TACTICS & SYSTEMS

How to Pre-Scout Your Opponent, with Todd Woodcroft and Cassie Turner

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"We're looking for the DNA."

An essential component of pre-scouting your opponent, video has been a part of coaching for decades now. But how can it be used most effectively?

We were joined by a pair of NCAA head coaches at our Virtual Hockey Summit to answer that question. Former Winnipeg Jets assistant coach Todd Woodcroft, now the head coach with the University of Vermont, was joined by Quinnipiac University head coach Cassie Turner for an insightful presentation, taking us through the process of pre-scouting an opponent.

What Woodcroft and Turner did was present clips from the 2019 IIHF World Championships, presenting a fictional scenario where they were preparing a team to play both Finland and Switzerland in upcoming games.

“When we do a pre-scout, what we do is we’re trying to find proof of the team that we’re playing against — how will they play? Most good teams are structured, very predictable,” said Woodcroft, adding that he usually looks at about three or four games from his opponent.

“Try to find the essence of their team, try to find out what they’re good at. Figure out ways that we can counter that,” he said. “We’re looking for things to exploit on them. Essentially we’re looking for the DNA… and make a game plan for that.”

Both Woodcroft and Turner agreed that meetings need to be kept short.

“We have to be really disciplined,” said Turner. “Really dialling in on the things that you think are going to make a difference to win that game… It’s so short because that’s really what’s going to help your athletes be successful.”


    
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Todd Woodcroft

Todd Woodcroft was most recently Head Coach for Vermont men’s hockey team. Woodcroft was previously an Assistant Coach with the Winnipeg Jets an...





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