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Pre-match routine | Coaching Adults

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  • pickeringr05

    Afternoon all!

    I`m experiencing a little difficulty at present in getting my team to start a game from the first whistle! It`s really frustrating for both myself and the players, we`ve tried different levels of warm up from quite relaxed, focusing on mindset rather than physical exertion through to lots of intensity to try to build adrenalin. I`ve tried all sorts of different talks from looking at how well we`ve prepared in training through to questioning do they want to win and how badly etc etc.


    Presently I`m at a bit of a loss on the way forward. It`s been a difficult season so far with lots of changes in personnel on and off the field and results have reflected that and certainly confidence isn`t at its best. However the players seem to believe in the processes we are taking and are open to different ideas. They honestly can`t work out the best for all in terms of their preparation before a game.


    Any ideas would be most welcome!

  • HockeyCoachSJE


    it sounds rather obvious but have you sat them down and asked them what they want? Sometimes it is necessary to have what I like to call an honesty session and let everyone air their thoughts in a non judgemental arena. Then perhaps identify a couple of leaders in the group and give the task to them to organise the pre game activity, give them a feeling of ownership. Just a thought :-)

  • BillB

    Hi Ron

    i have had a similar experience this season with our team, lot of new players and some key players over the last 2 seasons have left.

    We worked out that the warm up routine had to be about us and it had to be disciplined. All players are asked to meet at a certain time before the game and use that time to socialise, and get changed for the game. All players are allowed 10 mins to do any individual prep then our warm up normally lasts 25 mins.

    The key factor in the change in results came about once we settled on this routine and discussed the importance on making sure we get off to a good start in games. It is not perfect yet, as with all new team dynamics it takes time for the players to find their roles in the team and the pecking order.

    Hope this is useful?

  • BillB

    Sorry Roger not Ron laughing

  • pickeringr05

    Thanks for the replies both Bill and Stephen.

    ive spent some time with all of the players examining what we think is the cause of us starting badly. We've mulled over our warm ups and how we look at the routine in a different way. So far it's proved fruitless! It could be that we are in transition as a club, I took over this season and the players are still getting used to my philosophy and ways. They like them but some of the players saw my way (I like to give the players a voice with all of the decisions) as a chance to dominate things and it did make things negative for a period. I feel that they are starting to enjoy it now and are far more respective and constructive with each other, but it's taken a while! This could have impacted on confidence and it may simply be that rather than the pre match stuff isn't the issue its the overall picture. 

  • LawrieOK

    Hey Roger - My take on your problem, and even the responses you have had, is that you are perhaps focusing on the wrong element. It certainly seems that you are totally on top of the pre-game elements, but I would question your Team's understanding of, and therefore planning for, the first 5 or six phases of the game.

    If you have the first ball, what is 'the plan'? If the Oppo have the first ball, what is 'the plan'? Perhaps the Team is simply going through the motions in the opening phases, until they get into game-mode, seen the strength of the Oppo, seen the tactics of the Oppo, and only then get themselves up for the contest.

    ALL Teams I have taken over have little or no idea of what they intend to do in the opening phases of their games. My sport is hockey - the ball is usually played 'back' to ano player at the start whistle, but often that receiver has no idea/plan of what they are going to do with the ball. Ditto if the Oppo have the first pushback, the nearest player rushes to tackle the receiver but has no idea/plan if they win the ball, nor what they will do if they are eliminated.

    Once I have the Team consider this aspect, and we devise suitable strategies & tactics, they usually have more purpose earlier in the contest.

    Hope this helps.

  • pickeringr05

    Hi Lawrie

    Thanks for your considered reply and extremely useful it proved! I took all of the replies into account and this week looked at giving the players more ownership of the warm up. I chipped in every now and again with my thoughts on what the game potentially could look like, especially in the opening section. We looked at playing with lots of thought in the first few minutes and not giving the ball away cheaply. We spoke about not allowing the game to just happen but to try to influence proceedings far more, again particularly in the first 10 minutes. This meant that we were far more structured and the players looked as though they were enjoying the game far more. 

    Still lots to work on but we came away with a victory!

  • LawrieOK


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