This seems so simple yet any new coaches looking to enter the hockey coaching world may be asking this exact question. I am not going to sit here and say "a lot of you have asked me this...". That is a complete lie. One of my friends from college asked me this (Go Birds) therefore I thought, I mean hey if he is asking there are probably a lot of people just like him or even some current players who just finished up playing and want to coach.
With that said, in this article I will go over some of the basics and my advice on how to get started in the hockey coaching world.
1. You have to register as a USA Hockey Coach. To do that just simple follow this link once you are registered you will receive a USA hockey numbers. Hold onto that email and don't lose it.
2. Complete the required USA hockey training modules. They all cost $10 per module and most organizations based on budget will pay for them or reimburse you. I paid for the USA certification and modules out of pocket and got reimbursed later. You can take as many modules as you'd like but when it comes to CEP level course you can only do one every calendar year!
3. Find a CEP level 1 course nearby, pay for the registration, sit through the course and you are officially ready to coach. Most organizations will allow you to coach without the CEP Level 1 certification to start but you must get it by December 1st or renew it by December 1st to be eligible. As well depending on the position, each level comes with a higher certification usually.
4. For beginners I'd email local rinks and organizations nearby and tell them a little about you. Your background, playing history, etc. And let them know you are interested in coaching and definitely do not ask about it being paid right from the start. If you are looking to be an assistant coach, then let them know that as well a lot of organizations love to see young or ex players help out with teams.
5. Be clear with your intentions if you get a head coaching job. Have a plan and a purpose. That purpose can be as simple as player development or winning 10 games. But definitely do not go in and start throwing out demands, orders and expectations all over the place. Look at the 8-14U level winning is great but development is even better and the parents want to make sure they can trust you with their kids. Also have fun, don't make it a chore to come to the rink. Think about when you were 8-14 or older and your head coach always seemed so uninterested or distracted from the rink, do you really want to be like that? No, so have fun, make it enjoyable and ALWAYS have the players bests interest in mind first before you make any practice plan decision, game decision, etc.
6. Most important, the parents. They can make or break you. We always hear crazy hockey parent stories but it really is not as bad as you think it is. Definitely do not let the parents ruin your confidence, thirst and love for coaching and the game. Secondly, make sure you involve them in everything. These are there kids and they have every right to ask a million questions, doubt you or not like you. But keep them involved and make sure you communicate with them on a monthly if not weekly process.
Once you do the certification, registration and everything. Like I said email local teams and rinks and see if they need help. Once you get some youth coaching experience under your belt and want to move on. I believe the AHCA Hockey website is the best source for job posts within the hockey community.
Hope this helps you. Let me know any other questions you have either reply or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org