For the first time in four months, I am back coaching hockey. The last hockey team I coached were the Millbrook Knights PeeWee and Bantam teams, and I was really only a goalie coach who showed up for practice twice a week.
This past weekend was the first time that I stood behind the bench during the hockey game, instead of being on the ice. It was definitely a learning experience
The team I was coaching was called the Florida Outlaws, and on the entire team, only one of them was from Florida. There were girls from all over the east coast, and one was even from Canada. Immediately I knew that the main problem I was going to have this weekend would be the chemistry between the girls. It’s hard to immediately connect with someone when you’ve never played with them, and have no idea how they operate on the ice. To say that the first game had a steep learning curve was a bit of an understatement. We ended up losing 6-0.
On Saturday we had two games, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Mixing the lines on Friday had given me a sense of everyone’s playing style, and my line combinations paid off; we played a close game and lost 4-3 with under a minute left. The afternoon game was a different story. The team we played was full of prep school players, some of which I had even played against in the past. There was no way that we could have stopped the onslaught of shots throughout the game. After the results, it was clear that we would be playing our last game at 7am the following morning.
I’m finding it harder and harder to keep my eyes open, because at the time I’m writing this, I’ve already been up for 13 hours. The early wake-up may have done the trick, because the girls played extremely well together and came back from 3-0 to tie the game 3-3.
I can honestly say that I am very proud of my girls for the way they came together this weekend. They were able to pick up on each others styles extremely quickly, and were able to find a way to put the puck in the back of the net. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’m a good coach yet…I’m honestly just trying my best to sound like I know what I’m doing. I’m starting to understand what I should be looking at during different points of the game, to find what makes a player stand out in my mind, and to see how the girls can play better than they are.
It’s tough for me to do all of this at once, and this weekend I was by myself on the bench, with no one to back me up, or to bounce ideas off of. In a way that’s a good thing because it makes me focus on the things I need to be looking out for. Hopefully I’m improving as a coach; I guess only time will tell.