they take the approach of attempting to simplify the game and shift the focus to simply getting pucks to the net.

This strategy might seem like a good one at first, especially if it results in more successful games, which it often does. However, oversimplifying hockey, while it may be rewarding at first, can actually be detrimental in the long-term to a team and its players.

What often happens, when you attempt to simplify hockey too much, is that players take shots all the time, pass up extra passes they otherwise would have taken, and are just generally playing with less accuracy and control. Players might get in more shots, but their overall performance and skill suffer in the interim, which means that simplifying is rarely the best choice.

Furthermore, when you simplify the game too much, it’s hard to teach true skill and precision. Players get sloppy and stop caring as much as they should. Furthermore, the beauty of the game gets lost, which is perhaps the worst thing to have happen.

So, instead of simplifying the game for your players, teach them techniques they can use to increase speed without losing precision. It’s possible to have a fast game without missed shot opportunities…and still keep the game as the complex, beautiful thing it was designed to be.

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