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Teaching Individual Game Skills

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Individual skills are the foundation for the next level of coaching, which are Game Skills. Many players are utilizing skills coaches to help them throughout the year. Goalies are often working with a goalie coach, and there are many programs devoted to off-ice training and strength training and conditioning. In order to take advantage of higher skilled players, youth and high school coaches are faced with a challenging proposition about how to best teach their players how to use these individual skills to play the game effectively as a team.

Coaching to the players' skill level is complicated and challenging for any coach, from the pros all the way down into youth/minor hockey. The process requires time and effort to honestly assess the physical and mental capabilities of each player and then weave the individuals into a team effort. Since every player on the team has a unique set of skills, a coach needs to modify the approach to fit the group in order to get the desired results.

An important component of game skills is mental skills. Where do players fall on an assesment profile? Which players are motivated to get better and which ones are less committed and have lower levels of drive? These and other factors are important for a coach to know if the objective is to create the best possible team with the players that are available.

Coaches talk about grit, playing hard, time and space, giving 110% every shift and these concepts are important. Unfortunately these ideas are presented and discussed with players in feedback and learning relationship. Helping players underestand how their actions on the ice every shift contributes to the team effort is a critical component to team success.

One way to help players improve their game is to utilize an on ice effectiveness measurement system. The system helps players measure the things that matter on ice and tracks their improvement as the season progresses. It also allows for an objective framework between player and coach to find stategies for improvement.  The information also helps a coach design practices based on the needs of individual players.

Just as head coaches rely on assistant coaches and private skills trainers they should also reach out to professionals and experts to help them with the professional mental training and On Ice Effectiveness training systems.  

For more information on how to coach at higher levels of effectiveness contact Shaun Goodsell at  www.mentaledgenow.com