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COACH ENIO: Tips For Pre-Game Prep

By Enio Sacilotto on November 18, 2011

By Enio Sacilotto /

At the minor levels we cannot expect our players to be ready for all games as young players may not even be aware of what it takes to be ready for a game. Here are nine tips that teach players to be ready for game time:

1) Pre-game preparation begins at practice, specially the practice before the game. Players must work hard and perform skills and drills at high speed. Coaches must design practice sessions so their team trains above their comfort level.

2) Young athletes must be taught that school is the most important activity that they are involved in; yes, even more important than hockey! Players have to be encouraged to work hard in school and make sure they have all their homework up-to-date so they can focus on the game.

3) Rest! Players need lots of rest. Young players need between eight and 10 hours sleep per night. Players will not be ready to play if they stay up late!

4) Game-day nutrition. Eat a well-balanced meal, loading-up on the carbohydrates and avoiding junk food. Ideally, eat three to four hours before the game. Players do not want to be full at game time. Athletes need to drink lots of water and make sure they are hydrated.

5) Get focused early in the day. Players need to start thinking about what they will do in the game and how they can contribute to the success of the team. I like the players to focus on the maximum of three things they need to focus on for the game.

6) Players must come to the rink with a positive attitude and be prepared to encourage teammates and, at the same time, respect each other’s routines. Some players like to be alone and some players like to be around their teammates and cheering each other on.

7) Develop a pre-game routine, players must be taught to consider things such as equipment check, physical preparation, listening to music, etc.

8) Pre-game meeting. In a minor hockey setting this can be done when the players get to the arena, 45 or 30 minutes before the game. Give your players the line-up and the game plan. Make this brief and to the point.

9) Lastly, coaches must include some time for their players to focus mentally. I like for the music to be off, and for the players to use visualization techniques to review the game plan using the mind’s eye and for the players to review three goals for the game.

Enio Sacilotto is president of International Hockey Camps and assistant coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals. If you have any questions on this article or any other coaching questions or to find out more about our hockey camp programs, private lessons or for me to come and speak to your group, contact me at 604 255 4747, email or visit my website,

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By Enio Sacilotto| November 18, 2011
Categories:  Performance

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