After speaking to Tuomas recently, he has devised some 'guidelines' to give an idea and distinguish how developed a team is. Currently, at MK Phantoms, we are level 3 out of 10 with (what i think) the foundations and know how to easily be level 4, we just need to start doing it.

There is a 5 year plan to become a level 7 team. We are in a good position with our sponsor, with the oppurtunity to enter 2 teams in the league. We have a club committee, a rink (in which blast have paid half for when we have funds for the rest), guaranteed subs to stop the club getting in arrears, plus training twice a week (3 times if you attend phantoms fitness) and a non playing coach who can concentrate purely on coaching.
All we need back is dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and some passion for the sport and most importantly, the team.

Have a read through the levels and understand what is needed throughout the stages and then look at each stage individually. Don't be put off by the big picture. Wars are won one battle at a time, see each level as a challenge and make it your goal to achieve it with your team. We have 4 levels and 5 years to get to level 7. I like those odds..

1. Team are starting to play - individual action on the field, but play is random, un-sequenced, little knowledge of positional play.

2. Team can play - some players play together (out of a line of 5), some technical skills are developing. Passes are not accurate, mostly blind. The ball is mostly picked up.

3. Some players are finding each other on the rink, sometimes randomly. Team goals start to come occasionally. Tactics and play works in training but in a game, players 'forget' and do not think through play before committing to it. Personal presentations from players usually bring the result.

4. Developed play - the team starts to do things for a reason. Basic play and skills are ok in the team but the understanding of changing position and some physical limitations of players, creates 'gaps' in play. Getting the team to defend can create problems - partly because of established offensive play- which is more fun.

5. Team has a 'package' on the field (strong full line). Team needs minimum 3 training sessions a week. No emotional play or frustration visible in the team. The team can make changes in tactics and follow them. Strengths of the players are used and weaknesses understood, basing team tactics on them.

6. All players committed to the team. Players prioritise the team 100%. The question 'who is training/playing league?' does not exist any more, every member of the team will be there regardless.

7. The team has a minimum of 3 strong lines which are competing for playing time. Physical training absolutely needed to develop the game. Small margins between players technical skills. Players compete to be chosen for games.


8. The team has training for physical training and tactical training. Players also train themselves in technical skills. The whole team has 100% commitment to the plan. Full understanding of training and application of restitution is taken further. Talents are reaching/reached their limits.

9. Star players are born on this level - skilled players are standing out so much from other players

10. All players understand the game - have a high level of experience, minimum 5 years. Players can demonstrate all technical skills to high standards and have good communication. All positions on the rink are familiar to all players, tactical skills and experience is built up. In this level a coach has to focus on analysing the opponent and make tactical choices to eliminate the strengths of the other team, whilst finding the 'hot players' and combinations to fullfill the tactics.

Written By Amie Whitehall