AHU Coach’s Corner: Taking a look at what makes a good playoff hockey team
In order to win, you have to do it together because no one is better than the team. Winning is not easy, and that’s why not everyone can win every time they do something. That’s why the group that does it together – who wants it more – usually wins.
Making it to the playoffs is every team’s goal. That’s the first step of a good season.
Step two is to make it all the way after making the playoffs. Playoffs are a different breed. The intensity is ramped up and the drive to win is increased. That’s why playing as a team to sacrifice is the one goal everyone should have.
The team willing to do whatever it takes to win is the team that usually comes out on top. You have to buy in, be confident, and play like a warrior.
Buying in is the hardest thing for a coach to get through to his players. Every kid wants to score goals, but will that kid block a shot or be on the fourth line for energy to better the team? Not every kid will, but if you get everyone to do what they are supposed to do, then your team will be successful after the game and as a whole.
Be confident, and don’t change your games. You were successful throughout the season, so don’t change anything up.
Strive in the moment – playoffs are the most fun part of the season because all the hard work is starting to pay off. Have fun with it and be a team player and stay within your role.
To be honest, I would rather win a championship by being a team player than lose in the first round by being selfish.
Play like a warrior. The term “play like it’s your last game” is a real thing. Especially for that season, play like it’s your last game because in the playoffs, you never know when it really is going to be your last game.
Play 100 percent all the time and play like you want to make a difference. The end result of you giving your best effort will feel like a sense of accomplishment.
Enjoy the moment and everyone have fun with playoffs. I guarantee you it will be some of your best experiences you may ever go through.
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.
(March 9, 2018)