Girls and women’s hockey teams across North America are getting ready for their biggest games of the season in the next few weeks. My former college team, Dartmouth, is taking on the #1 team in women’s college hockey tomorrow in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Anyone that tells you to approach the biggest game of the season as “just another game” is absolutely full of it. So how do you get ready to beat the best team in female hockey?
For the women’s college hockey players facing off in the first round of the NCAA tournament tomorrow, this is definitely the biggest game of their season so far and for the seniors it’s probably the biggest game of their career. I know that when I played in those big games, whether in college or in the “pros”, I was always 100% committed to do whatever I could to make sure that we won, even if that meant being a great cheerleader from the bench.
When you get down to the final games of the year, when the whole season is on the line, it isn’t about you anymore. Sure, everyone wants to be the “hero” at the end of the game who everyone piles on top of after scoring the winning goal or making the big save in the shootout. But if you want to be a success late in your playoff run, you have to focus on how you can best help your team to succeed.
What 3 things do you absolutely have to do in order for your team to succeed?
What 3 things are your teammates expecting you to do and counting on you for?
If you are a solid stay-at-home defenseman, your teammates aren’t expecting you to take off on end-to-end rushes every time you touch the puck. They are counting on you to make good breakout passes, smart decisions at the opponents blue-line and to keep a tight gap on the 1-on-1s.
Your teammates and coaches expect you to play your game to the best of your ability. In fact, they are counting on it.
When it comes to the BIG games, it is easy to get distracted and find yourself getting stressed out with all the “pressure”.
Don’t get wrapped up in all the hype. Play to your strengths.
Focus on the 3 things that you do best that will help your team to succeed in the biggest games of the year. If your teammates do the same, you’ll be well on your way to raising that championship trophy overhead.
What 3 things are you going to do to help your girls hockey team succeed in the post-season?
Work Hard. Dream BIG. Play Your Game.
~ Coach Kim