Eric the conference was held May 7-10 in Heidelberg Germany. It was during the first week of the men's world championships. There were 260 coaches there from around the hockey world including places like Australia, South Africa, Korea and all the major hockey nations. A bus brought 50 coaches from Sweden.
The general concesus is that we are teaching the skills of the game but not teaching the kid's how to play the game. Game sense, game understanding etc. So most of the speakers stressed this aspect of coaching. There were some talks on off ice training, efficient use of the ice and how to handle players but the stress was on improving game play.
Daniel Coyle was the first speaker and he just wrote the book "The Talent Code" and he describle how our brain works in learning any kind of skill from speaking and walking to music and sports. The research says that anyone can learn anything if they are motivated to do it and spend the time to learn little bits at a time correctly and then reach a little beyond their comfort zone to learn more and more while always correcting mistakes. This creates learned patterns in our nervous system that are wrapped in a fatty substance called myelin and the more we perfect these patterns the more myelin wrapping and the faster we are able to do things. To be world class in anything takes about 10 years and 10 000 hours to produce these super efficient myelin wrapped circuits.
"Skill is a cellular insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows in response to certain signals." So we learn in small chunks that must be perfected before moving on (deep practice) afer we have a picture of the whole skill in our mind. We need to slow skills down and then learn to do them more quickly. Repeat and repeat. (think of how a baby learns to walk by trial and error.)
Something ignites this desire to learn and without it no one will put in the time and effort to do deep practice. To do this you need Master Coaching to guide you through the process.
Anyway that talk set the theme for how do we ignite players to want to be excellent, how do we use practice time efficiently to train. The problem comes because learning the technical skills is quite straight forward like learning music or how to read. You develop skills in isolation like how to do a toe drag or wrist shot.
LEARNING TO PLAY TEAM SPORTS IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF LEARNING. Instead of just having the skills team sports demand that you know when and where to use these skills based on cues around you like where you are on the ice, where your teammates are, the opponents, everyones speed, etc. So the circuits for this kind of learning demand all kinds of branches that recongnize the when and where and the appropriate response. We don't get that in simple skill practice.
Daniel went to Brazil to see why they produce so many world class soccer players. What he saw was a small area 5 on 5 game played on a basketball court sized field with a smaller heavier ball that doesn't bounce much. Futbol de salao or "soccer in a room" or as we say futsal. The kid's don't play on a big soccer field. They play this game in the small space and it keeps them involved more because you are always in the action and need quick moves, game awareness, close support etc..
So on this theme various speakers discussed how to incorporate more games into the on ice and off ice practices.
Juhani and I have been trying to promote this idea for years and they are slowly catching on. The speakers showed many small area games and games using jokers. So the idea is gaining momentum. They still don't get the idea of using modified rules that require certain skills such as only use a forehand pass, or only skate backwards but at least they recongnize the value of games at the IIHF level. My experience is that the Swedes have used games for many years and we do some games in North America. Coaches like Bill Beaney of Middlebury college have been using games for years (and winning National Championships). So I guess the idea is going from a fringe coaching technique to more of a mainstream concept.
Anyway I just uploaded the level 0-1 videos that are for teaching beginners how to skate, shoot and handle the puck. Half of the 55 cards are games. I still have to put titles on everything.
That sounds remarkable. That "Spark" the ignites the excitement to practice is discussed in "Bounce" by Matthew Syed. I mentioned it another thread as well. It quotes "The Talent Code" and other good books.
I know there is software that the US Development Program used this year to help teach Hockey Sense. It was by Intelligym and it is supposed to be introduced to everyone later this fall. Should be interesting to see what all it entails.
Thanks for sharing everything. I haven't wrote in a long time but started reading your site about 8 years ago when I first got into coaching. I still read your updates regularly and look forward to hearing your new ideas and the new ideas of others that you speak with and share for us all to read. I owe you a lot. Thanks, Eric
Eric, thanks for the kind words. The whole idea of this site is to help coaches, especially new coaches who are given a team and then say "Now what do I do?: I really see this now with my daughter who is coaching her sons 8 year old soccer team. She played one year when she was about the same age. She is always looking for resources to help her with practice.
It is also a great way for experienced coaches to share ideas on player development and team play. Dwight has set up such a good site here for example, If you put games into the search function it lists all references to games and links.
There are a lot of sites that charge for everything. The IIHF is developing a site that can be used for $10 a month. It seems to me that if players pay a registration fee to play then the organizations should be providing no charge assistance for the coaches. I heard at one conference that 60% of the head coaches change every year in Canadian minor hockey. It seems to me that they should be getting a lot more help from their local and national associations.
If you join the IIHF coaching site then you have access to the international conference material etc. So it may be a good deal.
Today I got E-mail from IIHF ( or I think it was from Slovak Ice Hockey Federation) about the IIHF International coaching symposium and IIHF International Youth coaching symposium. Youth Sympousium is 30th APRIL – 01st MAY, 2011 Bratislava, SLOVAKIA and the Senior sympousium is MAY 6th – 8th MAY 2011 Bratislava, SLOVAKIA
I got the same email from Igor Kai. This is the second year they are having both a youth and an advanced symposium. I attended the youth one in Heidelber, Germany last year. I have gone to lots of advanced ones and wanted to hear other opinions on youth development.
Dear Ice Hockey Friends,
We are pleased to announce the opening of registrations for the 2011 IIHF International Coaching Symposiums that will be held in conjunction with the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. Once again this year we will feature two symposiums both to be held in Bratislava:
The first is the IIHF International Coaching Symposium that this season will examine the "The Important development Stages of the young professional player" and will be held from the 6th - 8th May 2011.
The second is the IIHF International Youth Coaching Symposium for youth ice hockey coaches and will focus on player development and will operate on 30th April and 1st May 2011
For more information about both symposiums and the registration details please follow the link below:
As always with the timing of the IIHF conferences, I am away visiting family for the first Sunday in May (Bloomsday Road Race in Spokane WA) but there is a chance of making the 6-8th clinic. I teach till May 5th, then my high school teaching is done (I still have my junior high stuff, but might be able to take a week - 10 days?) I am intrigued and will look into it.
Dean M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training "Great education depends on great teaching."
Kai, I don't know what happened to our posts. Yours was about the IIHF conference and I will redo mine below. Dean the symposiums are agreat opportunity to stay current in the game and meet coaches from everywhere. I like the IIHF format. It is much more human than the HC ones. You attend lectures during the day and go to two games each night. At the HC ones they have Fri. that you have lectures from 8 in the morning til 10 at night. Usually a good social on Th. check in day and one evening. It is still worthwhile attending but much more intense.
Kai I can see our posts now so I will delete the rewrite.