All week long, my good friend Brooke and I have been running a 4-day pre-camp of on-ice and off-ice training for the Total Female Hockey Experience event that starts tomorrow morning. Before the BIG event gets underway, I wanted to share a GREAT story with you from the pre-camp that really illustrates what Brooke and I think is one of the BIGGEST ROADBLOCKS preventing girls hockey players from getting to and excelling at the next level. This is especially important for players, coaches and parents to read this before training camps kick-off in the next two weeks.
As we started the second ice session of the Total Female Hockey Experience pre-camp, Brooke asked the players a really great question….
“How many of you have practices that are full of whistles? Meaning, there’s a whistle to start the drill, you follow a set pattern, go through the motions and then there is a whistle to end the drill.”
All 19 players on the ice put up their hand.
Here’s why that’s a problem…
The great thing about coaching girls, whether on or off the ice, is that they are always trying to do the drill or exercise as perfectly as possible.
They don’t want to mess up for fear of being embarrassed in front of their teammates or yelled at by the coach.
The problem is that when the coach draws up a drill on the board, the girls are so scared of make a mistake that they memorize how to do the drill perfectly, and forget to think about how to do the same drill CREATIVELY.
To really excel on the ice, you need to understand how to do the drill perfectly, but then you need to be able to think “outside the box”.
I am not advocating that players decide to do their own thing on every drill…
But girls hockey players are way too “ROBOTIC” out on the ice!!!
They follow the plan to the letter because in their mind the consequences of failure far outweigh possibility of success.
We NEED to tip the balance the other way.
This fear of failure ultimately boils down to a lack of CONFIDENCE.
Girls hockey players need to understand that it is not only OK to take chances, but it is the ONLY way to get better.
Getting to and excelling at the next level is all about being CREATIVE.
Sure, there were a lot of different forechecking, power-play and penalty kill systems that Brooke and I had to learn with our college teams.
BUT it was the players who were able to be creative within the context of those systems that really stood out on the ice.
If you want to give yourself an unfair advantage over the competition this season, you can’t just follow the pattern and go through the motions.
To stand-out, you need to think outside the box.
Learn the drills, patterns and systems – and then BE CREATIVE.
And Keep Working Hard & Dreaming BIG,
~ Coach Kim