As a kid growing up I played competitive hockey from a young age. The term “hockey sense” was one I heard used by scouts and hockey people evaluating players often. Many hockey people would say you either have it or you don’t. It was like you had to be lucky enough to be born with it.
There is no scientific evidence of a “hockey sense” gene so it isn’t something you’re born with.
It’s my opinion that “hockey sense” is something that can be developed through excellent coaching and the right practice and development process.
My website is called think-less-play-faster.com and has been created to help young players develop “hockey sense” because it can be taught and coached. The hockey development process in my opinion has been too focused on drill coaching and there should be more coaching with our youth on how to play good offensive and defensive hockey.
Hockey sense is knowing what a player on the ice is suppose to be doing at every moment of a game whether the player has the puck or doesn’t have the puck in all three zones.
Hockey sense is about “KNOW YOUR ROLE”. The famous NFL Coach Bill Belichick would say situational play is the essence of being a complete player. Every player must know their roles and responsibilities based on the situation and have the skills to execute. It is no different in hockey. Belichick says “I can’t have you out there if you don’t know your role” because you’re a liability to the team. Well hockey is no different. As coaches we want to encourage creativity with players however there are tactical concepts and hockey fundamentals that must be taught to players as part of the development process. With the right practice and repetitions players develop read and react skills and are able to play faster because they are thinking less.
My hope is you believe “hockey sense” is learned. At think-less-play-faster hockey we support the teaching and coaching of hockey sense because you need to know your role to execute on the ice in every situation.
We have to tweak the coaching process a bit to get the right results. We need to spend more time off ice in the classroom (learning environment) teaching and coaching how we want the kids to play in all three zones with and without the puck. The coaches would benefit from the use of technology in the process through the use of video, play animation software, mirroring and other tools. We believe one on one coaching sessions with young players with the use of game video is an effective way of teaching and coaching positional play and developing hockey sense.
A player who has hockey sense can read and react better and be able to think less and play faster hockey. We need to teach and coach the tactical “pressure” game in youth hockey because that is how hockey is played at the junior, college/university and professional levels.
Hockey Sense = Learned Behaviours
USA Hockey Article link on Hockey Sense is a good read: http://bit.ly/2aBrG8P