As a hockey player and coach for several years, Wayne Blazejczyk is consistently asked about multiple facets of the game. For example, one frequent question he is asked by new and old players alike is how they can be a better teammate and lead their fellow players to success. After all, hockey is a team sport, and the winners are decided by who can work as fluidly as a team as often as it is decided by which team contains the most talented players. Wayne Blazejczyk acknowledges that several players have felt as though their teamwork skills have suffered in the time since COVID-19 came into play and wish to improve for the sake of competition and comradery. Here, he explains a few simple ways that both new and experienced player can be better teammates.
While fundamentals are often harped upon by coaches, Wayne Blazejczyk notes that they truly are a fast way to become a better teammate. They are not flashy, but they are extremely substantive. To this point, even the most experienced players out there can always find ways to improve their game by elevating their knowledge of fundamental skills. Ball control and accurate passing are a couple of the first skills new players learn, but these simple skills decide games even in the upper echelons of the sport. Players will certainly be better teammates if they can consistently make passes to their teammates accurately and can limit the amount of times opponents can strip the ball from their possession.
Communication is another commonly thrown around word in the realm of field hockey, according to Wayne Blazejczyk. Again, this is because communication skills are imperative for becoming a better teammate and can always be improved on no matter how long an individual has spent playing the sport. Coaches and teammates alike prefer working with players that can communicate well, as team-oriented games necessitate the ability to get information clearly and decisively to other players for best results. Good players can inspire cohesion through their actions on the pitch, great teammates and leaders can do so through both their actions and their words.
Wayne Blazejczyk also speaks to the ways that versatility as a player can make an individual a better teammate. At a high level, players that can play multiple positions well or are willing to adjust their game to suit the skills of their other teammates, fill in for injured players, and remain a student of the sport are crucial as leaders. Hockey is a simple game in concept but, in practice, it can be incredibly complex and require differing approaches depending on multiple factors. To this point, Wayne Blazejczyk recognizes the importance of acknowledging how every game is different, and one cannot simply apply the same approach against every team if they wish to win games consistently. Versatility in the sport is a virtue, and the ability to adapt will take some of the weight off your teammates’ and coaches’ shoulders. They will return the favor by providing to the relationship and working hard to support you in your goals to become a better player as well.
For a sport as team centric as hockey, there are always going to be things that can be done to improve as a player. The examples provided by Wayne Blazejczyk are just a few of the common examples of easy ways to dedicate oneself to becoming a better teammate. If an individual can remain focused on what they know, what they are good at, their limitations, and commit themselves to working well with their team, they will always be able to improve as a player and inspire teammates to reach new heights as well.