There is an ‘I’ in Team. Every team is built with a group of individuals who have personal beliefs, values, struggles, strengths, etc. The key is to remember we are coaching people, not a sport. Understanding this is a competitive advantage.
The player development process cannot be a “cookie cutter” or one-sized fits all approach. Each individual should have a development plan that is specific and allows them to take center stage on their journey. They become empowered to take responsibility for the process. It takes time and commitment and it’s the most important thing you can do.
Coaches are the facilitators of the environment that supports growth. Helping players become self-aware and inviting solutions from the individual will expedite development.
In the Union hockey program we invest in our players by building individual player development plans, with focus areas on their mind, body and craft. The craft speaks to the athlete’s technical and tactical hockey ability. Many of our players are striving to achieve their life-long dream of playing in the NHL and our role as coaches is to help them improve as quickly as possible in a holistic manner. At the NCAA D1 level, we are fortunate to have outstanding coaches and support in the areas of sport psychology, strength and conditioning, nutrition, etc.
In this video, I discuss one of the approaches I would take when I was the Head Coach of the Curry hockey program to help our players confront the gap between where they are now and their goals.