I remember those days. Its cold, rainy windy and the bat hurts in your hands. I never quite understood the icebreaker tournaments that were more like ice tournaments than breaker ones. I guess if you are a soccer player you are used to the weather however you are more likely running in soccer so don’t feel the cold as much.
Then there is the “seriousness” of an icebreaker tournament. Must win….. Must win. I never understood that one either. The whole purpose of an icebreaker tournament is to play against teams and work on solidifying technical and tactical skills as the regular season approaches. Ensuring that everyone gets to play at the positions that they will be during the season will allow them to also feel more comfortable with their roles. This is also where you will see first hand your players knowledge of the game offensively and defensively. Make sure you have a pen and note pad with you so you can make notes on where you want to assist the athletes in their improvement.
Maybe even to begin the team building process as well. Observe how everyone interacts on the bench and in between games. How do the parents get along if you are coaching minors. How do players react to errors and good plays. How much to the parents “participate” in the games. Are they loud, positive, are any of them coaching their young players?
This is also where the tone is set for the season. Is the environment going to be a fun environment where lots of learning takes place or one that promotes fear and intimidation. I’ll take the having fun with lots of learning any day. The ability to begin building the rapport with athletes and coaches starts with the first game and will be the catalyst to the learning environment through the season. Athletes that are relaxed and not afraid to ask questions are much more likely to improve willingly rather than being forced to improve due to fear.
So. Relax, enjoy and get as much information as you can which will be your blueprint for the rest of the season. Knowing what needs to be improved and of course not to forget what is also doing well will do wonders for when the big tournament comes. The playoffs or the provincials.