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COACH ENIO: Develop Competitive Edge In Your Players

By Enio Sacilotto on November 04, 2011

By Enio Sacilotto /

Below are eight tips on how coaches can help their athletes be more competitive.

1. Give your athletes a definition on what it means to compete.

When an athlete competes, he or she is motivated to have the fighting spirit to surpass their opponent in terms of skill, knowledge and work ethic. To be more competitive, athletes must understand that they have to perform at their upper range of talent and skill no matter what the circumstances. In hockey, competitive situations are either races (for loose pucks or to get in on the forecheck) or battles (competing for a puck in the corner or competing to get the rebound and put the puck in the net).

2. Does your athlete have the right attitude?

Athletes have to first compete against themselves, to challenge themselves to be the best they can be, they must be prepared to push themselves beyond their comfort zone on a daily basis, with this attitude they will get better. Even thought this has to come from within the person, the coach must instruct the player what changes he needs to make.

3. Purposefulness – make your goals and expectations clear.

When athletes have a purpose and they begin to succeed, passion and desire is created for the player and his team to compete hard at all times. As well, the athlete will begin to develop the persistence and perseverance to put out the sustained effort necessary to wear the opponent down.

4. Teach athletes the necessary skills to be more competitive in games.

Hockey coaches tell their forwards that they must maintain possession of the puck in the corner or their defencemen must beat the forechecking pressure of an opponent. These are competitive situations, talking about them is not enough, the coach must instruct the forward how to protect the puck, and the defencemen how to perform an escape move.

5. Help athletes establish a high level of self-confidence.

This creates a high level of energy and an increased willingness to outmatch an opponent. A coach can assist a player in taking a personal inventory of all their strengths and again help them set personal goals.

6. Create a competitive culture at practise.

  • Make every drill a competition where players push each other past their comfort zones.
  • Keep track of points or ways of determining winners and post these results.
  • Put something at stake for the drill. Losers do extra sprints, extra push-ups, pick up pucks or play for Cokes...

7. Push the athlete, but at the same time, do not “break” the athlete.

Some athletes need an “in your face approach” while others need a calm approach where the coach reassures the athlete. Some are in between.

8. Game preparation – give a plan when entering competition.

The coach presents strength and weaknesses of the opponent along with the solutions on how to attack these strength and weaknesses.

Enio Sacilotto is an assistant Coach with the Victoria Royals and President of International Hockey Camps.

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By Enio Sacilotto| November 04, 2011
Categories:  Performance

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