“It’s really the sole avenue to growth,” said the Chicago Blackhawks’ director of player development.
He’s been a zealot since the mid-1970s, when he led Elmira College to ensuing NCAA Division II national tournaments as a twenty-something head coach. That’s when Hockey magazine inquired Smith, Jerry York and Murray Armstrong about using statistical analysis in player evaluation. All three cited situations during which they preferred it, but only Smith talked about practice.
His classic point out unearthed during the 2016 National Hockey Coaches Symposium, Smith quipped about being “pretty smart some time past ,” before snapping back to the extreme practitioner whose emphasis hasn’t changed much after four decades of coaching and 7 Stanley Cup championships.When Smith was teaching in Elmira, quantified portrayal in practice was a weekly instance, and he always kept it vying.
“You’d take a stopwatch and you’d say, ‘these 3 players need to get the puck over the blue line during a specific amount of your time ,’ and you’d keep track of it, and therefore the next group, by players being competitive, they need to crush the group, so you’ll have some fun with it,” said Smith.
Given a glance at USA Hockey’s Activity Tracker, a tool wont to quantify today’s youth hockey practices, Smith check out it and added his own flourish.In addition to a vigorous dose of off-ice training, Smith is additionally an enormous believer in small-area sports on the ice, but he’s quick to say that they need to be through with a selected purpose in mind for max benefit.
The critical need always, consistent with Smith, is to supply the high-quality practice necessary for young players to create a solid foundation of skills which will translate to higher-level hockey later. It’s not complicated, but it does require a stress on skill development at early ages.