Wednesday Drill of the Week: Laker 2v2

WDotW Returns! A great full team rush/oz play drill courtesy of one of the two Laker programs in NCAA D1.

Laker 2v2

The drill starts with F1s crossing and exchanging a puck near the top of the circles. Two D start at the blueline and play the rush 2v2 back into the zone. Once in zone, two D (D2) come and play the offensive points while F1s and D1s play 2v2 below the tops of the circles. F1 can use D2 at the offensive blue line to maintain possession and generate point shots. On the whistle, F2’s cross and exchange a puck, attacking D2 down the ice into the far zone 2v2 – two D1’s join to play offensive points. The drill is then continuous, with the next pair beginning their attack on the whistle.

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Wednesday Drill of the Week: 3v0 Exchange Counter

3v0 Exchange Counter

A 3v0 shooting drill this week. This drill simulates a quick counter attack from your forwards. Emphasize quick transition once all three are onside and a quick decision to attack the net. Transition goals are scored within 3-7 seconds of a turnover, so the quick strike mentality is key.

The drill starts with three players in opposite corners. X1 goes around the circle and takes a shot. X2 delays and follows with a second shot. X3 completes a full lap around the circle and posts up inside the near blue line.

After the first shot, X1 skates around the far circle and finds a supporting space in the neutral zone. X2 picks up a puck from the corner and skates towards the blue line, making a pass to X3 from the opposite side. X2 then jumps onside and the three X’s quick attack 3v0.

How We Recruit

A great article this morning by Ari Wasserman at Cleveland.com about how recruiting at schools in the MAC differs from recruiting at Ohio State. Primarily dealing with the evaluation side of recruiting, it looks at how the coaches go about doing their jobs and the different environments they are in.

Is assembling a top-tier MAC team harder than building a national champion?

There is a lot about this article that reminds me of recruiting at the D3 level. D1 schools look for the best of the best, they look for and evaluate players that can be game breakers and difference makers at their level. They recruit those special few players, never managing more than a handful at a time. At D3, we try to find the best players that might have slipped under the radar – guys that can have an impact but for one reason or another haven’t caught the eye of a D1 scout. The numbers game is a very real part of recruiting at D3, just like in the MAC.

Little guys vs big guys, our challenges are different but the realities are the same. You have to recruit to win game – recruit the right players and people and you can be very successful.

The Joy of Opening Day

April 6, 2015. Opening Day for Major League Baseball. A day when the possibilities are endless, joy abounds and hope springs eternal. Everyone is 0-0 and for a lot of teams and fans, this could finally be the year.

By the time August and September roll around, that joy, hope and energy has faded for a large portion of players, teams and fans. Why? The reality of what the season is and will be is more concrete. You can see what can or cannot still happen. Some teams have long be out of any sort of playoff race. Others are in the midst of an exciting pennant chase with fans on the edge of their seats hoping for the best. The storylines that seem to always affect our teams play out again and again.

Why do we let the results of yesterday cloud our ability to enjoy the moment? Why do we let our win/loss record dictate our mood, energy and enthusiasm for today? The joy of the first day soon fades into the grind of a long season no matter the sport.

Remember the passion and energy you had on day one – bring that every day. Enjoy your sport every day that you have an opportunity to step on the field and play. Love your team as much during game 42, 86, 119 and 147 as you did on opening day. Your future is not dictated by your past. The joy and enthusiasm is what powers your ability to create a new tomorrow.

Let’s Play Ball!

The Offseason

The Offseason. A long period of unstructured time.  A time when the best separate themselves from the rest.

Anyone can work and grow under pressure. People rise to the occaision and stay focused on their goals in an environment of deadlines and pressure.

Not may can operate at their highest level with no pressure. It’s easier to take a longer lunch or stop and chat with friends when you’re not under pressure. The project you’re working on can happen tomorrow. There is no urgency to what you’re working on right now. Your workout is intense but not that hard. You procrastinate or delay a little longer than you might in a deadline environment.

The people and players that reach the highest levels – they are the ones that can push themselves beyond their own boundaries and create pressure when very little might otherwise exist.

The offseason is all about the principles that make you successful during the year. Discipline. Compete Level. Work Ethic. It’s easy to do these things during the season when everyone is playing attention. The best do these things day in and day out – they become a habit and a way of life.

The Second Half

Everyone in the hockey world has a holiday break. It’s longer for some (NCAA) than others (NHL), but every team gets a few days to recharge the batteries. This break rarely comes at the midpoint schedule, but most teams consider it the halfway point, breaking the year into the first half and the second half.

The second half is where teams make or break their seasons. The second half is where teams can determine their faith, taking a jump or maintaining their previous level of success.

As coaches, we look to our players to mature and grow over the course of the season. The break provides a great opportunity for growth, as it gives players a chance to reflect on the beginning of their season – what went right, what went wrong and what they need to continue to improve on to have an impact. There should be no more surprises, as everyone has experienced game time and had a chance to get comfortable with the coaching staff.

How can you facilitate this growth and development? Individual meetings are helpful, talking with players to help them understand their dimensions, strengths and weaknesses. Asking questions, guiding players towards the answers that you are looking for as a coach. Individual film work – showing players things from the first half that you want to continue or change. Finally, giving players some time away to reflect on their own about their game as well as recharge and renew their passion for the game – “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

In the second half you look for your first year players to play like mature veterans, and your older players to take the reigns and lead the team to success. The first half was the time for mistakes a growth, the second half is the time to make noise through the growth and maturation of your players.

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Goalie Barrier Walk Out

Barrier Walk out

A goalie drill for this week. Players start in the corner. There is a small bumper or barrier that is placed halfway between the dots and the post with part of it overlapping the goal line. Players skate out of the corner straight at the barrier and then move left or right and attack the net. If they move up ice (away from the goal line) they should look to take a quick shot. If the move below the goal line the play is a tight stuff on the post. To add a degree of difficulty, the player can also wrap to the far side low or walk across the crease high.

This drill is to simulate players walking out of the corner and making tight plays to the net. Goalies may use a variety of post-integration techniques to play this situation. Personally, I would advocate for a tight lean with a great post seal. This allows the goalie to easily move off the line on a walk out or a wrap, while also sealing the short side in the event of a stuff. Critical to any post-integration technique is proper execution. Goalies must ensure they have a tight seal on the post with their body and pad.