Battling For More Playing Time
Battling for More Playing Time
As a coach seeing sets of eyes looking at me on the bench knowing kids want and hope for more playing time is something I have always struggled with…because I get it. I want more playing time for every kid and for my own kids. We all want more playing time. Thinking back to my time as a player, especially when playing in the NHL, this was me too. Trying to earn and figure out how to get more playing was the big question. Best answer: Play up your strengths and disguise your weaknesses.
First step is identifying your strengths and weaknesses and then strategizing.
The biggest weakness in my game personally was my hands. I decided to master the “outlet pass”. Moving the puck quickly out of harm’s way. I in turn train players at this skill with significance at all Battle Camps. I also trained my daughter (field hockey) at a young age to master this skill. It got her noticed. Over handling the puck was my nemesis and we see at our camps it is many youth hockey players weakness too. Trying to beat guys one on one while stick handling around them was not my game. I found that when I over stick handled…Benched. I learned that in my defensive end I faired much better making one quick move, pass it out. I had a hard accurate pass and that was my strength. I began to take pride in my tape to tape passes. For me that became like the feeling one would get when scoring a goal. I always say, put the puck in the forwards hands and let them work their magic or get it quickly to a safe space. Figuring out that passing/shooting was my strength and highlighting it, hmmm this tactic was working. More playing time for Serowik. After practice I would work on my weakness: stick handling. Practicing both on and off the ice: figure eights, golf balls, tennis balls, through cones, forehand, backhand, green biscuit, Mr. Assist, anything to soften up my rough set of paws. Practicing saucer passes to targets I set up.
The top player on every team has weaknesses too. No hockey player is expertly skilled at all aspects of the game. A skill acquisition depends on many things: level of keenness, confidence, competitiveness, self esteem, aggression, coaching, commitment, dedication.
In situations such as try outs, at a tourney or while being scouted. Don’t try to do too much. These times more than ever players need to play up their strengths and disguise their weaknesses. Do less, be solid, be reliable, leave less room for error.
Watch your favorite college or pro players. Study what they do and don’t do. How they do it.
Video tape your son or daughter’s shifts in a game. Go over them together. Call us for a virtual private. We break down kids games and explain what they did right and where they can improve and strategize how to play up their strengths and disguise their weaknesses.
Do not compare yourself with other people
– Bill Belichick, New England Patriots Legend
Others can stop you temporarily. You are the only one who can do it permanently.
-Jeff Serowik, Pro Ambitions Hockey, Inc.