What Makes A Good Hockey Coach?

As summer is rolling to an end and we who are involved in the game of hockey, we look forward to a new season ahead. Some as spectators and some folks who get involved in the coaching side of the game.

More and more volunteers are always needed to help out with any minor hockey organizations from registration to tournaments and finally to coaches. Here in Canada and what we know as Hockey Canada for our minor hockey development programs, a very in-depth procedure for our coaches is needed.

If you haven’t had a chance to really go through the HC web site and research the Hockey Program tab I suggest you do. It will give you the information you need to get involved in the coaching ranks and beyond. From what requirements are needed to the skills manuals and resource guides that have been done over the years.

Coaches and Athletes in Action

Now if you are serious about coaching and that includes really any sport but I will stick with Hockey, here are a few things I feel that you really need to look at before you begin your journey, let’s have a look.

What Makes A Good COACH!

C – Before you even get on the ice for the season ahead and you are a new coach I always suggest to these folks is that, Have you thought about your coaching philosophy or your style? You have to factor in a lot here such as your values and beliefs, your past coaching experiences, if you have been a coach before and even your past playing experiences with past coaches.

Your likes and dislikes of the game and different styles/systems. Your athletic experiences will factor in, did you play to a high level or did you play recreational hockey before. Your education also factors in. Have you gone through coaching clinics before or are you just entering the coaching field?

O – With this section I like to see what your objectives are going to be for the up coming season. It depends on what level you coach at and what level the players are at this will determine the objectives of the skills you will be teaching. This is where Hockey Canada comes in with their Player Development Model and all the skill manuals you will need to review.

With teaching skills on the ice you must realize some things here. Are you going to be the one demonstrating the skills or having someone else to do them as you all know showing how it can be done is better than just talking about it! Also making sure in your practices they are running at a good pace and no players are standing around to long before they get involved in the drill.

There is a lot of great information on the Hockey Canada site plus some great books/videos out there as well. One good article which I have read over and over again about topic complete guide hockey sticks by Richard. It goes over the skills and strategies for the coaches and the players.

A – Attitude is a big factor in your coaching style but also in your way you treat others. You must lead by example to gain the trust and respect from just not your players but from their parents and the organization you belong to.

You see, coaches of children are role models and this carries some big responsibility. How you behave both on the ice and off. How you dress and look. What standards do you hold, and if they are the high, then these will rub off onto the players you coach.

C – Continuing education. Willing to learn and always open to constructive criticism from the organizations Coaching Mentor. Also check out HC site on the Mentor Ship program that is available to all coaches. Be willing to adapt in different situations on and off the ice.

Communicate with your players both verbally and with actions as body language is important. Also do you know enough of the mind and body? How to train off ice and to adapt to safe practices and prevent injuries. Do you understand how to build confidence in a player? To goal set for individual players?

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If you are serious about coaching and I hope you are then do some extra research through HC sites and other great coaching sites such as my good colleague Dennis Chighisola or as we all know him as CoachChic who holds USA Hockey highest certification as a Level 5 – Master Coach. Also another great reference to look at is Michael A. Smith and his book The Hockey Play Book it goes into some great detail of practice plans and skill development.

H – Highlights of your past and present coaching experiences are always good to review. This can be done through out your season as well as the off season. Ask yourself these types of questions. Could I have done anything differently? Could I have handled this situation differently?

What do I want to accomplish next season? What do I want to accomplish in the off season to help me be a better coach? Who can I contact and ask more questions about coaching if needed? Is there any other seminars or clinics I can go to learn?

So there you have it, a small outline in what it takes to be a coach. I hope you get some things out of this post and if you would like to discuss or add to the list (which I know there could be a lot more) please send me your comments and we can discuss .

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