In this week’s coaching conversation, Hockey development coach and educator Ted Suihkonen joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on developing speed of hand, speed of foot and speed of mind.
Ted Suihkonen is the Head of Development for ice hockey club EVZ in Zug, Switzerland. Prior to moving to Switzerland, he was the Head of Development for HC Lokomotiv of the KHL in Yaroslavl, Russia. During his time there, HC Lokomotiv was able to get 18 players from their junior system drafted in the NHL. He started his coaching career in the USA, before moving back to Sweden where he played professionally, to continue his coaching career. He also holds top education through USA Hockey and the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation, as well as a masters degree in Neuroscience.
Ted Suihkonen has developed a new approach to player development that masterfully trains the three speeds of hockey: Speed of Hand, Speed of Foot and Speed of Mind simultaneously, This approach is rooted through performance analytics that we gather from skill and tactical sessions, as well as game footage of the players.
Ted Suihkonen Quotes:
“We need to always get back into the areas where we’re working on cognition, passing, and moving.”
“What happens now is that we are decoupling everything so we’re trying to break down skills to their smallest parts. And then we’re hoping that the athlete is able to actually be able to go out there and put it together for themselves when the situation calls for it.”
“How attentive can I be to be able to see what they [the players] actually are lacking and create a practice based off of that, and not off of what I want them to learn.”
“What’s the biggest thing that you always hear from a coach? ‘They need this skill before they can perform’ . . if you think you have a skill that you want to teach . . that’s fine. Do it for five or 10 minutes. But then put that into a game and then give them points for every time that they perform good or that they attempt to perform it. So that they start to get that representation that this actually fits here [in the game].”
“Most importantly, the kids start to understand why they’re doing what you’re trying to teach them . . it’s trying to get the guys to be able to see the game in a different light.”
“When they’re actually coaching the kids, how fast can I do a skill and then put it within a game-like situation as quickly as possible. And then teach off of that and not teach from the individual isolation part.”
“What we like to do is to basically overload them cognitively all the time. So, you’re putting so much pressure on them, not necessarily pressure as far as getting hit and all that, but just stress in the constraints that you’re having.”
“Once the player understands that you actually care what they say to you, and you take their word, then all of a sudden that communication, it just flows. And it’s only a couple seconds, compared to the first time where it can be a minute or two minutes.”
“We sometimes have another guy, instead of him just waiting in line, follow the offensive player. And then he has to give feedback about what he saw.”
“It’s the same thing on the [court], he should always be learning. How does this fit into the game? How does this fit into the structure? How does this fit into me? That’s IQ, right? That’s awareness.”
“So you’re always trying to keep the confidence levels up so that they keep trying to do what they’re trying to do.”
“If the game was mistake free, what would the score be? They [the players] go, ‘Zero to zero.’ I go, ‘Right. So, goals happen off of mistakes. Right? But if we’re always making mistakes, then how does one team always win or how does one player overcome them? He overcomes them because he forgets about it.’”
“The biggest thing for coaches is to get outside of your game. There’s so much more knowledge that you can expand upon that you can bring back to your game, if you can step outside . . get different ideas from as many different people that you can because you never know which ideas you are going to be able to pop in and help you at any given moment.”
Ted Suihkonen Breakdown:
1:00 – Two Sports are Connected
4:00 – Resistance
11:00 – Playing More in Practice
13:00 – Concept of Skill Talk
22:00 – Importance of Drills
27:00 – Expecting to be Creative
30:00 – Independent Performers
35:00 – Coaches are Problem Solvers
36:51 – 37:26 – Basketball Immersion AD Jan 2023
37:30 – Sticky Practice
42:00 – Make Mistakes
47:30 – Interleaving Mixing
51:00 – How to Cheat that Constraint
53:00 – Overload
57:00 – Basketball Trainers
1:00:00 – Lack of Gameplay
1:02:00 – Embrace Chaos
1:05:00 – Full Circle
1:09:00 – Conclusion
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