AHU Coach’s Corner: Playing within your role helps with being a team player
Knowing your role as a player is something that kids have trouble with, but that makes a better team. The more realistic a player is with himself or herself, the better player they will become.
Teams need players that skate with a lot of energy and create chances for their linemates, not just players that score goals. Obviously, scoring goals is a bonus, but there are players out there that are better at being a playmaker or being a shutdown defenseman or even a shutdown center.
Every player brings a different piece to a TEAM’S success.
I try to tell every player to strive to be the best at what they do. If you are the best at what you do, then that is what gets you to the next level each time you progress as a player.
As I stated before, not every team is looking for the goal scorer, so it is important to know the type of player you are. When a kid has trouble knowing what kind of player he is, I always ask, “What do you do on the ice that helps the team?” Then I can help the player find out if there someone that he plays like in the NHL. I will then tell that player to watch the one person every time they are on the ice and watch what they do to make themselves noticeable for the team.
Every coach wants a player that is coachable because that is also what makes a good role player and a better teammate. The better you are at working hard and showing character on and off the ice, the better off your team will be. Being coachable is something that is a choice and is also a skill.
Being competitive every time you are on the ice is also a skill. These are all things that you can choose to control, it’s just a matter of if you want to put the time in to be better at it or not.
This all has to do with being realistic with your abilities.
It is OK if you are young and not the best player on your team right away, but you can work at it and improve every time you are on the ice.
The more you know your playing style, the quicker you will improve your game every time you are on the ice.
Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union.