Training or the art of dispatch

With Marie-Philippe Boleyn appointed as a consultant on Tuesday, Canadians now have four people in the player development department. That’s two more since the changing of the guard at the helm of hockey operations in November 2021.

Before general manager Mark Bergiveen made way for Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, this bag was reserved for former NHL players Rob Ramage and Frances Boalon. In addition to Pauline, Adam Nicholas – who has never played professionally – was appointed director of hockey development in March.

Browsing the organizational charts of the various NHL organizations, you can see that the player development departments are the prerogative of veterans whose names may not hold secrets to the fans who have devoured the NHL sportsbook. Tuesday’s edition of their favorite daily. However, their work remains relatively obscure.

Isn’t the role of the coach and his assistants to teach the players the art of behaving with or without a puck? In his autobiography, Jean Peron in particular said that his assistant Jacques Laperere could spend hours explaining to the defenders what kind of decision should be made according to the outcome as well as the time that had to pass in the meeting.

“The way hockey is trained today, the head coach and his assistants have to spend a lot of time on strategy, confrontation, power play and power games,” said the former general manager and head coach of Voltigeurs de Drummondville. Now a development consultant in CAA Hockey Dominic Ricard.

“The coaching staff is really called to grow because of everything that is being added before, during and after the match. Everyone has noticed that players end up with a tablet when they come back to the bench. There is so much more to deal with.”

And the hectic pace of hockey seasons leaves little room for teaching and learning. Between matches, practices, treatments, and travel, it has become almost impossible to separate a player to help him fine-tune his playing style.

“The best time of the year to work on developing a player is the off-season,” says Rijkaard. In July and August, players were able to increase their physical preparation, as well as their tactics. This is what can make the difference between playing in the NHL or the American Hockey League. At this level, it is only about the details.

“It is no coincidence that agencies like the ones I represent run camps and employ skill or coaches. Every player has a meeting with his team at the end of the season and then has goals to achieve during the summer. Players’ jobs are like theirs, and they invest to acquire skills.”

Skill development is nothing new and even professional hockey teams seem to be lagging behind in this area. However, they still have an interest in spending in this aspect, because the return on investment can be very significant.

“Collective success is an add-on to individual performance,” says Ricard. The better the players individually, the more the team will benefit later. If the player works on individual tactical elements such as creating space in the corner of the rink, marking and working in front of the net, then everyone will benefit. »

As mentioned earlier, positions in the player development department are often filled by graduates. Although not all players become good coaches, they do get off to a strong start with coaches. The reason is simple: they have enormous credibility in the eyes of those they spoke to.

“When Martin St. Louis spoke to Cole Caufield and explained to him how to fake before he played the powerhouse, the young man knows that his coach was already wearing his boots and that he went through such a situation. However, the former player can’t just say that he played Game.

“Being a coach is first and foremost the art of imparting knowledge and getting things done.”

No one can predict what kind of coach Marie-Philippe Boleyn will become, but she has already announced her colors by saying that she is looking forward to working with Canadian prospects in order to teach them things and learn things herself. their side. His years with the national team taught him to listen and watch well before he dared to stand up.



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