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  1. Linda says:

    What do you have to say about running up the score in a hockey game against a weak opponent?

    • Dean Holden says:


      Thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoy the site!

      You posted this comment under the “Teaching Players to Play with Class” article, so I presume you have had some experience with this. I have been on both sides of the equation (three weeks ago, our Atom team won 9-1; last week we lost 11-2!) and neither is fun… but a good coach on either side will take advantage of this scenario and use it to its greatest benefit for his respective team.

      I don’t know your specific situation / age or level of players, but here are my generic beliefs:

      I am a strong believer in competition. So long as the two teams are playing at the same age level / skill category, I would encourage those players to play hard the entire game… no mercy as it develops bad habits on behalf of the team who is winning; and it disrespects the other team if you let up on them. (Please read any books by Jim Thompson for more clarification – one link is below):

      Obviously, one doesn’t need to over-celebrate goals or taunt the losing team, and the coaches / players shouldn’t use disrespectful body language – it comes down to playing hard, but staying professional (demonstrate respect to the spirit of the game, the rules and the opponent.)

      The dominant team can and should turn this situation into a learning challenge if they indeed want to play and win with class. I would encourage the winning coach to find ways to challenge his team – make it harder for his team to score.

      For example, play people in unfamiliar positions (by position and / or shot.) Add challenging parameters such as requiring each person to touch the puck once before your team can shoot; require your team to only shoot off the pass (one-timers); require your team to deke, no shots; specify that the scoring play has to originate from behind their net (Gretzky’s office) or it has to come from a point shot, play from the half-wall, etc.

      What other parameters can you think of that will challenge the dominant team?

      The losing team should look for teachable moments for Life Lessons (stay standing with your teammates on the bench – don’t ‘hide’; look for positive plays on both sides and only make positive comments to your teammates, etc.); set small, realistic goals that aren’t measured in goals for or against, “How many consecutive passes can we make?” “How many give and go’s can we achieve?” “How many passes can we intercept?”

      What other ways can you look to teach Life Lessons or small measurable goals for the losing team?



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