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Want Your Coach To Play You More? (Apply The Ice Time Formula)

Hockey Player, I see you.

I understand what you want.

You crave more than just being a good practice player.

You desire that hard-earned ice time that everyone on your team wants.

You want to see your name lighting up the scoreboard, to feel the rush of adrenaline as you score goal after goal next season.

You want the world to sit up and take notice of you - the scouts, the coaches, even the girls in the stands.

You want to dictate the rhythm of the game, set the pace and control the narrative.

But there's a problem - you're not getting the ice time you need to produce, are you?

Why is that?

Why do some players always get more time on the ice while others are left longing for more?

The answers might seem obvious:

Some players are simply better.

Politics also plays a role, with the coach showing favouritism.

Poor coaching decisions might be to blame as well.

It's easy to focus on the latter two and feel victimized and fall into the political trap of the game.

But let me tell you something - that's a dead-end road.

Cursing the clouds won't clear the sky.

Sulking about bad coaching won't improve your game.

So, let's shift gears.

Let's focus on what we can control.

The Power of Shifting Your Focus

Power comes from focusing on the things we can control.

Something we can control is becoming better.

Everyone has heard this before, but no one has fully broken this down in any meaningful way (that I know of).

It always bugged me that I couldn't figure out what would get me more ice time.

Of course, I tried to be better at my skills, that's what everyone does.

But ice time doesn't just go up because someone is a better skater, shooter, passer, etc. 

Lots of players with high skill don't get a ton of ice time.

I have worked with several clients dealing with this.

To help these players, I created a more clear way for a player to understand what coaches want.

I figured out a value equation that helps players get clear about why their coach doesn't play them.

It also will explain what you can do to actually get more ice time.

Thinking Like a Coach

Getting more ice time requires you to think like your coach. 

You must understand coaching psychology.

Hockey coaches have dreams and desires, just like you.

Some coaches want to develop players.

But every coach wants to win.

This is usually how their success is measured.

They want to win games and championships.

So coaches want players who can help them do that. 

Pretty simple so far right haha.

Don't Just Be Better

Most players, when they hear they need to help their team win, they think I just need to be 'better'.

Put simply yes, you need to be better.

But there is more to it. 

Most people think 'better player = more skilled player'.

Being more skilled doesn't necessarily help your team win.

Learning to play a role that your team needs will help your team win.

A role simply playing a part in a system.

Every player can't play every role.

For example an offensive forward can't also be a defensive defenseman at the same time

If you help a coach win by playing a role, you are providing more value to your coach.

So instead of being 'better' you want to be 'valuable'.

And to be valuable you want to master a role.

Value > Better

It makes a lot more sense to focus on value considering there is an award called the most valuable player (not BEST player).

Value to a team matters a lot more than simply being the most skilled.

We all know many skilled players who don’t contribute well to the team.

You might be a guy who can score 50 goals a year, but if you already have several goal scorers, then you would be far more valuable being a better 2-way player who finishes off the year plus 50.

This is what NHLers realize when they move up too.

They go from being a big goal scorer to a normal player.

Mentally this is hard for them.

But the great players learn to adapt.

They learn to become valuable to their coach in other ways. 

I will now show you an equation to help you understand what it takes to create value for your coach.

The Coaches Value Equation For Ice Time

Whether coaches know it or not, this is basically how they judge a player's value.

And as much as we want to look at stat sheets, value in hockey isn't just about scoring goals or getting points 

It certainly can be a major part of some players' roles, but if every player has this role, your team will struggle.

For you, it's ultimately it’s about your unique contribution to the team.

It’s about what you bring to the table to help the team win.

Here is an equation that explains it perfectly from your coach's perspective:

(from 100 Million Dollar Offers by Alex Hormozi)

This was originally from a business book, but it translates perfectly to hockey. 

Let’s break this down.

Ice Time = (Dream Outcome x Likelihood of Achievement) / (Time Delay x Effort & Sacrifice)

So, here is what a coach typically wants:

  1. A player who can contribute significantly to the team's dream outcome

  2. Has a high likelihood of contributing consistently

  3. Can contribute immediately

  4. Requires relatively little investment in terms of effort and sacrifice

This is excluding players that a coach plans to develop for several years. 

But ultimately, a player who checks all four of these boxes will usually receive a ton of ice time in return for his/her value. 

If you can understand this equation deeply as a hockey player, you will get an insane amount of minutes each game.

Let's dig deeper into each component. 

First, let's focus on the top of the equation:

Dream Outcome x Likelihood of achievement 

1. Dream Outcome

This is the coach's ultimate goal for the team. It could be winning a championship, improving the team's ranking, or developing a well-rounded team. 

SOLUTION: Be a High Contributor 

This means you help your team win. 

Most players get caught up in thinking that all these means simply scoring goals.

There are so many other ways to contribute:

  1. Hitting and physical play

  2. Puck possession

  3. High-pressure play

  4. Great defensive play

  5. Pestering and throwing other teams off of their game

  6. Creating high energy for the team

Expand your mind, expand your identity, and find ways you can contribute. 

2. Likelihood of Achievement

This is the probability of the player contributing to the dream outcome from game to game. It's influenced by the player's skill level, their unique Hockey Identity, their commitment to the team, and their potential for improvement.

SOLUTION: Be Consistent

This is where consistency comes in. 

Consistency means doing the same thing every time, or most time.

If a coach can trust you to always play a certain way, you will be far more valuable than another player who is very inconsistent.

This stability will give them the confidence to put you on the ice more.

To become more consistent:

1. Meditate Daily

  • to build focus and be able to enter a flow state consistently (you never play well outside of some sort of flow state) FREE MEDITATION SESSION

2. Visualize consistently

3. Build Routines

  • Build morning routine, night routine, game day routine, pregame routine, post-game routine, etc.

  • This will mean your preparation stays consistent.

4. Have an effective training/bulletproofing system

  • That reduces the risk of injury

  • Less injury means you can play more and better 

  • The system should also have speed, strength, agility, explosiveness, cardio, and development to increase performance

Now let's focus on the bottom of the equation:

Time Delay x Effort & Sacrifice

1. Time Delay: 

This is the time it will take for the player to reach their peak performance level. A player who can contribute immediately may be more valuable than one who needs significant development time.

SOLUTION: Have a Full Training System

This comes from systematic preparation.

In order to come in ready to contribute right away you want to:

  1. Be clear on your hockey Identity (what you CAN do)

  2. Be clear on your immediate team role (what outcomes your coach needs you to accomplish

  3. Prepare your mind (prepare your mindset for this role, prepare your emotions & confidence for this role, prepare your IQ & decision-making for this role

  4. Prepare your physical body for this role (speed, strength, agility, explosiveness, cardio, injury prevention)

The key to knowing your role -> sit down and have a full conversation with your coach.

Ask your coach:

  1. What does he/she think your strengths are?

  2. What does he/she think your weaknesses are?

  3. What role do they see you playing?

  4. What other roles should you prepare for?

  5. What players you should study

Then adapt your plan accordingly by studying other players who have that role in your league or other leagues.

Also make sure you talk this over with your development coach and make sure your training system (mind, body, skill) all aligns with this new role.

Focus on contributing right away by mastering your role in games.

Do this for long enough, and your coach will have little choice but to play you more.

Then you can expand on your role with the expanded ice time

For example, you may be a shutdown defenseman, but earn more time to play offensively.

This is why you must continue to expand your ability (Identity) beyond the role so you can handle new opportunities if they become present. 

“Know your role, expand your identity” - Darryl Belfry

2. Effort & Sacrifice: 

This is the amount of resources the team (coach) must invest in the player to help them reach their potential. It includes coaching time, training resources, and potentially even financial investment. A player who requires little time and energy will be more valuable to a coach

SOLUTION: Come To The Rink Ready

This basically means: be easy to coach.

Coaches will always prefer a player who is easier to coach because they have a full team of players to deal with.

They don’t want to have to constantly explain the basics to you.

If they can tell you something one time and you figure it out, that’s huge value.

(Keep in mind this doesn’t mean you pretend like you know what’s going on because your coach will see through this eventually and it will not lead to good things)

Being easy to coach comes from having high-quality preparation.

Coaches don’t care if it’s natural, or if you have 8 personal trainers. 

They just want you to be READY OUT OF THE PACKAGE instead of ASSEMBLY REQURED.

Nobody wants an Ikea player (who requires hours of teaching just to get them up to speed) when they can have a fully assembled player who is charged and ready to go like an iPhone.

Be an iPhone player haha.

So that means you invest in your game away from the rink.

It means doing skills stuff, working with skills coaches, development coaches, strength coaches, IQ coaches, etc. 

To be easy to coach I highly recommend you have a development coach at a minimum (If you don’t have one I recommend you work with me in the Next Level Accelerator)

It means constantly learning and obsessing over your craft. 

Show up to the rink every day ready and prepared.

It means showing up to training camp better than you were last season.

That’s what all coaches love.

Be Valuable My Friend

So this all combined will make you a far more valuable player to your team and to your coach.

That’s why I believe that the best way to get what you want in the sport is to figure out what your team and coach need and provide your best Unique version of that. 

It’s time for you take to make the investment in your game and start developing your unique player Identity.

Start having those conversations with your coach, and start preparing for your role.

This is how the great players separate themselves from the pack.

This is how YOU will separate yourself from the pack

  • Corson


Players if you find this valuable -> send the link to your coaches so they can share it with your team

Coaches if you think this would help your players understand how to provide value -> send the link to your players

Some other resources you might enjoy:

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Who is Corson Searles?

I am a former player & mental/performance advisor for AAA, junior, college, and pro hockey players. I am obsessed with dissecting atheletic performance potential, lifestyle design, and hockey development.


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