What are the hockey game principals and how to select them for my team?

The principals of play for a hockey game are what defines how a team plays. It’s a repeated clear pattern, or patterns, that can be easily seen and which can easily define the style of play. A principal, where is in sports or in life, could be defined as a rule that governs our behaviour. For a team this could mean something that has become so natural for the style of play, that it is part of the profile of it.

A team can have different principals that will define its style, for instance, it can have certain rules for attacking, defending, build-up and so on.

Additionally, it can have different patterns that can contradict each other: for instance a team could have the knowledge on how to build up the game by making short and medium passes, as well as having a good style of play when it comes playing long passes. The more flexible and adaptable a team can be, the more resources a team will have.

what are the game principals in hockey

How can you set your game principals for your team?

This is a big question… should the coach, no matter what decide on how a team should play or are there other factors to weigh in? In my opinion, there is a lot to think about, for instance: Do I have the right players to play in a certain way? Finding the answers to these questions will help you to grow as a hockey coach.

If I have a team that is advance on the age average, should I introduce a very high physical principal or should I balance my team in order to save energy during a match?

Another thing to consider could be related to what did a team or club did in the past. Some clubs that rely heavily on playing in counter-attack style, might not like to all of the sudden make a shift to a more ball possession principal.

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How can introduce game principals in my team?

Well, I would say that having “classroom sessions” can really help players to understand what they are trying to accomplish. The use of video as a visual help is a very important tool that we must use for sure. But mainly, I would make sure that everything we do in training, meaning the drills that we use, is geared towards those objectives.

There has to be a logic and a rational pathway between theory – drills (practice) – execution (gameplay). This way, the players will jump to the field, knowing exactly what to expect and what to do ahead of time.

I hope that this short article was useful and interesting for you. If it helped you in your coaching, please share it with your fellow colleagues or teammates!

By Pablo Mendoza

Pablo Mendoza is an FIH Hockey Academy Educator and the owner of A Hockey World. Contact: pablo@ahockeyworld.net