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From one coach to another

discovery2

COACH - To train intensively (as by instruction and demonstration).

Synonyms for coach: counsel, guide, lead, mentor, pilot, shepherd, show, tutor.

Being a coach is more than stepping on the ice and saying, "do this".  Today we have to be able to read the players and adjust our practices to their level and not have them adjust to our level.  Coaches have to adjust their teaching style and work within the confines of each players skills and understand all players develop at a different pace.  Be flexible in your coaching style and drills.  Not everything is going to work, so cut it short and move on.  Make it fun!!!

Hockey Edmonton is once again aligned with Hockey Alberta's Tiering model and coaches alike are expecting blow outs again this year.  As a coach it is your job to keep the kids motivated regardless of the outcome.  Last year, my team got blown out quite a bit and to add to that, I am a very demanding coach (not a plus in the kids minds).  Below are some points the coaching staff followed to keep the spirits up.  It seemed to work, despite the blow-outs, some of the kids said it was one of the best years they had in hockey.  Here is what we did:

  • Have all coaches speak after the game. Head coach calls it as is.  Kids will then know what they did right and wrong and what to work on in practice.  After head coach is done then each coach should give their feedback as well.  We all see the game differently and their input is vital.  Each coach should finish with a positive comment.
  • We gave out a "player of the game" and a "heart and hustle" after each game.  If you can't win every game at least the players can play hard for what comes after the game.
  • We showed the kids how to take various shots and encouraged them to keep doing them in practice and games. If the shot caused a turnover or a goal we would explain what needed to be adjusted but at no point ask them to stop doing it.  How else will they learn.
  • Celebrate the small victories with them and be sure to tell each and every player what they've improved on throughout the year.  They're putting in the hard work, they need to hear the hard work is paying off.
  • Lastly, bribes... I like to bribe. At the beginning of the year set goals and reward the kids for working towards those goals and improving.  They are learning and putting in the hard work.  If you can afford it, buy them ice cream a couple times a season.

Finally, if you can get the kids to do this, have them practice like they would in a game.  Far too many times kids are falling in games and it's not because they don't have the fundamentals.  Far from it, a lot of the times their bodies are not used of making those movements (tight turns, transitions, etc.) at game speed.