The Pulse

Fortune teller or visionary? 

How can some people predict what’s going to happen in the game? 

That’s an easy answer they know how to gauge the pulse.

I can’t remember when my long-time coach and mentor had the discussion with us, but it was part of the process of being a player under his guidance and tutelage.  

The “little things” became a part of our psyche, part of our hockey playing DNA.

The “little things”made a massive impact on our knowledge of the game and clearly dictated how we conducted ourselves a certain way given the pulse of the game and our opponent. 

 Case in point when a game became “chippy” and the other team started “head hunting”we were taught the “tricks of the trade” in order keep ourselves safe and were always told to protect ourselves.  

He didn’t teach how to fight but we were told how to protect ourselves if we were forced into one.   

He also taught us what to expect when we were up in games by a large margin versus a team that wanted some type of retribution.   

We never ran up the score on anyone, but never backed down from playing the game the right way.   

It was stressed and reiterated from a young age to play with class no matter what and always keep your emotions in check.   

As I’ve written before when the game had a five-goal margin we were told not to celebrate goals and go straight to center ice for the face off.  

Our top lines would still play, but told to take very short shifts and in some cases we would gain puck possession and were told to gain the red line and dump it in and change.  

We started playing like were only up a gaol late in a close game rather than a blowout. 

If a penalty was assessed our top PP unit would not see the ice and in a lot of cases they wouldn’t see the ice for the final eight to ten minutes of the game while our other two lines would see the bulk of action.  

At the end of the game my mentor would always put the most emotionally centred and grounded players on the ice to ensure that calmer heads would prevail.   

During the waning moments of any game we were always told not to celebrate and never, I repeat never do anything “stupid”, like take a run at a player or taunt them in anyway. 

Knowing the pulse of the game and your team should be a coach’s strongest attribute. That trait becomes refined and perfected by experience.   

Nevertheless, a player’s emotions and decision-making during the latter stages of a heated game can never be fully guaranteed, but I assure you that player would never be put in that situation ever again based on their selfish reaction.  

Knowing the pulse of the game and your team is everything. 

Every coach and player for that matter should understand the importance of gauging the pulse. 

You see when players understand that aspect they become more than just players, they become students of the game. 

The next time you hear someone predicting something will happen in the game or period, they probably aren’t psychic or all knowing, they just know how to take a pulse of the game

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