Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – Recruiting Based On “Size” Fails To Hold Up To Scrutiny

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For the last four year, TJHN has written a series of story on how “size” of player does not equate to success of development of player.  Largely because we always hear the coach say “you cant teach size”.  Yet time and time over the “size” argument is disproven.

Everyone always hear some coach say “we need to get bigger”, or “we are looking for some size”.  The phrase really go back to everyone trying to find the next Zdeno Chara, Tyler Myers, or one of the very few superstar player who is also large in size.

The truth is that size have little or nothing to do with success.  It is not only proven on the ice, but is a medical fact as well.

Most forward use a shorter stick than defenseman.  Most defenseman prefer longer stick to engage the poke check.  This make perfect sense.

Medically speaking, reach, or arm length is almost always directly proportionate to player height.  Simply put, a tall forward using a shorter stick negate his reach advantage.  A shorter defenseman using longer stick can make up for shorter reach or arm length.

In the laws of averages, excluding the rare 6’5″ players that can actually skate.  The average 6’1″ forward, has little or no advantage over a 5’10” defenseman when you take into account stick length.

Skating, hockey sense, and conditioning are and always have been what set the elite player apart from the average player.

A big player who can not skate, or have no hockey sense, or who is not in condition, is nothing but a big plug in the middle of the ice.  This player will just take up space and frustrate the coach who think they can actually make the big orange cone a real effective player.

The big player who can not hit, or skate with the smaller player have no advantage.  The big player with no hockey sense have no advantage over the player with the more hockey sense.

Size is a measurable statistic for the body only.  It has no direct correlation to success on the ice whether the size is big, small or average.

It is the best players who should always play, regardless of size.  I just watch over the weekend, a small Midget AAA team completely dominate a AAA team loaded with big players because the big team simply couldn’t keep up with the speed.

In the USHL this season, only one player over 6 feet tall in top ten of scoring.

In the WHL this season, only one player over 6 feet tall in top ten of scoring.

In the QMJHL this season, only one player over 6 feet tall in top ten of scoring.

In the OHL this season, only three player over 6 feet tall in top ten of scoring.

So tell me, do the top four junior league in the world numbers lie?  I think not.

Coach

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