Since the beginning of my coaching journey I have longed for more information to pass along to my players and fellow coaches. This has been because I have always wanted every player to be able to have the skills to play hockey and compete where ever they might go. Being from Texas and coaching hockey there, there is a stigmatism that teams from Texas (and the south) don’t know how to play the game from the great white north. While this seems silly that people think that way, it is the truth and it is a huge obstacle to overcome. This has been the driving force to show people just because I’m not from the land of frozen ponds and geese doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about. And just because my players speak with a country twang doesn’t mean they can’t play against the other kids who grew up on the ponds.
While my teams have played team from the north and lost, we were never blown out and the ones we won the other teams couldn’t compete with us. What was the difference between all of those game? It wasn’t the players, but the knowledge of the players passed down from the coaching. To have a successful team the coaches must possess a certain skill set to help their players. If a coach does the very minimum, the team will follow. If the coach goes over and beyond, the team will follow. Too many times have my teams gone into a game over prepared and not being challenged because the coach across the way doesn’t have the knowledge to show his players what to do. It is disheartening to me because I believe that every player SHOULD have the opportunity to learn how to play the game from qualified coaches.
While it is difficult to find these qualified coaches, (IE non parent coaches who have experience in coaching the game at different levels) yet it isn’t hard for the volunteer parent coaches or no experienced ones who really don’t understand the game more than the minimum that USA Hockey requires. It is great that these volunteers want to help and it really is the future of hockey in the US.
The governing body of ice hockey in the United States, USA Hockey, mandates that if any coach who wants to coach a team must attend their Coaching Education Program (CEP) to acquire the specific level (as well as watch videos) that are associated with the age groups they’ll be coaching. While this is a great idea, the information that USA Hockey supplies in these clinics and videos are the bare basics of the coaching paradigm for any hockey coach. Having a great base of knowledge for any coach is wonderful. However, the base is not enough if the players are going to be able to learn properly or compete in competition.
USA Hockey moved to the American Development Model a few years ago to help boost the players abilities and get the kids more touches of the puck during practice. This is a great idea that is based on European model practices that allows a lot of creativity. However, it is poorly executed when you have minimalist coaches and coaches who aren’t really qualified in the practices and theories. Are we helping or hurting these kids?
In my local area I have seen a hinderance of skill development because of this. Along with that is the notion that the coaches here know everything there is to know about hockey and are not interested in furthering their knowledge in the sport. Players who have the talent to move onto higher levels are forced to leave the area because of this. The coaches here don’t give the players a chance to the develop to their full potential because of this, causing the numbers in local hockey participants to dwindle every year, which isn’t good for growth of the sport in this area.
If these inexperienced coaches were able to collect valuable professional development (or learning) in an environment where they would feel comfortable to ask questions without the fear of being ridiculed, they would thrive which means that players will develop to where they would need to. This is my dream and my goal for these coaches. Get the correct, in depth information so they can go out and successfully train the future Olympic Champions and World Champions no matter where they are from or how much ice they have a year.
Too long has it been since America has been relevant in the hunt for mens international championships. Our last gold, in mens hockey, that the USA won in the Olympics was in 1980. We had respectable silver medals at 2002 and 2010 with professional players. Our last World Championship (at the senior level) was 1960. What has happened to our development of players over the years? Some players are shipped off to our development academies to help secure their futures in the NHL and other leagues. The problem with this is it costs a lot of money to send these players and most families can’t afford the costs. What then happens to the players that slip through the system who didn’t have the means to afford to go to these academies? Some never get the look or get on a platform to show their individual skill or get a chance to even develop their skill.
My goal is to make a one stop shop for all hockey coaches to be able to build on their base of knowledge. The site will be made up of a collection of informative and teaching videos, documents, animations, discussion, podcasts, interviews and other media to help advance the knowledge of any coach or player who is wanting to learn more about the game.
Worst Hockey Coaches Ever