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Old
11-07-2012, 02:08 PM
  #1
Rocko604
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Thinking about coaching

I've been giving a lot of thought into volunteering as an assistant coach, likely in the Pee Wee or Bantam house divisions. As luck would have it, the NCCP clinic I need to go to is in December.

This would be my first time ever coaching. I played rep up until my last year of Bantam and had to quit due to concussions, so I have an understanding of the game. I'm 29 years old now.

Any coaches out there that can give me some advice going forward, or ones who have recently started coaching?

Thanks

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11-07-2012, 03:20 PM
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Dreakmur
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Originally Posted by Rocko604 View Post
I've been giving a lot of thought into volunteering as an assistant coach, likely in the Pee Wee or Bantam house divisions. As luck would have it, the NCCP clinic I need to go to is in December.

This would be my first time ever coaching. I played rep up until my last year of Bantam and had to quit due to concussions, so I have an understanding of the game. I'm 29 years old now.

Any coaches out there that can give me some advice going forward, or ones who have recently started coaching?

Thanks
First of all, good for you! Hockey needs more good coaches, and other volunteers.

If coaching hockey is something you plan to do for a long time, the best advice I can give you is to steal from every other coach. Even the worst coach in the world does something right, and even the best coach in the world does something wrong. Your post here is a very good start!

As for advice, I think the most important thing I've learned over the years is that coaching goes far beyond the actual mechanics of playing the game of hockey. I'll just go with two important ones:

Communication is key. Unfortunately, this is a skill that takes times to develop. It's hard to explain exactly what makes a good communicator, but I would encourage you to try different ways. I took my biggest step in this area when I realized something that seems so simple - "just because it makes sense to me doesn't mean it makes sense to them".

Player psychology is also very important. Another tough one to explain, but I'll try. Every player is different. Some are naturally smarter than others. Some are more mature than others. Some are mentally tougher than others. Some play for different reasons. As a result, every player is going to react better or worse to different kinds of communication and coaching. If you can figure out how each player ticks, the communication becomes a lot easier. That's the biggest mistake most coaches make - they treat everyone the same. It's not that simple.... not even close. Some players need a kick in the arse, and others need a coach to hold their hand. You'll get a lot more out of each player if you can find out the best way to communicate with them.

Good luck!

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11-07-2012, 05:53 PM
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this thread has potential

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11-07-2012, 06:00 PM
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What dreak says is spot on. Communication is very important - you have to be able to listen to what the kids are saying and be able to get your point across while talking at their level. This is more of a challenge at Mite and Squirts level, but can crop up with PW's as well.

This goes to Dreak's 2nd point of player psych. Get to know the kids - they each have natural tendencies. Some will be more aggressive, some more passive, some you will need to handle with kid gloves, others you can treat more gruffly, etc...

One thing I like to do as an initial personality assessment is just get the team on the ice and have them just play a game without any coaching - sort of a pond hockey environment indoors. You'll soon start seeing their personalities and tendencies come out. Which kids are the ones organizing the others (they can be your leaders in the group), which ones gravitate to D, F, etc...

As an AC, you may not be able to have that much input in things, but just some things to keep in mind.

Look back to all your own experiences - what drills did you enjoy, why did you like certain coaches and not others, etc...

Above all else - keep it fun, keep them busy, and have fun!


Last edited by bonnielad: 11-07-2012 at 06:02 PM. Reason: more thoughts
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11-07-2012, 06:00 PM
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Just started assistant coaching a Bantam "C" team (I'm only 17, but I'm the coach who goes out on the ice,sets up drills and demonstrates since the Head coach is stuck off the ice due to injuries).

Was pretty nervous yesterday ,because of prior commitments, the other coaches wouldn't be there and I was running the practice myself but it went pretty well. But I say just do it. It feels pretty good to help them out, and it's hard to say what to do right now. Just get to know the kids first and it will all go well.

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11-07-2012, 06:17 PM
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Dreakmur
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Originally Posted by bonnielad View Post
As an AC, you may not be able to have that much input in things, but just some things to keep in mind.
That will depend entirely on the head coach. Some like to run things themselves, and others utilize assistants very well.

Regardless, as an assistant coach, you'll likely be doing a lot more of the one-on-one caoching rather than the team stuff.

Quote:
Above all else - keep it fun, keep them busy, and have fun!
This is an area that I've always found difficult. Ideally, you can find a perfect balance between fun and pressure. I've coached mostly AAA, so the balance usually shifts to pressure, but in the seasons I coached AA, it shifted more towards the other end.

It's a tough mix to figure out.

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11-07-2012, 07:57 PM
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Peewee in house is an excellent group to coach. Stick with the basics- skating, and playing with heads up and sticks down. Just have fun and be a good example.

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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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11-08-2012, 12:38 AM
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I'm in my third year coaching and I have a Pee Wee house team. The kids are just awesome and it's so much fun. I've done squirt, mites and beginners too, and each level I always think that's my favorite age. They all bring something different to the experience!

You really learn a lot as you go - which drills are the most fun, which ones are the best at teaching certain things, how to talk to the kids, it all comes with experience. I will suggest to make your practice plans ahead of time as much as you can, with some leeway for unforseen circumstances. Even if you're not the head coach, have some drills/stations planned out as backup.

I know you're in canada, but USAhockey.com has a lot of resources for coaches. Also, our association is having all the coaches complete a course through Positive Coaching Alliance http://www.positivecoach.org/ and that might be worth checking out for you.

It's a lot of work - you are at the rink a LOT, but it's so rewarding when you see your kids improve.

Oh, I also recommend wearing some knee pads and maybe some elbows! I have volleyball kneepads under my track pants and they have saved me a couple of times already. It's hard being out there with no gear on - a friend of mine just got their arm broken while coaching. And one of my 11-year olds has a devastating shot and I never turn my back on him shooting EVER. haha!

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11-08-2012, 09:51 AM
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Rocko604
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Thanks for the feedback, and experience everyone. Keep it coming!

As luck would have it, I'm working all weekend the clinic is on, and there's no room on the leave board. I'll have to see what the new year brings.

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11-08-2012, 10:16 AM
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SCBruCrew4
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This year my son turned 5 and is in his second year of Learn to Skate. I decided to help out with the class. I'm not the best coach in terms of skill or drill work but I make sure that I help lead the kids in the drill and encoruage them as they go. Another thing I myself have done is making sure the kids are being safe. They are young and aren't ready for the organized hockey teams yet so they still don't have the full concept of all the drills. It's a hard thing to get used to and trust me, talking to the kids gets easier as the weeks go on and the kids will also talk to you easier as well. I had very few kids tell me their skates hurt or there elbow pads were sliding down during the first few weeks. I had to actually notice it myself. Just last week I had more kids come up to me with questions and equipment problems that I had in the 1st month lol.

All in all once you get the feel for it it gets easier.

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11-08-2012, 11:02 AM
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Cool thread, never go into this section much but I saw it from main.

One of the things I've learned (21 year old Head/Assistant Coach here for young kids in the States) is that there is a huge 'Old Dogs' club mentality with coaching. If you are an assistant, it's difficult to get involved big time when head coaches are very controlling. Likewise becoming a head coach can be difficult when there are older people also looking to coach.

What I've found works best is to stick with what you know and make the biggest impact you can in that area. I know defense so I always make sure to tell the other coaches that's my strength, what I'd like to work in and then during practices make myself heard until the head coach recognizes I can contribute (bigger deal for younger coaches than older imo).

Similarly when being a head coach I've often found that the best thing you can do is keep talking. The more you speak with your players the more they will absorb and if you keep bringing up both their positive and negative plays they will respect you for complimenting them (especially if you get excited for them when they get excited) and appreciate you for your critiques.

I had a kid last year that had a very strong shot but he could never hit the net with it. I tried giving him one of my old Nike Bauer sticks which was half the weight of the one he was using and worked with him a lot during shooting drills until he got his slap shot on net and put a lot of faith in him as a coach by moving him to the point on powerplays and such, forcing him to shoot.

Everytime he scored on one of those goals his eyes would always light up and he'd look back at me extremely happy. It's moments like those that make me enjoy coaching young kids, the older ones don't get as into it as the younger ones.

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11-08-2012, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Lonewolfe2015 View Post
Cool thread, never go into this section much but I saw it from main.

One of the things I've learned (21 year old Head/Assistant Coach here for young kids in the States) is that there is a huge 'Old Dogs' club mentality with coaching. If you are an assistant, it's difficult to get involved big time when head coaches are very controlling. Likewise becoming a head coach can be difficult when there are older people also looking to coach
This is very true, a lot of people coach to feel important or to be in a position of power..

My tip, be patient with kids, do something fun at the end of each practice, share some of your pm best and worst playing experiences...(life lessons)

AND ALWAYS KEEP IT POSTIVE EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT UP !

You need a foundation to build on !

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11-08-2012, 04:43 PM
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SCBruCrew4
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This is very true, a lot of people coach to feel important or to be in a position of power..

My tip, be patient with kids, do something fun at the end of each practice, share some of your pm best and worst playing experiences...(life lessons)
Couldn't agree more. Like I said I coach a learn to skate/hockey class and normally we end the practices by allowing the kids to just play with the pucks. It's nothing special in terms of "game" but they enjoy it so much after doing 45 minutes worth of skating drills. To just be given pucks to slap around and skate with is like heaven to them lol.

Also the whole "position of power" thing. I am grateful to have never been around that with any of my coaches growing up and to be honest some of my most fond memories as a player (baseball) was when I played in a 15 y/o league and my friends father was the coach. He was vulgar but not towards us, just in general. He kept things loose, joked with all of us and gave everyone equal playing time. Some of my funniest stories in sports comes from him alone lol.

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11-08-2012, 06:10 PM
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Every team has 2-3 insane parents who will do their best to ruin the experience for you and make your life a living hell. Enjoy!



Hopefully, for your sake, it won't be as bad at the house level.

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11-08-2012, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SCBruCrew4 View Post
Couldn't agree more. Like I said I coach a learn to skate/hockey class and normally we end the practices by allowing the kids to just play with the pucks. It's nothing special in terms of "game" but they enjoy it so much after doing 45 minutes worth of skating drills. To just be given pucks to slap around and skate with is like heaven to them lol.

Also the whole "position of power" thing. I am grateful to have never been around that with any of my coaches growing up and to be honest some of my most fond memories as a player (baseball) was when I played in a 15 y/o league and my friends father was the coach. He was vulgar but not towards us, just in general. He kept things loose, joked with all of us and gave everyone equal playing time. Some of my funniest stories in sports comes from him alone lol.
Not all of them are, but there's quite a few, also you have the parents who are the: Bob's a star, Bob should be here... Bob... Etc.

I've dealt with that this year and last.

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11-08-2012, 09:42 PM
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I've been coaching 2 teams a year for the last 6 years.

One very important word of advice that I would give you is to always be specific. Many coaches are way too general when they speak to their players.

"Intensity!", "Forecheck!", "Backcheck!", "Go to the net!"

-Ask a every player what the word "intensity" means and you will either get blank stares or very different answers.
-What kind of forecheck? What should they do on the forecheck? If you just tell the team "Forecheck hard!" you will end up with 3 people chasing the puck into the corner.
-What is your role when you backcheck? Where should you go, which guy do you take?
-Instead of just saying "Go to the net", you could say "Make sure you have two hands on your stick and your stick is on the ice when you go to the net. Make sure you stop in front of the net, not off to the side".

These are just some examples... Just remember, be specific!

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11-09-2012, 06:08 AM
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Not all of them are, but there's quite a few, also you have the parents who are the: Bob's a star, Bob should be here... Bob... Etc.

I've dealt with that this year and last.
Yeah I'm hoping I never encounter too many of these parents

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11-09-2012, 07:26 AM
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Not all of them are, but there's quite a few, also you have the parents who are the: Bob's a star, Bob should be here... Bob... Etc.

I've dealt with that this year and last.
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Originally Posted by SCBruCrew4 View Post
Yeah I'm hoping I never encounter too many of these parents
The worst is when those parents are also coaching. I've been a head and assistant coach to those types and seen a lot of stupid stuff. Had a head coach my first year that refused to give anyone but his own son extra minutes, even going so far as to take time from other kids (HUGE mistake, he never coached again).

I also had an assistant coach that wouldn't discipline his own kid but instead put it on me to do, yet encouraged him to disobey what I said when I wasn't around. This kid was young, highly talented but very immature and he didn't understand that being up 6 goals meant he couldn't break position (I kept him at defense to try and limit his ability to showboat) and score his hattrick goal. Almost got in trouble myself with the league because of that (we have a suspension policy for any team's coach that wins by 7 or more). Had to pull him from the game to make him stop.

tl;dr, Parents can be a real pain, but I still have had my worst moments with coaches that don't understand they aren't the most intelligent people at the rink. Have to remember it is about the players first, coaches second so do whatever you have to to prevent the situations from blowing up.

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11-09-2012, 07:52 AM
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Marotte Marauder
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Playing and coaching ar vastly different. The 1st question that you must ask yourself is can I teach?

Have you been a leader/instructor before? At the workplace? Were you a captain of your teams several times? Do people in your family seek your counsel?

If many of these are yes, than you have the natural ability to teach and make an impact on players. The Xs/Os are less significant and your playing career will get you over those hurdles.

Good luck, and always remember, it's a game.

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11-09-2012, 07:54 AM
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The worst is when those parents are also coaching. I've been a head and assistant coach to those types and seen a lot of stupid stuff. Had a head coach my first year that refused to give anyone but his own son extra minutes, even going so far as to take time from other kids (HUGE mistake, he never coached again)
When I started this year the President of the league told me to treat all the kids equally and to not just focus on my son alone. I feel liek I've done exactly that...as well as the other coaches there. Pretty much if you focus on your kid alone, the Pres, will pull you off the ice immediately. Good for him in my opinion.

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11-09-2012, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocko604 View Post
I've been giving a lot of thought into volunteering as an assistant coach, likely in the Pee Wee or Bantam house divisions. As luck would have it, the NCCP clinic I need to go to is in December.

This would be my first time ever coaching. I played rep up until my last year of Bantam and had to quit due to concussions, so I have an understanding of the game. I'm 29 years old now.

Any coaches out there that can give me some advice going forward, or ones who have recently started coaching?

Thanks
just do it, find a team that needs help and go for it. I have been coaching 7 years now, i was coaching peewee/bantam but now i have kids and i coach my 6 year olds team. its alot of fun, there is a lot of work that goes into it but thinking the game and teaching is rewarding if you have a passion for it.

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11-09-2012, 10:52 AM
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I also had an assistant coach that wouldn't discipline his own kid but instead put it on me to do, yet encouraged him to disobey what I said when I wasn't around. This kid was young, highly talented but very immature and he didn't understand that being up 6 goals meant he couldn't break position (I kept him at defense to try and limit his ability to showboat) and score his hattrick goal. Almost got in trouble myself with the league because of that (we have a suspension policy for any team's coach that wins by 7 or more). Had to pull him from the game to make him stop.
I really hope that rule was just at a house-league level?

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11-09-2012, 11:15 AM
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Lonewolfe2015
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I really hope that rule was just at a house-league level?
Yeah it was, it's not a travel league. I don't personally agree with blowouts at any young-age level though.

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11-09-2012, 11:32 AM
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Blowouts are a part of hockey... You win some, you lose some.

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