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Thread: Coaching Tip # 80 - Player Placement

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    IHF Member Headcoach's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Scottsdale, Arizona

    Coaching Tip # 80 - Player Placement

    Ok, so we talked about evaluation and the selection process. Now that we have all of the players on the teams, each coach will have a his choice of moving or placing kids within the team to make up his lines.

    Now, each coach has his own way of doing this. However, there are a LOT of coaches that just don't know how to do this, so this tip is for you.

    The first thing you want to do is ask all the players...which kids played together last year on another team? If you have several kids that played together, this is like striking gold!

    It generally takes about about 4 month for kids to gel with each other on a line. If you have kids that have played together in the past, you are way ahead of the coaching game.

    Lets say you have 5 kids that have all played on the same team last year. Three forwards and two defensemen.

    The next thing is to see which kids played on the same line. If they did...keep them together, DO NOT BREAK THEM UP!

    However, there might be a chance that they were on the same team, but maybe two kids played on the same line and the rest didn't. So keep any many kids together as possible.

    So, let start placing kids on lines. The first thing you want to do is ask all of the kids..."Who plays defense?" If you are lucky you will have 4 defensemen that have played in the past and hopefully two of them played together last year. If so, place them as first line defense.

    Them fill the second line. If you have two defensemen that did not play together and are ok, with backward skating, pair them together. If they can't skate backwards, replace them with two good forwards and have the defensemen move up to wing. Chances are really good that if they played defense in the past, they are pretty good skaters.

    Defense is where you want your best skaters. They have to have the speed and ability to turn and pivot on a split second. They have to read and react to body language...not puck language.

    Once you have your defensive team set, start on the forward lines. Place the two kids that played together on the first line. Now, if the first two have a rating of 5 and a 4, that means that this line has a current strength of 9 points.

    Then add players totaling 9 points to line 2 and line 3. Once you have all of the lines equaled out, then you need to add the last player on each line to round off the trio. You might have to move several players around to equal out the strength of each line. But don't seperate the two players that have played together in the past.

    Now, once you have all the players on the forward lines, it should look some like this...

    Line 1: 5,4,3 = 12
    Line 2: 5,3,4 = 12
    Line 3: 5,3,4 = 12

    Never place all of the best players on one line. Make sure that each line as a producer ( Level 5).
    This player needs to be taught how to be a play maker.

    Line position is not a factor here! Every year, I hear parents come and complain to me..."Why isn't my son on the first line!"

    I explain that all lines are equal and line positioning doesn't matter. Why? If you over load the lines, some with better players and other lines with weak players, several things happen.

    First, the other team's coach will read this and place his strong line when your weak line is don't do it.

    The other factor is, if you place weak players together, it gives you a sorry excuse not to play them and make them sit the bench. This sucks!

    Now, when it comes to special teams (Example: Power Play Teams or Short Handed Teams) you then can pull all of the 5's together for Special Team line 1 and all of the 4's together for Special Teams line 2.

    Now, make sure that you have these Special team set before you get on the ice. DO NOT do this on the bench at the last minute. Special teams should be set at the beginning of the season.

    Special team should be treated as a reward for having great skills. This will force the other kids to buff up their skills in order to make those special teams.

    Hope this helps, if you have any questions...PM me.

    Head coach
    Last edited by Headcoach; 04-04-2009 at 00:06.
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