Coaching Corner: What’s your plus/minus?

It can be tough to separate your performance from your team’s performance. Sometimes your team wins despite you playing lousy. Sometimes they lose despite you playing well.

After every game, win or loss, you should ask yourself what you can do better? A great way to help answer that is with the plus/minus system.

What’s that? It’s a way to estimate your contribution to the team.

Give yourself a plus 1 when you do something good for the team, like scoring a goal, getting an assist, creating a key turnover that leads to a scoring chance or shutting down a key scoring chance of the other team.

Give yourself a minus 1 when you do something that disadvantages your team, liking making a turnover that leads to a goal for them.

Keep track as it happens. Scored a goal! +1. Got an assist! +1 Missed a tackle and got beat setting up shot for other team. -1. You’re at +1 net.

Of course, you’d like to end up in the plus, meaning you contributed positively to your team’s performance.

But, the minuses give you specific things to think about and work on.

The last game I played I had some minuses. One was that I took a first touch directly toward a defender, reducing my options for what came next. I recovered, but what came next wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been had I did what I intended, to cut the ball to the defender’s left, setting me up for diagonal dribble into space and several open passing options.

I will go home and work on that touch.

The plus/minus system isn’t perfect. You won’t remember everything and your assessment may not always agree with others. But, you will get more out of trying to keep track than not.

The added benefit is that it will help you think about the game at a deeper level,which will help you discover more ways to contribute. Do you give yourself a plus for that extra hustle that forced a bad pass allowing a teammate to intercept? Yes.

How about for drawing a defender out, opening space for your teammate to score? Why not?

What about for telling a teammate to turn because they had a wide open field behind them, and they dribble in setting up a shot? Yes.

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