Consider each shift as a new career
Have you ever heard this old adage: “With each breath, your life begins anew”?
In the context of hockey, I would say this: With each shift, your career begins anew.
Think about it. Once your turn on the surface ends, there is no going back. You cannot alter what may or may not have occurred.
But what you can do is carry forward any positive vibe from a strong effort and be mindful of the lessons learned from your mistakes.
As a player, it is your job to attack each second on the surface with a determined resolve to do anything possible within the rules to help your club succeed.
To me, that is the ONLY physical and psychological approach guaranteed to deliver far more good shifts than bad. Worrying about what you did on a previous turn only gets in the way of you doing your job.
As a coach, you must never harp on young players’ mistakes that you probably made yourself hundreds of times when you were a youngster.
Players must be taught that each shift presents a new chance to contribute something momentous, something truly miraculous to his or her team. That’s the new career they have each time they step on the ice.
That means that coaches must stress the overall good that players are accomplishing and completely eliminate any needless criticism. In so doing you will foster an environment that allows a young player to concentrate on his or her skills for the betterment of the team.
If you can’t handle that, then coaching youth ice hockey may not be the right venue for you.
Best of luck,
Paul T. Lubanski is president of Wilderness Xtreme Sports. He can be contacted at 248-762-6998.