Thread: Coaches: Thinking about coaching
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11-07-2012, 10:01 PM
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I coached four years of house league from Minor Novice to Atom (7 through 10 years old). Just a few rambling thoughts.

One of the first things I'd tell the kids at the start of the year is that I didn't care if they won every game or lost every game. Usually parents are more than willing to apply pressure to win, and the kids didn't need to hear the same thing from me too. My personal goals for them were by the end of the season they understood the game better, and became better as players in terms of skill and teamwork. Not all kids progress at the same rate. Some move up the skill ladder very quickly, others need twice the time (or more) to make even marginal improvements. Be patient. Their progress should be measured over years, not weeks.

At least from Peewee on down, encourage everyone to play in goal at least one game. Firstly it stops the chirping on the bench if someone is having a bad game. As soon as you hear "our goalie sucks" on the bench (you will hear it), mark that player down to play goal next week. When he lets in seven or eight goals next week (and he will), you'll never hear him complain about the goaltending again. It takes just as many years to learn to play net well, as it takes to learn to stickhandle, shoot and skate. Once the skaters learn how hard it is to play in goal, they'll look at their responsibilities in their own end a bit differently. This can also turn up someone's who's a natural for the position who might never had a thought to play goal before.

One thing I'd do after every game give each player one sentence to say something they did well that game. This would go around quickly in the room and only take up about a minute. I wouldn't allow them to mention a goal if they scored. This way they'd become conscious of the details beyond getting goals. "I broke up a 2-on-1", "I got the puck out of our end when killing a penalty", "I intercepted a pass".... It reinforces to everyone that the details are being noticed and appreciated. You don't have to score to have played a good game.

Patience and fun go a long way.

Last edited by mobilus: 11-07-2012 at 11:34 PM.
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