Team Building Exercises
Just drafted my team for the year and I don't know most of the kids, which is a first for me since I got the short end of the stick in the drawings.
I was wondering if people could offer me some advice on ways they've run their 1st couple practices that maximized team building. It's a rec league, so this is new teams every year and most of the successful teams are the ones that are able to develop chemistry quickest.
I have a bunch of older kids, so they should know the drill and respond well based on the feedback I got from other coaches on who they are. But I also have several younger kids; 12-16 age bracket, mostly 13-15, as 15's are based on November birthdays and 12's have to be exceptions.
I also have 3-4 assistant coaches this year, so I have the personnel to break into at least 2 separate squads (12 kids + goalie in total, figure 8-10 show up every practice).
Appreciate any suggestions.
Sorry, I am not a coach but have had a lot of experience with team sports (so has everyone else I'm sure).
I have found that mutual dislike and fear of the coach (e.g. lots of sprints, and hard practices) can bring a team together through a shared difficult experience (think boot camp).
Regarding "chemistry", on-ice leadership, communication and a good foundation in both skills and theory of the game for the whole team go a long way towards creating "chemistry".
If your up to it, do some sort of an off-ice team build. Laser tag, Paintball, Go Kart racing or even something that incorporates more teamwork. IE: some sort of nature walk where they need to help each other.
If you can't do off-ice stuff, being hard on them in the beginning and then rewarding them for their efforts can help as well. When I played HS baseball, wind sprints and base running drills were the worst, but to have the coach allow us to have a home run derby instead of practice at the end of a tough week made it so much better. We respected the coach and would do anything for him. The balancing act comes in when you have to realize that if your pushing someone too far that they just will not WANT to come and play.
Yeah, off rink stuff won't fly. I'm a college student so I can't afford to do that and most of these kid's parents won't be interested during the season. We'll probably do something at the conclusion of the season.
I'm not sure running drills will be the best choice based on the environment. If it were a tournament/travel league definitely, but I've seen coaches try that before and really turn off the kids with that stuff for a rec league. I do agree though, coaches that push you the hardest usually tend to build the best 'teams'.
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