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Coaching beginning adult rec players

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Old
04-12-2012, 03:23 PM
  #26
shawn1331
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Yeah I learned hockey when I was 8 I think, I'm 16 now. I never really was a great skater, I'm hella fast and have great transistions but I sometimes stumble which causes me to lose speed and I can't turn/stop as well one way which is normal but I'm quite abit worse turning right. I make up for what I lasck in skating with good puck work and great shot/pass but I could have possibly gone somewhere with hockey if I had of been a good skater. Kind of sucks but oh well. As of right now I play A and AAA highschool hockey but I am an average at best highschool player.

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04-12-2012, 04:27 PM
  #27
qmechanic
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Originally Posted by frackiewicz View Post
That. That 1000X times. I can't say how many times I've been told to "just go backwards" or "just stop and turn" without any explanation. Should my weight be on the ball or heel, or centered? Should I be on the inside or outside edge?!
Yeah, I feel the same way, even being an intermediate level skater.

I've tried to give a detailed technical explanation a few times. I did this with the forward to backward transition and the backward stride. Unfortunately, the time when I explained the backward stride, a few of the more "advanced" players decided it wasn't worth their time and started skating around the rink. One guy even took shots against the boards. I'm sure some people like the technical talks, but no one has ever come up to me and given me positive feedback. They never ask me questions about technique, except for a few of the women. I should talk to some of the players and find out if it's working.

One thing that I know worked is when I taught a skating skill, explained why it was important in a game, and then had people do the skill in a game situation. When I taught transitions (the one where you face the same direction throughout), I did the following:

1) Explained that transitions are important because you never want to turn your back on the play
2) Explained how to execute the transition, mentioning body weight placement, which edge to use, etc.
3) Had them do transitions around their own stick
4) For the advanced group, had them do a drill where they simulate playing defense with transitions. The player skates up to a forward then does a transition from forward to backward -- playing the gap on the forward. Then the forward tries to break towards the boards and the player does a transition from backward to forward to cut them off.

Maybe this is the right way to do things. Pick a skating skill to work on and plan out a progression based on that skill. Teach the technique, have them practice the technique without pucks, then incorporate the pucks and stickhandling, and finally do a drill where the skill is used in a game situation.

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04-12-2012, 04:43 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by qmechanic View Post
Yeah, I feel the same way, even being an intermediate level skater.

I've tried to give a detailed technical explanation a few times. I did this with the forward to backward transition and the backward stride. Unfortunately, the time when I explained the backward stride, a few of the more "advanced" players decided it wasn't worth their time and started skating around the rink. One guy even took shots against the boards. I'm sure some people like the technical talks, but no one has ever come up to me and given me positive feedback. They never ask me questions about technique, except for a few of the women. I should talk to some of the players and find out if it's working.
Time to throw the hammer down. That behaviour is totally unacceptable and hugely disrespectful. You're the coach. The coach is the boss - beginners adult rec class or not.

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04-16-2012, 03:40 PM
  #29
Kritter471
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I don't think you can drop the scrimmage totally with the adults, but I might try and brainstorm ways to incorporate what you're working on that day into the scrimmage. Or perhaps steal from youth hockey and do two half-sheet games so people get more ice time to work on the skills you've taught.

With a lot of beginner adults, it's important to emphasize how the skills you're learning translate to games, and the scrimmage is a big part of that. I think the breakdown you have as far as practice time looks great. Plus a scrimmage is fun - it's a reward for going through drills, and it's a way to gauge your improvement from week-to-week.

As far as those people who say 90 percent of the time should be spent on skating, I disagree because while these adults want to improve, they are also picking up hockey as something to enjoy at a recreational level. For most adults, doing 75 minutes of pure skating drills a week is not worth it. Doing 30 minute of pure skating is probably the most I would go. Of course, proper skating technique should always be reinforced in other drills as well, whether that's passing and receiving in motion or making tight turns with the puck. Skating can be reinforced and refined in drills designed to do other things as well, particularly stickhandling.

As far as the detailed instruction, that might be a place where you and the other coach split some duties. You announce the drill, have the players who feel comfortable with it go with one coach and get started. Then those who need more information or practice can stay with the other guy and get the explanations/walk through the drill in more detail. Players can bounce from one group to the other, and if the advanced group feels bored, the other coach can add layers to that drill (like the game situation transitions).

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04-16-2012, 03:51 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Droid6 View Post
I notice beginning players sometime are scared to go too fast or make hard stops because their skates aren't sharpened right for their skill level/weight. In turn they're more worried about falling or hitting the boards then stick handling and other parts of the game. Try getting starting them off on a flatter hollow like 3/4" and see if they feel more comfortable stopping and gliding.
This. Helped BIG TIME when I started a few years ago.

Work a simple breakout drill to get passing and start people thinking about where they need to be.

D-man behind goal line, two forward at blue line.
Forward dumps in puck to d-man, who carries it behind net.
1st forward skates to far wall close to face off dot to receive pass.
2nd forward skates in slot.
Pass: d-man to stationary 1st forward on the wall
Pass: 1st forward to 2nd forward in slot who is skating out of the zone
1st forward follows 2nd and they pass back-forth
Can keep going to far end to shoot on far net

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Old
04-16-2012, 04:01 PM
  #31
Kritter471
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neksys View Post
This hasn't been my experience at all, but I suppose I could just have a unique group.

On the other hand, its easy enough to throw a puck into the mix and call it a stickhandling drill.

Set cones up 20 feet apart (or whatever). Spend a few minutes without the puck getting the stopping on each foot down, then introduce the puck. Cradling the puck when you stop to either side isn't that obvious to many beginners as a skill, and you hit two birds with one stone.

Same with tight turns around the same cones. You have to learn how to keep the puck on the inside your turn. Practice for a few rounds without, then introduce the puck.

By the end, set it up so you have to stop at the right hand cone, skate to the left cone and do a tight turn around it - switch it up the next round.

You've just spent half an hour working on legitimately valuable stickhandling/puck possession skills while, by the way, developing fundamental skating skills.
Yeah, this is the way to really emphasize skating skills while not causing a beginner mutiny. True power skating drills scare a lot of beginners off because it comes across as more exercise than sport, but you can emphasize a lot of the same things through well-crafted puck-handling drills.

I like the idea of vets/rookies pairing up as well. A lot of more experienced players can still learn through teaching, because they really have to go through their technique and reinforce their own knowledge to teach it to someone. Obviously, you have to watch these pairings to make sure there aren't bad habits being passed along as well.

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04-16-2012, 08:19 PM
  #32
TrueBlue86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qmechanic View Post
Yeah, I feel the same way, even being an intermediate level skater.

I've tried to give a detailed technical explanation a few times. I did this with the forward to backward transition and the backward stride. Unfortunately, the time when I explained the backward stride, a few of the more "advanced" players decided it wasn't worth their time and started skating around the rink. One guy even took shots against the boards. I'm sure some people like the technical talks, but no one has ever come up to me and given me positive feedback. They never ask me questions about technique, except for a few of the women. I should talk to some of the players and find out if it's working.
you are in a bit of a tough situation because i`m not convinced that people in your group actually want to learn and get better, rather than just having fun

you are in an university setting right? are people paying for the lessons?

i don't know, maybe they just want to play? i guess as long as you can stand on two skates and hold a stick you can try to 'play hockey'

i know from my own experience that getting better is hard work, and that it's hard to do with only 1 day/ week on the ice, especially if some of them started skating in their 20s

you have to find their true motivation, find what/ if they want to learn and take it from there...
that way they're more prone to listen

it's not as if you're preparing the troops to play super competitive hockey

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Old
04-16-2012, 08:52 PM
  #33
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neksys, Kritter471, nullterm, TrueBlue86: Thank you for the responses. You've given me a lot of good ideas. Breakout drills are always great and we can do them with both the advanced and beginner groups.

TrueBlue86: Yes, we are a university hockey club, but we don't get much ice time at our university rink. We play mostly at local rinks. Due to the large size of the group, the costs are pretty reasonable, for instance, $150 for 12 weeks from April to June.

I'm pretty sure the beginner group wants to improve (in general); the advanced group may want less skating and more tactical drills. Hopefully, if we came up with a reasonable, progressive (technical explanation, skating with no pucks, pucks) drill sequence, and run this plan week after week, people will improve faster.

My goal is to improve the beginner's skating and stickhandling abilities to the point where they can play with the advanced group. That's what I assume, I don't know if that's what they actually want. I should ask them.


Last edited by qmechanic: 04-17-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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Old
04-16-2012, 09:07 PM
  #34
Marotte Marauder
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Skating drills, skating drills and more skating drills. It is the biggest part of the game and ice is the biggest cost to them.

Do not waste ice with stickhandling and shooting drills. These can all be done off ice on their own, after you give them a few golf ball drills etc.

If they don't wish to practice and improve, they can always show up to rat hockey sessions. When they see how poorly they skate and play, they will return for instruction or maybe give up. Their choice.

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Old
04-17-2012, 01:59 AM
  #35
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I coach both special needs hockey and some friends who are starting adult league after never playing.

we have myself and another coach and in an hour we do:

20 minutes of skating drills and you can incorporate the entire team by adding variables for each level of player (i.e. a puck when lesser skilled players are doing the circles without) or do egg beaters where everyone is working on passing, receiving passes, skating, keeping head up etc.. any drill that everyone can do regardless of skill is a good one and then you make it more complicated on an individual basis.

we then do 10 minutes of positioning and hockey iq where we just answer questions they have about the game and where they are supposed to be.. all players regardless of skill can improve here so we never have problems with someone getting cranky and skating off.

Then the second half we do a scrimmage where everyone is again working on everything.

I have found it easier to promote asking questions by spending my time helping those who want help. If someone skates off, let them. They are the ones missing out and they are the ones who will be the better player who is surpassed by the ones eager to learn from you.. at that point, they are quick to ask for some help.

The longer you work with them, the easier all of this will get. If you want more drills that are good for all levels and how to tweak them, you can send me a pm. Always work on skating when doing drills because everything else can be practiced outside the rink or during said skating drills.

good luck

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Old
04-17-2012, 09:54 AM
  #36
qmechanic
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Thanks for the lesson plan, wahsnairb. Good to hear there are other people coaching adult beginner players and what their experience is like.

What is an "egg beater"?

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04-17-2012, 01:02 PM
  #37
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One of the most overlooked parts that I have run into coaching adults is the skates.

1. Are they proper fitting and tight enough in the ankles? Normally I have found they spent very little money on super flimsy skates and they have non wax half tightened laces. I generally use some shin tape and get them squared away and really emphasize the importance of the fitting.

2. Are they sharp - I can dig the lower hollow approach to teach people how to shave the ice and stop, but they still need to be sharp, and properly sharp so they can learn an even more important facet of skating - edge control. You can't control what isn't there. I see people with huge gouges or just factory edges on their skates from time to time.

Before we ever skate / drill / do anything I go over proper dress - how to get the equipment on, tips on sizing etc.

Next at the first and following few practices I go over proper warm up, stretches, places that may get sore and what to do - how to not pull your groin, how to fall (SUPER IMPORTANT) etc.

I have had a few people moving very slowly fall, and splay and tweak knees. Generally overweight people but I make sure to force them to fall, in every direction at a moderate pace. Teach them heads up when hitting the boards and how to get up when you're down. I go over stick etiquette and why you always keep the stick on the ice, recommend cages to the new people even if they're "super macho" or some such because beginners always slide around with their sticks in the air flailing.

Most people want to jump over these facets, and most kids get these through the years but we're trying to jumble so much in and everyone just wants to score goals. The little things really pile up.

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04-17-2012, 04:07 PM
  #38
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Theres been lots of good advice so far.

I haven't coached adults but I've taught a l lot kids who are just learning. I find there are two kinds of learners. Those that can apply the "technical" drills, and those who learn best just by trying things.

Given this I try to start a practice with more technical drills, then move to games that force them to use differnent skating skill without consciously thinking about it. Usually at the beginning of the year I'll do games that don't involve pucks (or even sticks) then introduce some games with pucks once the skills are there.

I'm not sure how you apply the games to adults without it seeming too corny, but I find games like tag (in a fairly tight area), duck duck goose (where you have to chase someone around a circle), or small obstacle courses can be useful in getting them to use edge work, stoping skills, etc with out thinking about it. Tag also is a good way to get them to skate with their heads up. For this to work, you need to divide them into relatively small groups where everyone in the group is approximately at the same skill level.

I think someone mentioned it, but 2on2 or 3on3 games with a single net, and a confined area also work well at building a lot of skills without the students actually thinking about it.

Usually once everyone is organized I'll circulate through the different groups, providing individual feedback and instruction as I notice areas for improvment.

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Old
04-17-2012, 06:16 PM
  #39
qmechanic
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I love those kid drills! I think it's possible to find some that adults would find fun and not lame. Here are some I enjoyed (as an adult player):

1) The obstacle course (mentioned by Calvin123) which can have tight turns/transitions around cones, jumping over sticks, sliding under sticks, etc.

2) Split the group into two teams. Pairs of players push a net from red line to red line and back. Race to see who finishes first.

3) "Wheelbarrow". Have players pair off. The front person pulls the back person by holding the sticks. The back person can make the drill harder by digging his/her skates into the ice.

I think these are fun drills to end a practice with.

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