Finding Chemistry with Your Linemates
No matter the sport, having chemistry with your teammates is vitally important. In hockey, it’s particularly effective if you have solid chemistry with your linemates. Some lines from hockey’s past were so effective they were given nicknames, for instance Detroit’s Production Line (Ted Lindsey, Gordie Howe and Sid Abel) or the French Connection (Rene Robert, Gilbert Perreault and Rick Martin) in Buffalo.
Monikers such as this are not unique to hockey either, in the English Premier League last season for example, Liverpool’s lethal attacking duo of Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge became widely known as SAS.
So as a young hockey player, how do you find chemistry with your linemates?
This is pretty much the number one way to gel and find chemistry with your linemates. You should practice
relentlessly with each other. After all, the coach has put you all together, as he/she believes a good fit is highly likely. The best way to ensure that is the case is to learn each others’ game inside and out. However, the key is not to play the same game, but to complement each other… You should be individuals who work best as a team, so practice consistently, even when the coach isn’t around.
Learn to Work in Tandem
Complementing each others’ games and abilities involves working in tandem. Where you’re weak, your linemate may be strong, and vice versa. Tapping into and appreciating this, will help to improve the chemistry and quality of your line. Try to work in tandem on the ice and know where your teammates are and where they will be in order to maximize your effectiveness.
Get to Know Each Other Off the Ice
Getting to know your linemates off the ice is also a good way to help improve your on-ice chemistry. Naturally, the more familiar you are with each other, the better your chemistry. Find common ground and common interests to form a basis for deeper conversations. Learn how your linemate thinks and reacts in situations both on and off the ice. Are they introverted? Do they think analytically? Are they detail-oriented, or a big-picture thinker? All of these traits will help you later when you are on the ice and in the game.
If you are having trouble finding chemistry with your linemate, be sure you ask your coaching team for advice. They may be able to offer you some insight into your partner, suggest bonding exercises, and they can even tell you why they have paired you up. When you know what your coach saw in the line pick, you will understand how they expect the play to work.
My time at OHA taught me what it means to be an elite athlete both on and off the ice. It is a big reason I am the player, I am today."