I hate losing. I think it’s apparent from my psyche and the way I react to a defeat, especially if we lose in a way that is humiliating or where we did not put up a fight. People who I’ve played with, or coached in the past know that I live and breathe the game and I can’t stand lacklustre attitudes, or if some one is playing like they’re in gumdrop land. Yes I do throw, what you may call, tantrums but I do it only because I care and because I want to play with intensity and show the fire I’ve got towards the game every time I’m on the ice.
So with that prologue in mind, we lost quite badly and embarrassingly at the weekend. In what seemed like a game we could win with ease, I feel lacked some core fundamentals, both in the way we executed and on a spiritual level as well.
I think there are three core competences that each hockey player or a team needs.
- Confidence is key to everything. If you are not a confident player, chances are you are over thinking the game and plays. Every time you have to start thinking about plays or your responsibilities on the ice you will crumble and ruin the whole system you are playing. Not only that, but if you have no confidence, you are likely to lose board battles, lose loose pucks and your whole being just exudes fear and lack of belief.
- Sense of deserving: Players and teams who have a sense of deserving have a chance to win every night. They feel that they deserve to win, they deserve the puck. On an individual level, players feel like they deserve to score and will take the shots on net. They think with the mentality that ‘that is my puck, you are not going to get it away from me, until you dig it out of your net.’
- Pride: Without pride, what would you have? Or better yet, why would you turn up to training? If you don’t have pride in what you do and you don’t have the occasional explosion of anger, even if against your own team mate, you really should be looking to change your skates for something else. Pride means everything. Players should feel honoured to wear a jersey of their team. They should feel pride in the fact that they are able to compete in hockey, but most of all, they should be proud to be part of a family, their team.
So whit those three things in mind, what did we present on Friday? I think lack of confidence. We hardly took any shots and to me, that has always been a sign of an unconfident team. I often ponder why people don’t shoot and play a straight forward game, but it is all down to confidence. When you have a clear lane for a shot and you choose to pass, it tells me and your team mates that you have no confidence in your own ability, you’re moving responsibility because you feel that you don’t deserve to score. That is, in essence what our whole team was. 17 players (with a few exceptions) who were unconfident, had no sense of deserving and little or no pride to display.
As I’m still trying to get over the fact that we had a horrible game and we lost, I have to acknowledge that it was only a pre-season friendly and we have time to weed out the problems we had. On a personal note, I need to speak to the coach as well and make sure he understands my point of view of the game and that we address the attitude problems that are evident with some of the players on the team.