This is my third season coaching bantam elite hockey girls, and every year I learn as much from them as hopefully they learn from me. As a coach, yes your job is to help develop the player’s skills as much as possible for the amount of time you have with them. You give tips, feedback and advice that they will hopefully apply in the long run to their game. I learned something else these past few weeks: teamwork is not only amongst the players, but amongst the players and coaches.
Players must be able to listen and apply what coach’s demand, but coaches have to also be able to give players feedback. We have to be able to work together. To maintain an open mindedness is not a weakness in a coach, it is a quality. Being able to listen to your players and obtain their point of view can possibly give you the insight you need to help better the team.
As a coach, your job is to help the team and take responsibility for any and all actions by your players. As a player, your job is to listen to your coaches and apply what they ask of you. You have to be able to put your ego aside, and trust they are doing what’s best for the team. You may not always agree with a coach’s decision, but that is not your call to make. Complaining or remaining upset will only affect you and the team. It is not always easy to keep a positive attitude, but it is necessary to do to keep the spirits high in the dressing room. If something upsets you, you cannot take it to the dressing room. Talk about it after the game or with someone not associated to the team. Analysing and interpreting decisions made behind the bench will do nothing but take away your focus and affect your performance.
If something is bothering you, as a player or as a coach, the best solution is communication. If a player is not performing at her potential, the coach should be able to take her aside and discuss this. If a player does not agree or understand a coaching decision, she should go and politely ask an explanation. To communicate means to clear the air and help everyone move towards the same objective. If players and coaches can obtain this communication, everyone will be able to perform with a clear conscience, whether it’s on the ice or behind the bench.