12 March

Bench Coach – What I’m Thinking On Bout Day

So what do I think about most of all on game day? Simple answer is, what don’t I think about? Luckily I am involved in a team of very talented skaters who totally buy in to the ethos of this team, which in short saves me huge headaches. So what does that leave?

It leaves line ups, tactics, counteracting our opposition’s tactics, making captain’s meetings also three different team meetings and that’s before anyone has even tied their laces. So when the first whistle blows I think and react to what’s happening on the track, sounds obvious right? Well that process involves not only how my team are performing but also what we are not doing as well as I know we are capable of.

Points: I’m looking for continuity in point scoring and not just our points but the other team as well (can anyone see a pattern forming?) I also constantly relay instructions to the skaters on track and off track while being in constant conversation with my captain and vice captain about what we are seeing and what we can do about it. I’m also looking at my skaters’ body language and keeping everyone amped for the job ahead (probably the easiest job). I’m monitoring the game clock and the jam clock, do I need to run the jam a little longer? Do we need a time out? I’m in contact with the head ref, I question the things that I think are clearly wrong, but when I do it is done with the utmost respect for the officials, as they say, “attitude reflects leadership” and being courteous generally means you will receive courtesy in return. I’m monitoring the penalty board, do we have any hot skaters? Is there a pattern in the penalties we ate receiving? If so how can we break that pattern?

One thing is for sure, I love my job as bench coach and give everything every time, which is what I always ask and expect of my skaters. Sometimes I get caught in the moment and sometimes I may snap a little but if I wasn’t that charged I’d be seriously worried. So that’s the surface of what I think about on game day. All that and the party only last an hour.

Damian.