The days of stickhandling through cones and lining pucks up in a row for skill development are over. Make sure you have a skill coach who understands the value of teaching you weight transfers, creating space, and being deceptive. See if you can catch how and why learning to transfer weight is important in the game of hockey as evidenced in this video clip.
Update: May 20th, 2015
I’ve recently been viewing “hockey development” as a sort of projection. By that, I mean something that has been thrown or launched. Imagine a baseball, a rock, a dart. Imagine that once the projectile has been launched or thrown it is very hard to influence. After the initial impulse, or launch, there is very little that can effect the trajectory of object. Sometimes wind might veer the object off its course, or slow it down, or push it forward. But wind is transient, unpredictable, and not always tangible.
Imagine now, that the hockey player is the projectile. They are launched into their hockey career with the movement experiences they have developed, a psychology they inherited from their parents and their experience, and with an orientation towards skill development. If a hockey player is unfortunate enough to inherit some crappy movement patterns early on, they are often cursed for the rest of their career…unless they have a coach skilled enough to identify and fix the problem. While most coaches are capable of identifying that there is some sort of problem, or insufficiency…they do not always know how to fix the problem. If a hockey player is fortunate enough to inherit great movement patterns, the right psychology, and a good work ethic, their career path is blessed. If that hockey player also happens to somehow develop goal scoring habits, or tactical decision making habits, along with this, they are more likely to play professionally. But the problem is that for most players, goal scoring habits, decision making habits, and perfect body mechanics happen by accident. By this, I mean that no one parent, coach or person specifically designed interventions to have a child develop these things. They occurred by chance. I consider these chance events to decide the force behind the projectile.
Now, the wind, or coaches/the developmental environment might influence the path a bit. But the wind could change at any time. What is really needed, is a hand of god, to come out of the sky, recognize the projectiles path, and adjust it appropriately. In order to recognize its path, the hand of god needs to know where the projectile came from and what forces were and are acting on it.
Most coaches are the wind. They prescribe stock drills, provide stock feedback, and have stock complaints.
Belfry, is the proverbial hand of god. He is distinctly aware of the developmental experiences that influence the projection of a hockey player’s career. He’s also able to influence and adjust how those influences effect a player’s game. I think that a coach like him is actually able to see through the malarky, the common wisdom, and identify what actually makes a difference. While every player is improving and moving forward, he actually helps players jump ahead by helping them to get better faster.
If you’re a coach, simply consider this. This is not necessarily something to be answered or explained, just something to think about.