I want to use this blog to be informative as possible whether it is about helping players get to the next level, scouting tips, nutrition/off-ice tips or just sharing some insight from a coaches perspective. Coaching has opened my eyes to a whole different perspective to the game. From a players stand point it is different obviously and transitioning from coach to player in a matter of five and a half months. I had to learn quickly, which has made me really invest in taking time to watch other coaches of all different levels.
Here are my top three tips when it comes to youth hockey coaches at the 10U, 12U, 14U level
1. Do not treat them like children, perhaps at 10 or 12 it is different but do not treat them like babies.
No 10 or 12 year old wants to be treated like a baby they get enough of that at home and at school. Treat them like men. I always treat my 14-year-old's like men. I give them a chance to speak, I let them have an opinion on things and I do not accept no bullsh*t or laziness. I try to show these kids what it is going to take to get the next level. Coaches do not treat kids like the are some cone on the ice, they have a brain speak to them like a human not a doll.
2. Have a plan when you get to the rink.
There is nothing worse than a coach who gets on the ice, does some ridiculous skating drill to start, then throws together a bunch of drills that have no benefit to the whole team. When designing drills realize you have players of all different skill levels. Have a learning point and reason behind everything you do. I always come to the rink with my drills on hand, talk to my team before practice about the drills and show them why we are doing x drill and what I want to see during x drill. Have a plan, don't be a disservice to the players and the parents by wasting their time.
3. Show up and make the most of every opportunity. Don't just show you care. ACTUALLY care.
This is the most important part of the three, it kills me to see some coaches not care for their players, not try to make them better or overall just come and go without really helping the kids or doing anything. I cannot stand when a coach just seems out of it, does not want to be there or just looks like he wants to be somewhere else. No one reached out to you and said "OMG we want you to coach please!" Usually you volunteer for it at this age, or some coaches are even paid, if you are a paid coach and do not make the most of what you have in front of you and do not care for your players. Get out and let the organization find someone else. You have a duty as a coach, you are to support, mold, guide, teach and develop these kids on and off the ice. You are to be a role model for them and care for them no matter what. Coaches if you give off positive energy and our enthusiastic about the game and teaching the kids, you may have just made 10-12 of your players want to continue to the next level and keep playing. Be of service, put the players before yourself. No one cares about the coach, help the grow the game no destroy it.