Ok, a bit of a rant first. I am 47, I've been playing beer league hockey for the past 15 years or so (played house league as a kid). I've had success along the way, won a few beer league championships, and came close in some other years. I've played on some good teams, some mediocre, and some bad ones too. I work hard on improving my game, always trying to improve in one way or another (working out, stretching, working on reflexes, visualization, keeping game logs, researching solutions to problems, etc.....). I am a solid goaltender, with the occasional amazing effort type saves, that being said, I am not immune to letting in some bad goals occasionally. I am used to playing in leagues where the teams in the division were all relatively equal, but now I've moved to a smaller city, and my options for playing in a balanced league are very limited or non-existent, with a range of ex-pros to house league players. I started playing with a team last year, and right off the bat I could tell it was going to be tough. We lost a lot of games, some of them we lost very badly, which I find very frustrating, and I am not always able to just "shake it off". We seemed to get better near the end of the season, so not being a quitter I decided to give it another season. This season has been a bit better, with a few less lopsided losses, but it is still not going that well, and I am finding it very difficult to continue both physically and mentally. Physically I have a herniated disc which causes me quite a bit of discomfort after games, and after going through all the preparation to get ready to go out and play only to get destroyed is wearing on me mentally. I've always tried to bounce back by just continuing to focus on improving my game and working harder, but this is no longer cutting it.
So I am at a bit of a crossroads now, I can quit the team and hopefully find another, or stick it out and try to fix it. I know that we can do better if we just focus on some simple defensive strategies like:
One defenceman protects the house at all times in the defensive zone. So basically while one defenceman is defending the puck carrier, the other defenceman makes sure no one is uncovered in front/backdoor.
The centerman defends any other player trying to get open in front.
Use the boards to clear the zone, and avoid passing through the middle.
Try to minimize the odd man rushes by not pinching in the offensive zone, and being aware of the other team trying to slip past our defence.
So am I correct in the above, and is there anything else we should focus on?
Ideally I wish I didn't have to say anything, and just focus on my game. Standing up in the locker room before a game with a bunch of adults and telling them how to play defence is not something that I feel that comfortable with doing. I have conveyed my strategies in the past, and I've seen immediate results, but unfortunately we seem to revert to our old ways within a couple of games.
Looking for advice on some strategies, some effective way to communicate them with the team, and continue to reinforce it? Any other advice is welcome. Thanks