For most youth hockey teams you have reached or just past the halfway point of the season. What does that mean to you?
As a coach is it time to take a short break and look back on the season:
- Reviewed your progress to your goals.
- Reset your course to set up the upcoming playoffs (everyone loves a champion).
- Changed or modified your practice plans based on the overall team progress
- Too early to worry now, but the season is almost over – and things are going to change. You will get your nights and weekends back. You will be staying closer to home. Many worries will be off your head. All of this, till next season.
As a player there are two paths.
- If the season is going well, you continue to look forward to every game and the upcoming playoffs. Winning and success make going to practice, dry land and the rink – fun. Everything is good!
- If the season is not going well, you try your darndest to continue to get better, continue to work as a team and fight through all of the negative feelings. Well, that is what the coach would say. For most players it becomes not fun. It is up to the coach and parents to continue to motivate and make fun the rest of the season.
For the parents, this is simple. Just keep on support your young athlete. Support comes in keeping a very positive outlook on all situation. Continue to challenge them to get better. Encourage and reward as much as possible.
The season is long. Right about now, most folks are more worried about when it is going to end. The travel, the practices, the games and the cold weather will be coming to an end. Focus has to remind with each element of the team (coaches, players and parents) in order to make the complete season a success.
I had a team that finished in last place in the regular season. We were struggling throughout the season. The players were trying, but some things just were not clicking. I changed up the practices and added some more fun activities – like soccer balls, tag and whatever else would have hockey skills in it. By the last week of the season, we started to be very competitive (wins – some). Playoffs hit – they were a double elimination tournament style. So, we kicked off the first game to the odds on favorites. We lost, but barely. Fought through the loser’s bracket to face the odds on favorites. This time it was not even close – we won the title (6-2). The moral of the story was – we all hung together (coaches, players and parents) and kept the right positive pressure in place. It worked.
Good luck the rest of the way!