12 posts :: Page 1 of 1
By: Likes:
  (Read 8374 times)  

Need some advice here guys.....

In two weeks we play a team that is much more skilled than we are. They have a pretty creative offense, usually starting things from an overload / corner cycle (criss-cross or scissor style) and then find either a seam player creeping in from the hash marks or a guy sneaking behind the net for back door play at the far post. All 3 forwards interchange a lot, and it tends to make things pretty chaotic for our newer players. Given significantly lesser offensive skills we can't execute the way they do in practice, but I want to give ourselves the best chance to compete. Do I:

A) Drop the strong side high forward lower to cut off the seam play, but also expose the strong side point more
Cool Leave the high forwards where they are and convince our low 3 to pick a guy early and stick with him man to man
C) Stick with the "man on + box behind" scheme, collapse the box a bit and focus on shot blocking
or
D) Look ahead to the next opponent and keep the beer glass full all weekend Smile

Based on your answer, how would you get the team ready in the practices leading up to the 2 game series?


By: Likes:
   

Dman, here is what I would do.

Practice playing a passive box and one in the middle giving the offense 45 seconds to score while eveyone protects the scoring circle in front. Then practice 1 on and a box behind stressing D side and stick on stick, sticks in the passing lanes and tight gaps. I would also play a 1-2-2 froecheck where you cut the ice in half and then pressure.

Get it out in the red zone near your blueline and in on their side. If the player with the puck goes to the net and shoots and F2 and F3 along with D1 join the attack you will do fine. Maybe you won't win but it will be a lesson on how to compete and play smart.


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   
Admin
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3019
Location: Calgary, Canada
By: Likes:
   

Great advice Tom!

I remember Wally Kozak did an on-ice PK demo at one of the first Hockey Canada Coaches Clinics at the U of C Oval (1990?) - he had four kids form a fairly passive box (about 2 stick lengths between each kid - so if they both turned into the middle with their stick blades extended, they would touch) in front of their goalie and "dared" the PP to score on them. He ran 1 minute shifts and 5 new guys tried to score. He went for several minutes - I think he subbed the PK's once - and it was amazing how many shots got blocked. No body came inside the box and nobody scored!

Then he ran what Tom described - man in the middle inside a box (now 5 players) - as a DZC system; this was pretty effective! (I think he used the man in the middle of the box as an intermediate step leading up to man in front, box behind or MIFBB. The point of the box in this middle step just rotated slightly to front the puck carrier - the other three points rotated too, such as to maintain a box.)

Then Wally had the DZC players move into a MIFBB formation. Again, the kids seemed to pick up on it pretty well and it was pretty effective.

Wally even had some Junior A and Major Junior guys on the PP / on the offensive side of the coin and the Midget AAA's did a whale of a job limiting shots, blocking shots, chipping rebounds to the corner, eating the puck, clearing the puck.

Dave you should let us know what you do and how it turns out!

And don't forget to keep the beer glass full all weekend Wink


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
Active Member
cold
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2063
Location: Calgary AB Canada
By: Likes:
   

Dman,

I faced a similar situation several years ago at a major year end Tournament. Very skillful forwards who would have picked us apart if we allowed them time. I decided to play a man to man game down low, which allowed for constant pressure. Finished 2-2.

Might be something to consider, especially since you have a couple practices to work out the bugs.

Good luck.

By: Likes:
   

Thanks Gentlemen,

I would like to think we could play man to man with some success, but I think I will try box and man in middle in practice to prove the impact of keeping defensive side. We could revert to playing that style if necessary, but I hope it doesn't come down to being that static. We have been playing a 1-1-3 all year, so it would be tough to fore check 1-2-2.....a little too much change for our guys. Do you think it's better to press 2-3?....They like to reverse the puck D to D in their end a lot.

The game is 2 weeks away....I'll let you know how it goes....and keep the beer glass full with a lot of this: http://www.sierranevada.com/beers/tumbler.html Good stuff!

Thanks again,
Dave

By: Likes:
   

Almost drooled like my 4 month old when I clicked on that link...

A 2-3 sounds like a good idea against a team that has a tendency to go D-D. Also, It isn't too much different from a 1-1-3... just have the 2nd man get up on the play quicker - F1 and F2 are responsible for either side of the ice. If they don't stretch too often, your F3 / D1/ D2 can get up quickly and shrink the zone (keeping all opponents in front of them.) If they stretch, you can have the closest player nearest the stretch man declare and go while the other two remaining look to adjust to the situation.

PS I think you are coaching high school / junior if memory serves me right... so this might be a good time to practice a different forecheck so you can have two ready to go for the 2nd half of your season. I always liked to have two different looks during the regular season (one aggressive and one more passive) with a third different look ready for playoffs (situation / opponent specific.)


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
Active Member
thirsty
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2063
Location: Calgary AB Canada
By: Likes:
   

Update: One week from playing the much more skilled team I mentioned in the first post, tonight we played a team we should have beaten fairly easily but lost in overtime. We had a good week of practice leading up to the weekend, but had to bench our best goaltender for discipline problems and also took a lot of undisciplined penalties during the game that cost us greatly. Back-checking was altogether missing from our game and in general we played some pretty uninspired hockey, leading me to the biggest question of all:

How do you teach desire?

ps. You might consider investing in Sierra Nevada brewing company.....their sales are going up rapidly as a direct result of the game described above.
------------------------
Dman, it sounds like your players made the biggest mistake or all which is to "underestimate your opponent." I watched the Flames beat Chicago 7-2 a few weeks ago and you see it happen all the time. It is a real challenge to get yourself up for a lesser opponent.

As far as playing star players who win a lot of 1-1's I find the key is to back pressure the puck carrier with F1 and have F2 pick up the trailer. That way you create a defensive 2-1 and if they don't like to pass it works well.
Tom

By: Likes:
   

Dman,

Tough news but hopefully the kids learn that they need to be more disciplined and not to take the other team for granted. Sometimes these are valuable lessons NOW for later on... Keep sitting kids as ice time is the one commodity you can leverage!

Don't get discouraged (and drink of all that lovely Sierra Nevada product!) Keep it up with the systems adjustments you have made. Hold the course and see how the kids respond next week (practice and games.)

Try to do a bunch of battle drills (or drills / games 1 vs 1's where you have 2 or 3 teams and keep score - losers skate / do push-ups, pick up pucks, etc.) That accountability in practice should help reacquaint them with 'desire' (they don't want to let their teammates down / be the guy who causes the team to lose (peer pressure) / they have some pride and want to compete.)

Good luck. Keep us posted.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2063
Location: Calgary AB Canada
By: Likes:
   

Thanks Guys,

2nd night, better result. Down 1-0 going into the 3rd period we rallied for a 3-1 win tonight and played some spirited hockey. Both teams played better hockey and it was definitely an emotional win for us....I hope the kids are starting to realize how important the emotional side of the game is.

Lots of questions still....Were we over confident on night one or under confident? (I built the visiting team up quite a bit beforehand.) Were we tired from training on night one, or tired from something else (fresh snow = hiking and snowboarding, sledding etc.)? Too many X's & O's before the game, or was it something else?

How do you guys approach big games? How do you approach easier games? What do you do after a flat performance? How much strategy do you discuss pre-game?

Thanks for the help and encouragement......more updates to come.

Dave
----------------------------------
Dman, I think the practices belong to the coach and the game belongs to the players. In the pre game prep you can't overload them with too many things and if you haven't practiced something you can't expect them to do something new in a game.
If possible tell them something about the other teams even and odd man situation tendencies and what will be effective against them. Stress effort and committment and never mention that you think your team has more talent.
Before games I go around the room and have each player say one thing they are going to focus on to help us be successful.

Stress the process and effort needed to be successful and the score will take care of itself.

By: Likes:
   

Dave,

I love what Tom says about the practices (exam preparation) - they are for the coach and games (exams) are for the players! 100%!

Consistency is something the pros struggle with; with kids it is magnified! Sierra Nevada product will help you as a coach deal with the highs and lows!!!

Without 'living' your situation, I can't speak to your level of fatigue or other X and O prep or other extraneous factors. You have to use your own 'first-person' indicators / gut feel / knowledge of individual players / where you are on your YTP at that point in time, etc.

My coaching-style evolution - I don't build up or tear down the opposition (I used to always look for motivational buttons before... now I deal more in factual info. Some kids may prefer a more motivational style - that's fine - individual differences! I don't know what works for you personally - or your team. Decide what works best for your team and still 'feels real' to you as a coach. You don't want to come across as a 'phony' person IE trying to be a motivator if you aren't - you will just lose credibility!)

Myself and the coaching staff (with older players, they may also be involved) set measurable performance goals as our "3 keys to success" prior to playing any opponent. (Your choice - Technical, Tactical, Systems, Mental, etc., or whatever combo works best for you in each game). These are related to our practices and game performance. This prevents info overload and helps foster a routine (consistency) that players crave... and one that seems to allow them more success; rather than if I come in each period with 5 new or different things that weren't in my original game plan! (Moving targets are tougher to hit...!) Feel free to note additional items that concern you, but put this into your scouting report (for next time) and look to practice it in practice. (Obviously, if there is ONE BURNING ADJUSTMENT you NEED to mention, go for it!)

We post these in advance, talk about them before each period, and use them as the basis for between period talks. "How are we doing in relation to our 3 keys?" I / we may also take into account the tendencies of the opponent when constructing these, but I don't overly "hype" things... the kids read the standings and stats and know who is hot / where our team stands in relation to the opponent (league stats are always posted in the room.) Kids know if it's a big game or not... I don't want to cause over-arousal or show a lack of confidence in our own preparations / team! Additional hype more often has a deleterious effect on kids...

I don't know if I am 'right' in my approach, but after much trial and error (and research and discussion with other coaches), this is the process I have determined as the best for my own use. Feel free to use whatever you want and flush the rest down the toilet!

So in essence, keep it simple and focus on the process. The performance is what you are concerned with - as Tom says, the outcome will take care of itself.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2063
Location: Calgary AB Canada
By: Likes:
   

Another update: Game 1, 4-0 loss. Shots were 35-25 in their favor. We played a terrific first period with tight defensive coverage (thanks for the advice Tom) but at times regressed into our old ways (big circles instead of stops & starts.) When they realized we had a few defense men that are not so mobile they started going for long stretch passes, getting the puck deep, and pressuring our D which was an effective strategy.

I can't say I'm happy with a 4-0 loss, but I can find some redemption in cutting the shot differential down significantly from the past (as well as the score)....Still a long way to go though. Another chance to close the gap tomorrow. I've been doing my best to limit what I say about x's & o's, and sticking to simple performance goals....I hope the kids are learning as much as I am. Thanks for all the info & ideas.

Dave

By: Likes:
   

Game 2: 5-2 loss. Played 2 good periods of defense, but went back to our old ways for the middle period. Had a 1-0 lead going into period 2, up 2-0 at one point, but eventually ended up down 4-2 going into the 3rd.

Overall thoughts: Our best offense came from our youngest players who 1) kept it simple in our defensive zone & 2) never stopped their feet when forchecking. This is our third line, and the least skilled & experienced of the bunch, but they had the best +/- rating and created our best opportunities. Goes to show that good work ethic & habits as important as talent, if not more. All in all, I don't think we're that far of from truly competing with these guys, but we certainly lack quite a bit in the offensive skill department.

Up Next: Get more disruptive on our fore-check...Tom, I think I will work on that 1-2-2 you mentioned, using Kai's Erkka Westerlund ppt and video. I used full-ice back-checking transition games to get ready for last week and will continue to do so...they are great conditioners, and great game simulators that encourage good habits. I also spent a lot of time on the man on, box behind defensive zone coverage and will keep refining this. I found a presentation by Perry Pearn on-line (http://flexxcoach.com/learningcenter/....$5 I think for "Premium Content"...I've attached a powerpoint file that came along with it) which gave me alot more confidence to explain it thoroughly. Also found a detailed explanation here:
http://www.hockeyshare.com/blog/tag/defensive-zone-coverage/

Thanks again for all the input & info.

Dave
--------------------------
Dave thanks for the links and attachments they are really clear. Perry is now the asst. coach for Montreal. In the mid 80's he was the coach of NAIT in Edmonton and I coached SAIT in Calgary. He had a run of about 4 championships in a row which launched his coaching career.
The key is protect the inside first and everyone knowing their role and having good habits in the dzone.
We had a rough weekend vs Edmonton. Lost 1-2 on Friday and dominated the last two periods but their goalie stoned us. Yesterday lost 3-5. Gave them 2 free goals. One our D tried a d to d behind the net but hit the metal on the side of the net and it bounced right onto their player in fronts stick who tapped it in. We closed the gap to 4-3 and were dominating and had a pp and our goalie decided to make the breakout pass instead of letting the D pick up their icing. She skated to the top of the circle and tried to pass a puck that was spinning up and down. She only got half the puck and passed to a penalty killer who had a breakawy as she tried to scramble back. She scored and that took a lot of energy out of us with about 5 min. left. We probably deserved a split on the weekend but lost both. No games til after the New Year and I hope my 2 D and injured forwards are ready by then. They are in the top end of the team skill. We are lucky we play 80% of our league games in Jan. Feb.

12 posts :: Page 1 of 1