Shannon Miller gets into the season of giving by explaining the gift of scoring and of excellence
Hockey Talk, presented by Shannon Miller, is sponsored by Instat
Podcast length: 21′ 29″
Shannon’s gift to you this holiday season is all about the gift of scoring and of excellence. How do we nail that goal and become consistent as a player? Shannon encourages you to take pride in having the most powerful offense possible. This approach makes it more enjoyable for the players to play, creates more scoring chances, which makes the game more entertaining and fun, and obviously scoring more goals and wins more games. In today’s game the players are faster and more skilled. As coaches we need to work on individual offensive skill development, tactical skill development and team offense. Some examples of individual skill development to improve offensive skills are quick release shooting, one timers, escapes, squaring for the puck when attacking rebounds. Some examples of tactical skill development are delays – hit the second wave, initiate the cycle, let double drive go through and skate lateral with the puck and shoot with traffic going to the net. Shannon also explains the formula for creating your own excellence. There is a simple philosophy called “between the lines” – the starting line and the finish line. In between these two lines is a space, a blank canvas, and a mystery to be solved. This space is an opportunity to create and invent – to create what does not yet exist – to become who we not yet are. Each day is fresh and new, and an opportunity to build on what we have already done. An opportunity to start over if you need to or want to. We can create a new practice, rid of an old bad habit and start a new positive habit. We can begin an adventure in pursuit of excellence.
The Drill of the Week is on Shannon’s Facebook page @coachshannonmiller
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Since we are in the Christmas season, I’m going to talk about the gift of scoring. Before we get to the “how to”, let’s start w what opposes scoring, and start with goaltenders – goaltenders are bigger today – they are also better all round athletes and therefore better goaltenders. Another aspect of the game that opposes scoring is that teams are better defensively today as well. Coaching is better – and many coaches teach defense first.
The potential result of these factors could be fewer direct attacks, fewer in zone opportunities to attack the net, and that coupled with better goal tending, potentially creates fewer goals. Fewer goals leads to less excitement and entertainment in a game as well as the obvious – fewer wins.
So, while I do encourage coaches to be strong defensively, I also strongly encourage coaches to give extra special attention to becoming more powerful offensively. Take pride in having the most powerful offense possible. This approach makes it more enjoyable for the players to play, creates more scoring chances, which makes the game more entertaining and fun, and obviously scoring more goals wins more games.
In today’s game the players are faster and more skilled. As coaches we need to work on individual offensive skill development, tactical skill development and team offense. Some examples of individual skill development to improve offensive skills are quick release shooting, one timers, escapes, squaring for the puck when attacking rebounds. Some examples of tactical skill development are delays – hit the second wave, initiate the cycle, let double drive go through and skate lateral w puck and shoot w traffic going to the net. Some examples of offensive team play are working on OZ entry, scoring on the direct attack, attacking off the cycle, and simply going low to high w the puck, D1 sprinting w puck, D2 hinges, and net front presence with screens and rebounders.
During practice, make sure your players finish the play. Square for rebounds on the direct attack and be prepared to stop at the net – hunt a rebound if it gets away from you – move it quickly to close support and attack quickly if a seam to attack is there. If there is no seam to attack, players can move the puck low to high versus a collapsing DZ, or simply carry the puck and do an escape to separate from pressure.
Teach your team how to play around the net and from behind the net. In tight plays require close support for each other. Create 2 v 1’s in tight and move the puck quickly. Give and go’s in tight around the net, out of corners and off walls, create offensive pressure and scoring chances. Pressure the defenders with quick support and puck movement. Keep the defenders chasing the puck and reacting to what you do, versus anticipating what you’re going to do. Allow your players to be creative around the net and play from behind the net. Players do take overs (exchanges) all over the ice – doing them behind the net is a good tactic – it makes the goalie a bit uncomfortable and guessing what side the puck will come out on.
Take overs/exchanges can cause slight confusion and hesitation for the defenders, which gives the offensive team a second or two to capitalize on that. Players can also simply put the puck off the goalie pads “soft” to create rebounds from any angle. Bad angle shots have the element of surprise in their favor – net front players always be ready. Net front players – sticks on the ice, expect a pass off the pads, a rebound off a shot from anywhere – hunt the puck. In close rebounds go up under the cross bar!
Excellence: Mediocrity vs Excellence
We must be prepared to get uncomfortable to get past mediocrity. The opposite of mediocrity is excellence. We want to stand out and succeed, but we need to buckle up because Mediocrity hates Excellence.
Excellence is not random, it’s a choice and it is accomplished by design. Innovate and be different because following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
We build success on resilience and courage, and we absolutely must get comfortable being uncomfortable. We must be prepared to be vulnerable. WE must ask ourselves what we are willing to do to get to where we want to be.
It’s imperative to begin with a positive mindset, positive language, and positive messaging. It’s important to align w people and expectations that meet OUR standards. We must trust our instincts as they are one of our precious resources – even our cells have instincts. Our instinct has a rhythm. Find it, feel it and go with it. And when you find yourself on the wrong path – and your instincts are alarming you – take a time out – a step back – pause – re-think what your doing – if you want greatness and your receiving less, get off that path and get on the right one for you. We don’t want to lower our standards, be someone we are not or have regrets. New opportunities call us to birth greatness rather than seek shelter in mediocrity. And please don’t be afraid of the solitude that comes with high standards. Eagles soar high and often alone.
IF you find yourself surrounded by mediocrity and you want greatness, summons up the courage to forge a new path.
Great quote – “I wish, I wish, I wish….You’ve got a Wishbone where your Backbone needs to be.”
Expectations and Accountability – Part of striving for EXCELLENCE is having high expectations and accountability.
- early in the season, I lay out my version of high expectations for the team and what accountability means
- I try to make it as clear as possible
- I then have the team do a written exercise on high expectations and accountability – to reinforce what we, the coaches, are teaching, but also to get their view on it – their input – and it gives the coaches good insight into each athlete.
- Valuable gift to the team and quality exercise if everyone takes it seriously.
- We try to create an attitude of “We will take this journey with you.”
**To show an example: read a portion of one players response
SIDE BAR – brief summary of the Giraffe & Turtle parable – full parable in Season 1, Episode 5
With their long necks Giraffes stand tall, have a strong clear vision with a great view and they live their life at that level.
Now, Giraffe’s operate in the same space as the turtle. The turtle, as cute as it may be, cannot see above the grass. The turtle eats at it’s own level, lives at it’s own level, and that’s all it can see and all that it knows. The turtle creates its perspective from that level. The Giraffe creates its own perspective from a higher level with a better view. So as a Giraffe, don’t let the attitudes and behaviors of the turtles bring you down.
Now to continue on the thread of Excellence –
There is a simple philosophy called “between the lines” – the starting line and the finish line. In between these two lines is a space, a blank canvas, and a mystery to be solved. This space is an opportunity to create and invent – to create what does not yet exist – to become who we not yet are. Each day is fresh and new, and an opportunity to build on what we have already done. An opportunity to start over if you need to or want to. We can create a new practice, rid of an old bad habit and start a new positive habit. We can begin an adventure…..
There is a beginning and an end, but we can move these lines to create space for just one day, one week, a month, a year, or a lifetime.
A beginning line and a finish line.
It’s our space, so it’s our story, and our documentary.
How do I become my best self?
My mind is naturally curious – I read, meditate, often take notes and do a lot of research. When I make my best decisions, do my best work and feel my best self, it’s when I trust my own instincts. The drive to do what your good at is “instinct”. Your instinct will draw you to the unique expression of your gifts.
Destiny pulls us beyond the familiar toward our future.
Nothing outside of you can make you who you are. It’s already in you.
Deep in your gut you know there is more you can get out of life.
I’ve had to do some fighting. I’ve fought to keep standing up when life tried to knock me down. I’ve fought haters and instigators, liars and betrayers. Every fight was worth it.
I really work at striking a balance between being a Peace Maker and a Warrior. At different times in our lives one will be more dominant because of the circumstances we find ourselves in…but they are both always there.
They say that the mighty oak tree, which can grow up to eighty feet tall and a hundred feet wide, is nothing but a nut that refused to give up it’s ground.
The acorn that rarely gets larger than two inches tall, has the capacity to grow to nearly a thousand times it’s size!
People who are determined to pursue Destiny sometimes look crazy to other people – they don’t get it – so don’t worry about them. Pursue your own destiny and trust the gift of your instincts.
When you align yourself w people who inspire you and help draw out the best in you, you find your best self.
I hope we will all look back over our hardships and respect the people we were along the way. The journey is long and we will all be tested.
Butterfly – everything in your life is there as a vehicle for your transformation. Use it. (Ram Dass)
Vision is the ability to see beyond our present reality, to create, to invent what does not yet exist. To become who we not yet are.
Good questions to ask ourselves as we strive to become our BEST SELF –
What makes us feel alive? What gives us our juice?
We all need to figure it out, and whatever it is, let’s do more of that! 🙂
Let’s make “that” a big part of our personal story.