By: hockeygod (offline)  Tuesday, July 05 2011 @ 05:17 PM GMT (Read 181007 times)  

This thread is for discussing how we can make a greater impact on coaching methodologies... how we can become better coaches and in turn, make those coaches and players around us better.

John ("The Colombian") and I have been continually evolving as coaches and we are developing solutions to these areas. We have synthesized the Game Sense methodology, first purported by Thorpe in the UK in the 1980's, and the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and Play Practice techniques, into what we call the "Game Intelligence Training" approach (GIT) is our proposed solution. I have hinted at a few of our techniques below and I will continue to post aspects of this approach over time; along with other projects we are working on that will help make a positive difference to the professional development of coaches and players. It is our passion and purpose in life!
-----

The following opinion is based on my own personal experience as a player (retiring in 1986 to become a coach), a coach, a coach mentor / evaluator, someone who has contributed to developing coaching videos, manuals and certification content for Hockey Canada, one who has taught at the university level in neuro-motor psychology, decision training, coaching and strength and conditioning and one who has taught at skill academies for several years. I spend most of my 'free time' researching the areas of pedagogy, expertise and talent identification, neuro-motor psychology and decision-making. I have worked for longer than the criteria of 10 years / 10,000 hours of deliberate practice commonly accepted to become known as an expert and continue to do so as I am passionate about coaching and teaching!

I don't believe Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta (and other provincial governing bodies) spend enough time (or focus on the right aspects) on developing the coach and their abilities to teach; nor is there enough post-course / exam / evaluation mentorship provided. The governing bodies seem to be more concerned with providing a quick overview of communication and planning (the 'soft' side of coaching); then they spend the majority of the time teaching team tactics, systems and strategies and even the 'science' of coaching.

I have been trying to work 'from the inside' to help influence and initiate change but have had limited success so far. The hockey culture, while slowing changing, is still controlled by people who were products of a bygone era. I admit, I am frustrated by the pace of change (or lack thereof). So I am doing my small part in sharing on this forum... consider it a form of catharsis for me!

Without properly addressing the base skills of coaching (excellent teaching), we end up with an inverse pyramid that is doomed to collapse. Our base foundation is too weak and can't support the rest of the top-heavy structure! It doesn't matter if the coach knows a 1-2-2 from a left-wing lock; if he can't see the strengths and weaknesses in his own players (and if he doesn't know how to improve these weaknesses or design ways to hide these weaknesses, or see what the other teams S & W's are to take advantage of them) then what good is the all the knowledge in the world if you can't impart it to your players and other coaches?

I don't think we prepare our players to play the game properly. By this I mean we don't know HOW to capture and develop healthy, respectful competitiveness; link purposeful practices to games to purposeful practices (yearly / seasonal / macrocycle / mesocycle / minicycle planning); nor do we know HOW to design meaningful activities that capture those elements we are trying to improve.

We have little or no idea on how many puck touches and 'time with puck' our players have in a game... based on position. We have even less idea on this number in practice. HOW do we know if an activity is achieving it's purpose? I see far too many of the drills running too long, without purpose or correction or feedback at the end, with far too few people active. When they are active, it is for 10 seconds or less... and they may not touch a puck for the entire repetition! In a 15 minute drill, an individual player may take 20 repetitions, for a total time involvement of 3 minutes and 20 seconds! What are they doing for that other 12:40?

We don't know HOW to make drills into game-like situations (to develop hockey sense) - keeping track of performance ('the score') - nor do we know HOW to hold players accountable to their performance.

We tend to become 'spectator coaches' during practice and games. We do a poor job of paying attention to details in practice. These make a huge difference when it comes to the games! "You get what you accept!"

When should we stop the activity to provide or ask for feedback from our players? Why do we tend to 'tell' the players rather than ask them... or provide them with guidelines and let them figure it out (FIO)? After all, the game is the best teacher! How do we limit or extend the bandwidth for the feedback?

In short, I don't think we don't provide enough guidance towards the "Art of Coaching" during our coach certification - especially at the higher certification levels! (Hockey Canada no longer requires the sequential accumulation of certification. In other words, you can jump right in for certification at the level you are coaching. At the higher levels, there is minimal time spent on the Art of Coaching; it is more heavily-biased (almost exclusively) to the science and X's and O's!) I don't think we offer enough practical experience or followup contact / mentorship - at our lower levels. (I suppose this also applies to the higher levels too.)

I would be curious to hear from other coaches - their coach certification experiences (good and bad - what topics they would keep, add, subtract - any recommendations at all) and if they act as course conductors, what their impressions are of their content, delivery, evaluation and mentorship models for their area / country.

What aspects of the game / practice do you yourself, as a coach / administrator / course conductor, feel you need to improve upon? How do you think you can improve these shortcomings... can you think of ways to get better (and share them here?)


Please contribute to this thread and check back for responses. The off-season is a great time to reflect and plan...

I will continue to add elements of our "Game Intelligence Training" methodology and details about our upcoming projects to help improve the coaching community and ultimately, the players and the game!



Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: TomM (offline)  Friday, July 08 2011 @ 03:06 PM GMT  

I am reposting this booklet because it is a good resource for using SAG's. It is permissible to share this amongst coaches.
______________________________________________________________

This booklet by PAUL WILLETT was posted on the old bulletin board. It is a great starter for using SAG's in practice.

It is very difficult to teach transitioning from; 1 puck carrier to 2 pass receiver or 3 first checker or 4 defending away from the puck if you don't use games during practice.

If you simply use drills there is no higher thinking and problem solving required. The coach has already given the What, Where, When and How. The player doesn't need to solve these problems. There usually is no Why. So following instructions and skills vs no pressure are learned. Even when situations are practices like a 2-1 the player knows beforehand that it is a 2-1 and only needs good technique and mechanics, which are very important but not the ideal way to develop the Complete Player.

So transitioning between roles and problem solving are the main reasons for using games. The tacit learning is really how we learn to do most things. Other benefits are the fitness from efficient use of the ice and the F word which I have gotten in a lot of trouble for using over the last 30 years. I will say it. FUN


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   

TomM



Registered:: 06/25/08

Posts: 2947
By: hockeygod (offline)  Monday, August 15 2011 @ 03:09 PM GMT  

Finding the Appropriate Balance Between Technical and Outcomes-Based Instruction

As a Chartered Professional Coach, I receive a quarterly journal and this time, there is an excellent article in it that I want to share (title is above). I can't post the individual article, but it is on page 39:

www. coachesofcanada. com/coachesplan/uniflip_publication_spring_2011/


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: Eric (offline)  Tuesday, August 16 2011 @ 02:38 PM GMT  

A link that you might find interesting....

axonpotential.com/



   

Eric



Registered:: 02/24/10

Posts: 76
By: hockeygod (offline)  Tuesday, August 16 2011 @ 04:55 PM GMT  

Thanks Eric! That link looks intriguing...


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: Eric (offline)  Tuesday, August 16 2011 @ 06:01 PM GMT  

I figured it would be up your alley!

   

Eric



Registered:: 02/24/10

Posts: 76
By: campi (offline)  Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:50 PM GMT  

Eric

I coach in the US and I've been making this claim for years.

Our players have all this specialized training available to them; skating, shooting, defensive clinics, etc which are prepared by former pros, etc. In my area alone from the time I played in the 80's until now there are twice the amount of rinks.

I do agree I have seen our players become better skilled players, but what is eerie is they are not better hockey players. The team game is not there. I watched teams when I played that I believe would do better, while not having the skill level that the present players have.

I believe the reasons are that the coaching is the weakest link, we do not have the sharing or capabilities that I see given to our players. In my area there is a lot of ego between coaches where sharing does not come easy. I have forever been trying to gather the group of coaches with the organizations I have been to organize coaches training sessions each month during the season but I find it is very difficult.

My question is where are the resources which are available. I am constantly searching, asking and prodding to find different ways to education and mentor my players and assistant coaches.

I use so much of my experiences as a player in my everyday coaching, which has been a good resource but the overall sense is that as a group, we are loosing ground with the players.

Campi

   

campi



Registered:: 07/01/08

Posts: 7
By: TomM (offline)  Wednesday, August 24 2011 @ 12:26 PM GMT  

Good points Campi. Game understanding at a quick glance is the key to putting everything together while under actual game pressure.

If you are a boxer you will learn how to jab, hook, cross and then you practice putting these things into a chunk so they become a movement pattern. The fighter needs to read the opponents defense for the appropriate time to use this attack as well as read the opponents body language to predict his attack. To prepare for a fight he throws chunks or sequences of punches at his trainers gloves and has a sparring partner to practice in a more realistic situation.

We need to do that sort of thing in hockey practice. Individual skill drills give us the movement for specific skills and they need to be inserted into movement patterns with multiple skills. Take these chunks and do situation drills like 1-1, 2-1 which practice reading the defender (like punching into the trainers mitt).

These situations should be then practiced in one puck transition games that are continuous and you must finish the play i.e. fight for rebounds while the D must make a breakout pass vs a situational drill where you simply return to the line.

Because the game situation constantly changes between loose puck, offense and defense the players have to learn to recognize the patterns in each situation. Small area games like a cross ice game increase the player touches vs a full ice game by an average of 600%. So these small games create these game patterns often and accelerate the players recognition or game reading skills.

The game is played full ice so it is important to also do full ice scrimmages and create situations with modified rules that teach good habits. A great way to work on team play is to combine practice with other teams and have controlled scrimmage and take turns with 5 min. pplay, 4 on 4, 6-5 etc. Have a few minutes between each situation to go over the team play at the bench.

We have to learn how to effectively teach the constant transiton between the situations of loose puck, offense, defense and the transiton on offense from puck carrier to puck support and on defense from checking the puck carrier to covering away from the puck.

We need to develop these patterns when we coach. Move from the isolated skills to small situations and on to game situation. (being able to spell and type fast doesn't make you an author and being able to dangle around the pylons doesn't make you a player)

We are doing a good job of teaching the individual skills. The challenge in education or coaching is 'can they apply these skills in real life situations.'


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   

TomM



Registered:: 06/25/08

Posts: 2947
By: hockeygod (offline)  Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 08:13 PM GMT  

OK this is a continuation from Dave's comments on the forum "Clearing the Defensive Zone"...

Dave, I want to comment on your middle paragraph and provide my insights:

"A coach I worked with this summer had a great method of stopping play, questioning what went wrong, waking them through it the correct way slowly, then sending the players back to line (if it was a drill) or back to the original position (scrimmage) and starting play back up with a successful pass/play. I liked this method because it went beyond pointing out what players did wrong, walked them through doing it right, then started back up at a pace closer to competition. The one drawback to this is the players not involved in the play need to be paying attention or they will recreate the same errors. Also the players tend to get frustrated with all the stoppages of play, but it sends a strong message that you need to do it right or we'll stand around all day/night until we do and everyone is accountable. If they really can't perform the skills needed to do what you are asking, then then it is time to back up and do more simple skill drills. Then come back and try again. (Tom's books have great ideas for teaching the skills through progressions and games to apply them in, by the way.)"

1) Love the questioning nature of the coach - instead of 'telling'.

2) How often does the coach need to stop the play; and when? (The art of coaching.) Or can the coach accomplish what he wants by talking to the kids between reps while they are waiting to go again - rather than stop the play? Sounds like he is stopping the play too much for my liking, but I wasn't there to see it.

3) RE: the drawback you mention (players not involved / frustration with "all the stoppages of play") - I go back to, Why does one need to stop the play so much?

BELOW IS WHAT I BELIEVE IS THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL COACHING (and the endemic problem with traditional coaching - patterned drills that don't reflect games therefore detraining our mind and stunting our Game Sense; no objective measures and no accountability):

If you want to increase attention with those waiting (and limit frustration), play games that involve scoring (of some sort - not just goals... but successful shots on net, decisions, good passes tape to tape, whatever it is - but 'it' / 'they' need to be measurable.)

Examine your work:rest ratio... keep more kids more active! Kids LOVE to PLAY!

Hold the individuals / team accountable for their scores / outcomes. If you play Smart Transitional Games or some of Tom's games, everyone is involved with less 'down time'. If the 'losers' have to do a punishment at the end, this sharpens intensity, focus and execution (not to mention readiness because the kids are competing; not doing mindless repetitions of traditional drills where nobody keeps score and nobody cares if you miss the net, make a bad pass, etc!

By removing the 'drill in isolation' and placing it into a realistic game-like situation (under pressure), you kill multiple birds with one stone: skills practice, pressure, heads up, decision-making, outcomes, accountability... THE GAME IS THE BEST TEACHER and IMPLICIT TEACHING IS THE BEST OF ALL. The players receive feedback when they make a good or bad decision and it results in a goal against, a turnover, etc. It's a tangible result.

If you put two groups of equal players into an explicit learning scenario and an implicit learning scenario, the implicit scenario players are more resilient under stress... they will be less likely to 'choke' under pressure... IE in a game, when it counts!

Real-life experience, under competitive conditions, inoculates us against stresses of the real thing (a game). This way, we are training for game conditions. The Spartans had it right - train incredibly hard so when they went into battle, it was (relatively to them), a picnic!

99.99% of ALL coaches / teams, do it WRONG! They use patterned drills... then wonder why they struggle to compete during games! So-called pro players and coaches included! I have coached pros before several years ago and again last year; it was evident first-hand. It is my opinion (and John's) that they were scared to compete! They didn't want to look bad in front of their peer group... who does? But to be the ultimate competitor, you need to park your ego and embrace failure. Fall down, try new things, compete and if you lose, ask why and try again. Persevere. Failure should steel one's resolve to get back in the saddle and try a new way... cause the old way isn't working! (Definition of insanity: do the same thing and expect different results.) The pros aren't used to competing or training competitively. They 'compete' 82 times per year in the NHL (league games); practices are de-training their competitive spirit (drills, more boring drills!) and then the coaches ask the players to 'turn it on' and compete in games. Counter-intuitive to me!

Not trying to pick on Dave as he is merely relating what he saw. But I am trying to sharpen our collective coaching awareness to become better coaches! I challenge each one of you to think about 'how' and 'why' you coach. Can you identify weaknesses and possible solutions? At the end of the day, my rant is to inspire you to become a better coach for your players...

Comments / Rebuttals / Discussion? Looking forward to it.

(Dave, thanks for firing me up and inspiring me to write something 'original' rather than posting articles!)
----------------------------------------
Dean, Dave, MMB (I don't know why your posts don't appear unless I log in) it is great to see some discussion here. I have been posting for weeks in isolation and no response; even though I have posted some pretty controversial concepts.
Great.
That is why this site is here. I would love to read other coaches opinions.
Horst Wein sets up tournaments and games in modified space and number of players and they play. When they are having trouble he has them do corrective exercises (drills) to deal with it and then back to the game.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: Anonymous: Rookie coach ()  Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 12:30 AM GMT  

Dean,
First off, I agree with what you said in the Clearing the Defensive Zone post .
Too clarify for other coaches , would you not do drills to teach each role in the defensive zone . Drills that each forward can do as a progression. Sometimes a winger is the first player back and he assumes the center support role. The center must then take the winger position . Parts of the whole task .

Teach each part or role of the D zone with a transition drill or game.
Do a drill teaching the role of the far winger stretching out behind the D across to the puck side as you mentioned.

Then applying these roles to games.

A number of these transition games are great . A good number of them use one puck with a shot on net with support . But the game is also played in the corners .

How would you teach roles of support in defensive zone using games or starting with drills ?

You said " The game is the best teacher "

For a young or new coach that you were giving advice too.

Would you start with drills then games?

Thanks Dean. Keep up the great posts.

Rookie Coach
------------------------------------------------------
Rookie Coach, Transition Games are games and the play is all over the ice. If the player dumps in the puck or is forced to the corner then the play is in the corner. So you work on all aspects of the game in transition games. The flow of the game determines where the puck is. You can put in rules such as dump and chase to create more low battles as I intend to do in our next practice.

I started Dzone by circling the slot and saying that is where the game is won and lost. Don't let them shoot from there and get into the offensive zone and get shots, rebounds or deflections. We then did the Bob Murdoch game where 5 defenders stand in the low slot and can only take one stride and 5 attackers are allowed to do anything to score in 60". If the defenders keep their sticks in the lanes, tie up sticks, block shots and box out then it is unusual if the attackers can score. Next we progress to one on and a box behind for 60" shifts.

It is a challenge to get the light to turn on but that is why teams have coaches.
Tom















By: DaveM (offline)  Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 03:33 AM GMT  

Dean - Glad I could be the whipping boy here!

In an ideal world I would be done with drills altogether, but I can't make that leap yet. The example I gave in the original post was specifically about getting players to recognize when their bad habits have a negative impact on the team's play. Many habits are so ingrained that players are completely unaware that they have them. A controlled scrimmage is one way to heighten the awareness of the frequency of these habits. (Herb Brooks referred to them as the drill he would do if he could only do one.) The danger in doing this is that it can be overly negative coaching, but if you correct the play and let them start back up properly you can turn this into some positive feedback, sort of like stopping video, rewinding, and then slowly going through the better way to do it. No, it doesn't keep everyone moving like a small game does, but I wonder how long it would take our players to realize that facing the puck would be the answer to their breakout problems when they have been doing it chronically for years AND our defense doesn't make them pay for it.

I want to get to the point where I'm using only games as a teaching tool, but I think a lot depends on the maturity, skill set, and fundamental skills and habits of your players. I'm trying to break old habits in older (14-18 yr old) players, for example, and would certainly not use the same tactics for 9-10 year old players. I also would not use this method as a primary teaching and learning method for a whole season. This is really about stopping something the players are doing unconsciously, and once the behavior has been minimized we can hopefully move on to more fluid games for learning new tactics and approaches.

I've learned a lot about game sense, transition games, and teaching games for understanding through the resources I've been introduced to on this site. The best I can say about my approach at this point is that it is somewhat hybrid. First I try to identify what I want to improve or have the players learn (I still try to cover too much). After that I see if I can recall a game that emphasizes the skill or tactic. Next, is there a transition game that would accomplish this? If not, is there a drill we could use to make it a competition? Finally,what specific skill should we emphasize in a warm-up that will be relied on in accomplishing the mission?

So Dean, while I'm not entirely a convert yet, I do feel like I'm getting there. Your passion for the topic is inspiring, but I don't feel like I have a game situation for every need yet. Once you publish that book on smart transition games I'll have a lot more tools to work with Mr. Green (If you need an editor let me know!) When it comes to breaking down old habits though, I think of the descriptions I've read of some of the masters (John Wooden for ex.) coaching a practice; slowing things down, breaking the moves down, then building them up into game speed, and repeating with constant feedback. It might not work for everyone, but it feels like the right fit for this purpose. Now if I could just be that organized, articulate, and inspiring,

Dave

ps. Rookie Coach - Here are some games that might help hone breakout skills. Hope this helps.
--------------------------------------------------
Dave just to interject a bit here.
We used 4 cross ice games to teach the concepts of angling, tight gaps, D side, communicating, switching, creating offensive 2-1's, close support. I called them all together a few times each game to point out things. It only took about 30" but I think controlled scrimmage is important. When we do full ice things I like to talk with them when they are resting but sometimes having them FREEZE on the whistle is a good way to have a realistic situation right in front of everyone and find solutions together.
Tom

   

DaveM



Registered:: 08/24/09

Posts: 79
By: hockeygod (offline)  Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 04:33 AM GMT  

Ahhh Dave, you aren't the whipping boy - just inspiring me to write something original! You pushed my buttons, that's all and I thank you for that.

With two kids and teaching skills academies, the book is on the backburner... I am pecking away at it. I will let you know when it's ready! Might take you up on your offer as a proofreader!

Glad to hear of your coaching evolution... one day you will see the light...! Wink



And thanks Rookie Coach for your comments. Me being me, I would start with lots of 1 vs 1 games. I have a ton of them - they can be played in all areas of the ice. I now don't worry so much about C, W, D... learn to understand the game (it is fluid, after all) and work on skills and understanding for all positions. Perhaps you can look at some of Tom's games and start the puck with the defensive team, deep in their zone? You might modify the game; when the defending team successfully breaks it out, they dump it in at the far end, so the new defenders have to break out from deep inside their zone... while the team that broke out and dumped forechecks? Set up a rotation so you break out, forecheck, come off. Keep 'score' of successful breakouts, etc.

I was thinking about a new game today - a good one if I do say so myself! When I showed it to The Colombian, he agreed. We will refine it, test it and perhaps post it. It is a small space battle. When you think about it, hockey is a game of 1 vs 1 battles all over the ice; along the boards, below the net, in open ice, etc.

Essentially, this game uses all of the faceoff circles as battle zones - 3 or 4 people at a time controlling a puck inside, trying to knock other pucks out. (need 3-4 people waiting outside each circle in a line, with pucks... so 6-8 people per circle). If they are successful, the person who lost the puck leaves the circle and goes to the back of the line... a new puckcarrier enters so there are always 3-4 people inside. Every man for himself. Set a time limit; say 10 minutes. We are working on a scoring matrix (a +/- system) so the game is measurable / provides for accountability. Forces players to keep their heads up, control their puck.

More thoughts later...


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: DaveM (offline)  Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 04:09 PM GMT  

Good stuff gentlemen....the "whipping boy" comment was in jest, and I appreciate the conversation and ideas. Keep them coming, and I'll try to do the same.

Dean - How would you correct the habits of turning your back to the puck and not having your stick on the ice / presenting a target? These are pretty tough things to quantify & track for me, but I know they make a difference in our play. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Dave

   

DaveM



Registered:: 08/24/09

Posts: 79
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, September 29 2011 @ 03:08 AM GMT  

Quote by: DaveM

Dean - How would you correct the habits of turning your back to the puck and not having your stick on the ice / presenting a target? These are pretty tough things to quantify & track for me, but I know they make a difference in our play. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Dave



Get the team to identify that this is a problem that needs to be rectified; and would they like the assistance of the coaching staff? They need to realize that facing the puck and showing their stick will benefit them individually and collectively.

Lead them towards similar punishments I have outlined below and get them to agree to it. This is a sales job - how you present it is up to you; keeping in mind your age and skill category. In the opinion of the group, you need to be a respected coach; they need to know you genuinely care about them (you aren't some crazed maniac looking to kill them with punishment!)

You (and your assistants) will watch for it and punish the entire team (goalies included) when you see it happen. Be consistent - don't ignore any occurances and don't favour people.

You are doing this because they want to get better; they asked for it. You care for them and want them to achieve their goals. You are holding them to their standard. (This is important!)

Standard 1: I would create two teams of skaters - by jersey colour. Then implement a scoring system that awards 1 point for 'doing it right' and if someone does it wrong, that resets that teams' score to zero. Identify (loudly while the drill goes on) who the wrong-doer is. After a predetermined time for the activity (5-10 minutes), which team wins? Winners get a water break; losers do pushups / situps or skate or whatever punishment you want.

If this doesn't work... progress to a higher standard... Standard 2.

Each time it happens... You don't have to raise your voice. Stay calm...

Coach: Whistle... "STOP! Everybody (including goalies) give me 10/10 (pushups and situps)!"

After they are done, ask the group why they did 10/10.

Players: "Because DAVE M turned his back / didn't have his stick on the ice..."

Coach: "Right. Thank you for screwing up, DAVE M, and helping to remind us to face the puck / keep your stick on the ice. This will make us better. Now back to the activity. Next time someone tries to help remind us, it will be 20/20!"

Repeat as necessary up to 40/40. Then you go to 5 minutes of wind sprints for the whole team. Then 10 minutes. I have yet to see it go past 5 minutes of sprints; usually the pushups and situps are enough... but apparently it happened once. From 10 minutes to 30 minutes (which was the end of practice.) John the Colombian said it got their attention (U18 boys) and the behaviour practically vanished... only happened the odd isolated time at practice and then it was back to 10/10 for the team! Int he future, they remembered...

Players: "Jesus DAVE M, remember last time this happened and we did all those bloody pushups and situps and then puked doing wind sprints during practice? Pull your head out of your a$$... we don't want to do that again."

DAVE M: "Sorry boys, won't happen again!"

Peer pressure works wonders when the coach holds the group to the highest standard!

Sounds easy, but it works. It's how you 'set it up' and how you manage it.

Good luck, Herr Dictator Dave M... don't forget to wear your mustache!


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, September 29 2011 @ 03:12 AM GMT  

Dave M,

While in Moose Jaw and Tri-Cities (WHL), we had a warmup passing sequence that we called "D Escape". If the D didn't show me their sticks flat on the ice, they received the pass wherever their stick was... in the air. Of course, because 'they' had screwed up the drill by not presenting their stick flat on the ice, the team had to skate... They got the message ASAP.

Just did a similar demo with Grade 8's last week. The teacher had his stick at waist level and asked me to pass him the puck. I understood what he wanted me to do... so I rifled it at his stick blade. Bang / crash off his stick and into the boards. The kids eyes opened wide...

The kids immediately got the message.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, September 29 2011 @ 03:25 AM GMT  

Dave M,

Please send me an email through this site so we can chat...

Thanks


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, September 29 2011 @ 03:50 AM GMT  

Quote by: campi

Eric

I coach in the US and I've been making this claim for years.

Our players have all this specialized training available to them; skating, shooting, defensive clinics, etc which are prepared by former pros, etc. In my area alone from the time I played in the 80's until now there are twice the amount of rinks.

I do agree I have seen our players become better skilled players, but what is eerie is they are not better hockey players. The team game is not there. I watched teams when I played that I believe would do better, while not having the skill level that the present players have.

I believe the reasons are that the coaching is the weakest link, we do not have the sharing or capabilities that I see given to our players. In my area there is a lot of ego between coaches where sharing does not come easy. I have forever been trying to gather the group of coaches with the organizations I have been to organize coaches training sessions each month during the season but I find it is very difficult.

My question is where are the resources which are available. I am constantly searching, asking and prodding to find different ways to education and mentor my players and assistant coaches.

I use so much of my experiences as a player in my everyday coaching, which has been a good resource but the overall sense is that as a group, we are loosing ground with the players.

Campi



Campi, I was on holidays when this was posted so I missed it...

My responses:

1) Players are better skilled but lack the understanding of the game. In my opinion, it is because the coaches don't understand the game... so how can we expect the blind to lead the blind? This is a philosophical statement, but please bear with me...

The game is an entity all to itself. We can't begin to understand the infinite permutations and combinations within the game. As coaches, we see it from our perspective (which has been shaped by our backgrounds, experience, education, etc.) and usually we see it from the bench... not on the ice from the point of view of each of our players. We also get the benefit of video (at higher levels) so we can go over it later and be masters of hindsight.

We try to break the game into little parts so our little minds can try to make sense of it. We traditionally do this through the use of 'drills' to try to capture discrete elements of the game, so we can perform repetitive actions that we think will help us perform when it comes time to play again. 99.99% of the coaches use boring drills with too much talking / management time and far too little active time that miss the intent entirely - drills that come nowhere near to replicating the game experience - and then they don't hold their players accountable. This approach fails miserably, but we repeat this formula for insanity... expecting different results. We as coaches are doing it all wrong... well, at least the 99.99% are.

If you have read Tom's book and are using games / pressure / accountability as much of possible, then welcome to the .01 coaching club my friend! Or at least I hope you are taking steps towards this Game Intelligence Training methodology - like Dave M. Soon, the game will reveal itself to be the best teacher of the game... you just need to take the leap of faith.


2) Unfortunately, the governing bodies still cling to these drill books and this 'insanity methodology' like demented minstrels waving their bibles (TOM: How did you like my one-liner I cleverly inserted into this rant?) and they continue to perpetuate the old school coaching. I also don't believe we support our coaches AFTER they gain their requisite certification... but it grows late and that is another cross to bear at a later time.

I have seen coaches with big egos here in Canada too. If they don't want to share, that's their problem. Seek out other coaches who are like-minded; they are out there. Identify some higher profile coaches in your local area; try to attend their practices, make yourself seen / try to introduce yourself and develop a relationship with them. Ask them for help; what would they do in xyz situation? Stay persistent. Eventually, you will find a mentor or two.

Often times, I think some coaches don't share because (a) the fear they might lose their job if they give away their secrets... it is a results-based business and they don't want to leak any info if it could come back to bite them! (b) lots of coaches aren't actually any smarter than you and don't want to reveal that they aren't as smart as some make them out to be... their sense of ego is too big! (c) lots of coaches think it is a sign of weakness to ask for help - they would rather suffer in silence that ask for help, or share.


3) The IIHF offers coaching clinics in conjunction with the World Championships every year. A nice excuse to travel, enjoy some hockey, some culture (beer!), meet some colleagues, make new friendships and learn what others are doing. I find these clinics WAY better than the certification clinics you have to attend. You learn a ton over beers with people attending the conference, away from the confines of the lecture hall, too. But it is up to you to seek out these opportunities (not always possible due to cost / time away.)

There might be some grains of knowledge in local MHA clinics / regional / national Hockey USA clinics... but I can't comment as I have never attended these. (I live in The Great White North, eh?)


Continue to be a lifelong learner and ask lots of questions. Hope this helps...


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: TomM (offline)  Saturday, October 01 2011 @ 04:00 PM GMT  

It would be great if we had a mini ABC seminar some evening during the IIHF World's in Helsinki-Stockholm the first week of May 2012, or maybe the day following the coaching seminar. I don't know if there are any details where and when yet.

Just throwing out the idea so people can start stuffing their piggy banks for the trip. The seminar usually ends about 4 and then dinner and two tickets for games that evening. Way better than in NA where they usually go from 8 in the morning til 10 at night and there is little time to share. (to be fair they have one social night)


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   

TomM



Registered:: 06/25/08

Posts: 2947
By: hockeygod (offline)  Saturday, October 01 2011 @ 06:15 PM GMT  

Tom,

Unfortunately for me, I am always in Spokane WA the first Sunday in May to visit family and run Bloomsday. This has been a tradition going back to the early 1980's and I have only missed it twice since then - both times for the World Championships. As much as I would like to attend Helsinki / Stockholm (or others), I am reluctant to miss my annual family time. In fact, there is a good chance I will be taking an extra two weeks of holidays right after that so our family and friends can go mountain biking in Bend OR again. If you are going to the WC's, you will have to carry the torch!

I am thinking we should set up a coaching conference in Calgary for people of this site and other local coaches. We could look to do something over a Fri - Sun. If we have advance notice, John and I can get some athletes and facilities put together to run some demonstrations. If we have enough coaches, we can also run the coaches through dryland and on-ice activities using our Smart Transitional Games; plus use the athletes so the coaches can see / ask questions. Of course, the hotstoves / Q & A sessions will provide for maximum learning! You could also run an ice session using your ABC games... we would have no shortage of stuff over 2.5 days; we would still accommodate a 'good' schedule by scheduling down time (depending on the time of year, we could look to watch an NHL game or practice, plan some good suppers at local restaurants, sight-see some local sporting landmarks (Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, Winsport, take people out skating in the Olympic Oval, go mountain biking in the Rocky Mountains, whatever - especially if people are coming from out of town.)

I know the interest is there... We just did a dryland presentation here in Calgary last Friday night. We had about 25 athletes; 35-40 parents and 10 coaches attend. We were inundated with questions afterward and overwhelmed with inquiries for our services (team, private, groups, school programs, coach mentoring, etc.) Everybody that we spoke to declared that they had never seen this type of coaching before and they all wanted their athletes to be exposed to it. (The coaches wanted further discussions and mentoring). We have also been in conversations with a couple of interested NHL and major junior teams and a Tier 2 team, regarding our coaching methodology and how it positively impacts player (and coach) development.

John and I have a package available where we travel to various cities / towns to present our Game Intelligence Training and Smart Transitional Games to associations - for athlete development and coach mentoring. If anybody is interested, they should let me know. Our costs can be offset by hosting a local coaching clinic in the host town / city and charging registration fees. We will be doing a week-long on and off-ice workshop for another MHA Oct 2-6.
----------------------------------------

Dean everything is possible if coaches want it. Maybe the weekend before the Worlds in Turku so Juuso could present. Horst Wein stayed in Juuso's Sauna Hotel last spring. He may want to join us.

An international seminar in Calgary would be great. It is the home of Hockey Canada and 12 000 youth players. So always a lot going on.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Monday, October 03 2011 @ 04:27 AM GMT  

John and I did a dryland demo for about 45-50 coaches tonight. We had a middle school gym for two hours and played games. We did a warmup game (partner tag); some dynamic warmup activities (soccer warmup); played reaction games (side by side / face to face / Mirror Faking); did a skills demo with soccer balls; then played some Smart Transitional Games (1 end zone / end to end); then we played four versions of our 1 vs 1 game (side by side / 45 degrees (Angle Game) / face to face / and backpressure. We used 4 floor hockey nets and floorball sticks. (We had tennis balls, which suck on gym floors big - time! Must use whiffle balls in the future... they can be weighted down with plastic bags inside.) We finished with King's Scoring Game. Now we will be primarily on-ice from Mon - Thursday. We have 14 teams we are working with - each time gets two ice sessions. Monday, we work with the coaches on-ice and then do another off-ice session. Should be fun!


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 03:47 AM GMT  

We did 1.25 hours on ice tonight with about 40 coaches from a local MHA. We ran some fun warmup games (using three zones of the ice) and rotated the coaches every 4 minutes. Then we did some general skating exercises usning the full length of the rink for 10 minutes, then broke them into 5 groups into different small areas of the ice. I lead 2 groups at one end below the blue line (skating & puck control) while another instructor did some creative skill moves in the NZ. Barb Marsh, from Hockey Alberta, led the other two groups in the far end in some passing skills.

Following the on ice, we did another 1.5 hours in a local gym (they rented it for $7 per hour!!!! Coaches, look into your local school gyms for extra training!) We did some more dynamic warmup moves, some eye / hand coordination games in partners (using tennis balls), then broke the guys into 2 groups. One group went with Barb and played some modified games; I led my group through some floorball techniques ans skills. We worked on toe drags, 360 degree stick handling, various grip technique, deking and some nervous system overload ('goofy handed' - if you are a right shot, get a left stick and practice skills the 'goofy' way before reverting back to your dominant hand.) We finished with 1-handed work (top hand only / bottom hand only / forehand only figure 8's / backhand only figure 8's)... primarily introducing skill stuff using different modalities (dryland / floorball sticks and tennis balls... other balls recommended too.)

For someone who leans heavily towards the 'game' side and letting the game be the best teacher, I felt this 'skills' session went very well. The skills are especially critical for the U6 kids. We helped equip the local coaches with lots of ideas to carry forward to their teams and players... hoping to allow the kids to get better and have more FUN!

The coaches really worked hard tonight. I was impressed by the overall ability of the group and their desire to learn. They did an outstanding job. The sweat was dripping off them after the ice session and the dryland... I bet there will be many 'feeling it' over the next couple of days... "Men, that pain you are feeling is DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness)!" Several of them reported that all the pushups they had to do as punishment on Monday (meted out by "the Colombian" for various indiscretions... and losing some Smart Transitional Games!) certainly made their pecs sore!


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: TomM (offline)  Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 01:43 PM GMT  

Dean, in my opinion Game Intelligence Training is developing the Tool Box. Skill training with lots of reps, good technique and efficient use of the ice is developing the tools.

If a player can't skate or puck handle it doesn't matter if they read the game well and are creative. They need to develop the tools and learn how to use them at the same time. That is why it is important to put skills they just practiced into game situations.

It sounds like it was a good session on and off the ice.

Tom


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   

TomM



Registered:: 06/25/08

Posts: 2947
By: hockeygod (offline)  Wednesday, October 05 2011 @ 07:16 PM GMT  

Last night we had both ice rinks humming... I worked on one side with another instructor (John was training the NTC U18 soccer players at another site) and only two of the local MHA coaches showed up (we were expecting 6-8 MHA coaches total); so we modified our plan to include more activity / games (we had 40+ kids). Once we finished this 75 min session (skating and puck control were the themes of the evening), we jumped over to the other rink for two more sessions. We had 5-6 year olds for the first two sessions; then 7-8's and 9-10's for the last two. We had more MHA coaches for the last ones, so the sessions went even better. We used three stations to play warm-up games at the start for 10-15 minutes; then we broke into 5 stations to work on skills / challenges in small areas. From the coaches I spoke with during and after, they really enjoyed the sessions and learned lots. Tonight and Thursday night, John and I will take the lead with our Game Intelligence Training / Creativity themes for the rest of our sessions.

On top of our private groups and school groups for hockey and soccer, we now have a request to train high school football too. This afternoon, I spoke with an NHL team and they are interested in meeting with me to discuss our Game Intelligence Training. John spoke with a CFL team a few weeks ago and they want to talk more about something next year; so we will see if these conversations lead anywhere... but it is heartening to hear people are open-minded toward our approach to training team sports.
------------------------------

Dean back in 72 when the Russians came calling for the Paul Henderson series (why isn't he in the Hall of Fame; in the biggest month of hockey history he was the best player) everyone watched them train with the circuits and lots of flow. Our practices were terrible at that time. Everyone wanted to be like the Russians and we have been pumping out drills since. We forgot that half of their practice was games and we stopped doing them (it always used to be controlled scrimmage) and went to the drill and practice model that they threw out of education in the late 60"s. Sport has been trapped in this time warp.

You can teach Game Playing Roles (ind. offensive and ind defensive skills) using drills but because they are robotic and repetitive you don't gain game understanding and you better not be creative during a drills. Game playing roles 2 and 4 (team offense and team offense) require decision making that drills don't provide. and that is why Game Intelligence Training is the missing component to developing the "Complete Player."

That is why this site is here. So keep beating the drum and maybe if you get the right tune coaches and associations will start listening. It is getting better but we have a long way to go.

I have filmed about 12 games from our on and off ice practices this week. I will post one a day. Many havebeen uploaded already but I haven't done the description and diagram yet. (they take me about an hour each)


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, October 06 2011 @ 05:16 AM GMT  

Tom,

It's a coincidence that you post these comments... John and I were wondering today, "Why does hockey seem to be stuck in this drill mentality?" Now we now... damn North American coaches and their interpretations of Russian Hockey!

I remember after the '72 Series, my dad took me down to the old Calgary Corral to watch the Russians practice. I believe they were touring the country, playing some exhibition games against NHL teams or maybe it was during the '76 Series... not sure, but I was in awe of their skills! They had the old-school wooden chairs out on the down one side. As they skated laps to warm up, along the side without chairs, they handled the puck, passed and stretched. Along the other side, they had these chairs back to back with a stick lying across the top (backs) between them... so like a high jump. The Russians would skate up to them, jump them (both feet) in full stride and keep going. As I recall, there were 4 chairs on one side. The explosive strength was impressive. Then they started passing along both sides of the ice... maintaining control of the puck while jumping... and still passing (and receiving) on the tape. Incredible timing!
--------------------------------
Dean in the mid 90's I did a couple of hockey schools in Vierumaki, Finland. One year the Russian team Kazan was practicing the two weeks I was there. It was amazing watching them practice. Their coach weighed about 300 lbs (150 kg) and he didn't go on the ice but instead yelled into a microphone from the bench. They had really good practices. I remember one passing drill where they made terrible passes to one another and the goal was to be able to handle bad passes.

I was lucky enough to coach with Vladimir Jursinov (IIHF hall of fame) in Austria. He came one week a month to do the skills sessions. I knew him before as Juhani Wahlsten and him are good friends and the three of us presented at the 97 IIHF World Championships and we also have done seminars together. There are a few videos on this site with him running sessions. I wish I would have filmed a few more. When he was the head coach of TPS (Finnish elite league club) he had me run a practice on body checking technique.

The Russians are very dynamic skaters and really develop the core strength.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, October 06 2011 @ 05:48 AM GMT  

Wednesday night was a long one... the rink or MHA changed all of our ice times, so we were on the ice for 5+ straight hours... no breaks or floods! We had 2 sessions with U8; then 2 with U10; the last one was a combined U12 / U14 group. The 4th session overlapped the third and fifth one, so my feet were protesting by the time it was over! Unfortunately, with all these ice times back to back, we had no time to debrief (or pre-ice) the coaches, so this key aspect of coach development got away... On top of this, I was on the ice this morning with my Junior High... so I am pretty tired now! Being "on" for both the players and the coaches (and parents / association) takes a lot out of me. This week has been like a big energy vampire!

To warmup, we played a 'pinnie tag' game; then 2 variations of the 'Bucket Game'. Next we played 1 vs 1 (side by side and 45 degrees). We finished with the Spartan Box 1 vs 1 and worked our way up to 2 vs 2 and 3 vs 3 for the older kids. They loved the games! "Better than drills," they all said!

The TD of the local MHA told me tonight that he has heard nothing but positives from the players, parents and coaches; so that was nice to hear. We are trying our best to keep the kids active and learning and having fun; and to do our best on the coach development side, even with limited debriefs. Fortunately, it sounds like we will be coming back to do a follow up for them once or twice throughout the season.

Tomorrow is our last day. We have several more sessions on both ice surfaces. The ice times have been mixed up again - oh joy! John and I will focus on the Games / Creativity, but I have to also run another puck control / skating session in the middle. Two more sessions in the morning with my skill academies first... then I will be relaxing this weekend as my voice is shot and I have a sore throat... I feel like I am getting rundown. I haven't had time to work out all week - bummer.

-------------------------------
The ice must have been terrible with no floods in between sessions. Good to see the association was receptive to using "games to teach the game."


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Friday, October 07 2011 @ 06:49 PM GMT  

Tom,

Thursday night was another five+ hours of ice. I must admit, it was like Groundhog Day - each session was merging into the next and the days were becoming a blur... this was after a couple hours of ice earlier in the day. (Yet another reason to schedule breaks - to help keep the instructors sharp.)

Most of the early 'back-to-back' sessions were Novice (U8) kids, so the ice wasn't too bad. We would have loved to have more breaks to clean the ice so we could take our skates off for a few minutes... 5-6 hours straight is tough physically and mentally (having to be 'on' for the players and coaches). Also, breaks would have allowed for debriefs / pre-icing of the coaches; which was a critical oversight in the planning - in my estimation. Many coaches said they would love to have more time to discuss the games. We are hoping to do some follow-up sessions in the future with the association - additional dryland and ice with the coaches and a classroom session.

Several coaches came to thank John and I personally. It means a lot to know you have made a positive difference in someone's life.

I gave out my contact info to a few people and we met with one coach afterwards over a well-earned beer till the early hours of the AM.

I tried to get my skates dry this week, but I wasn't out of them long enough to achieve this. I was pretty happy to be done last night... then back on skates at 7 am this morning for two sessions! Now I am taking the weekend off of the blades to celebrate my B-Day and Thanksgiving.
---------------------------
Happy Birthday Dean. It sounds like the clinic was a success. Once coaches start using games and transition games they don't want to just do drills anymore and the players enjoy the practices even more.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 07:20 PM GMT  

Quote by: hockeygod


Happy Birthday Dean. It sounds like the clinic was a success. Once coaches start using games and transition games they don't want to just do drills anymore and the players enjoy the practices even more.



Tom,

You are 100% correct sir!

One of my high school classes today played a 2 vs 2 Spartan Box Matrix for the 2nd time and loved it! The teacher said, "You should hear the kids on the bus on their way back to school. They are all chirping each other and recounting how great they are - or aren't - based on their daily results during the games you play. It sounds like they really enjoy them and are pretty competitive while playing."

It's funny, because to an outsider, it would look like we aren't doing anything... standing fairly silently and watching the kids... who are 'only' playing cross ice shinny - 2 vs 2 - and recording things on a sheet while holding kids accountable to the parameters of the game; but in essence, the game is teaching them. We are shutting up and letting them play... struggle and problem solve on their own. Then we review it at the end and ask for observations. We might have to guide them, but we accomplish what we expect. The kids probably don't even realize they are learning through the game - implicit learning - which has far greater and longer reaching positive effects than TELLING THEM what they should be doing! Of course, we keep score and hold the losing teams accountable... this maximizes attention, intensity and focus because there is something on the line...!


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 07:34 PM GMT  

Quote by: Aberdeen

amazes me how many coaches see something an NHL team does and then try to do that with their team.



I agree.

Professional sports are much publicized and accessible via various media. Pros are seen as role models because they are 'at the top of the mountain' and people want to emulate their 'heroes'. When someone like Tiger Woods 'falls', it becomes bigger than life.

It's great when there are positive things deserving of attention (pure skills, examples of sportsmanship and respect, healthy competition, etc.) but these seem to be occurring far less (or go unreported) than less desirable acts. (Thus, becoming fodder for my violence in sport and general stupidity topic... which I maintain to try to convince people there are better ways to act! The preponderance of 'bad news' becomes absurd in itself; hopefully people begin to recognize this and work towards creating 'good news' stories.)

Speaking of skills and tactics, what pro players are capable of are far beyond the realm of youth players (and a lack of 'true' understanding of the game by 99.9 % of youth (and pro!) coaches... the 'why' and 'how')... when the youth coaches should be focusing on developing the basic skills (challenging, yet realistic goal achievement... setting "SMART" goals), learning life lessons through sport and having FUN!!! Why do we complicate things so much?

Kids (and adults) just want to PLAY and enjoy the competition! Not too many people, when given a choice between games or drills, pick drills! Kids need to skate, control the puck, pass and shoot, understand and perform the 4 game playing roles... with their head up, at game speed, under pressure in a competitive environment, consistently. This is success.

Coaches seem to think kids are miniature adults and can't understand (or get frustrated) why they can't perform like the pros, or don’t understand the game like the pros. Coaches need to realize their kids are a work in progress. I believe that within each kid lies the seeds of greatness... a Jordan, a Pele, a Gretzky in waiting... sadly, far too few ever become actualized. The kids need to be in the ‘right time at the right place’ to experience a master coach whisperer who nurtures their inner greatness.

"Shoot!" "Pass!" "Stop! Move over there!" “Don’t do that!”... Coaches TELL kids what to do all the time... as if to impress them with their vast knowledge. This encourages DEPENDENT ATHLETES instead of letting them struggle, fail, learn, problem solve for themselves... so they become independent of the coach. They will figure things out via the game... intelligent coaches can help guide them using experiential learning (appropriate activities and games), and a questioning approach. Coaches should SHUT UP more, watch, guide the process... don't TELL them what to do and hold them accountable.

I think the best players ‘accidentally’ become the best despite coaches trying to tell them what to do and crushing their spirit. We must strive to protect and nurture the seeds of greatness within each player.

Many coaches lament the abilities of their kids and blame the previous coach for their shortcomings. "What the Hell did that person teach them? They don't even know how to breakout" ... (____ insert shortcoming here.)

I say that coach needs to take a long, hard look at himself (or herself) - their philosophy and their actions; not 'blame' the previous coach. My typical response to a coach who blames the previous coach on his players’ shortcomings is, “The previous coach is yesterday's news. You are their coach now. It's YOUR JOB to help them get better. Take some personal responsibility to help make your kids great. What are YOU doing to enable them to become their very best? How are YOU going to do that?”

Tough question... and most coaches don't (truthfully) have an answer... and I bet they didn't want to have to face that question.

I ask each coach to take this challenge themselves. Ask yourself the tough questions. Think carefully. Develop an action plan. Don't place blame; take Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence. (PRIDE).

Get back to playing games, especially early on, to teach the game. Enjoy the game because it is a game... it ain't rocket science and it ain't gonna cure cancer. Keep it in perspective!


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Tuesday, October 18 2011 @ 05:12 AM GMT  

This past weekend, Hockey Alberta hosted a coach & player development clinic in Beiseker, a small town NE of Calgary. I couldn't attend the coach training on the Friday night, but did 6 hours of ice on Saturday. We had 17 kids and 4 coaches for the Novice group; 34 kids and 6 coaches for the atom and peewee groups; then 34 kids and 4 coaches for the bantam and midget kids. Each group had two hours of ice. Apparently, 24 coaches were there on Friday night but only 14 came to run the ice with their teams. I guess a few coaches even walked out of their training session on Friday night. Kind of sad but that isn't uncommon. The organizer put it down to 'Know it all" coaches who have to put an appearance in to be able to coach. Plus being harvest time, a lot of these guys are farmers; they couldn't come Saturday as they were getting the crops in.

By parachuting into this association, we gave them some valuable stuff, but without follow up, it is like going to hear a motivational speaker for an hour or two. You leave all motivated, then by the end of the week, you are back to your 'Groundhog Day' life! We, like motivational speakers, are only providing a brief spark of education and energy; it is up to the individual coach (or hopefully) the association to continue to support the coaches with further professional development (if they want it).

I am still trying to 'convert' Hockey Alberta to the benefits of the Game Intelligence methodology. We did some fun warmup games (3 tennis ball x-ice; the basket game; tire relay), with about 20 minutes at the end for some competitive 1 vs 1 / 2 v 2 stuff. My preference would be to forget about the power skating and technical instruction (especially given the needs of this association and the type of kids) and use games to teach the kids and the coaches, but this approach is still considered too radical...!

I spoke with almost every coach during the ice sessions. All of them agreed that the games were much more fun than the drills; plus the coaches didn't always seem comfortable (or sometimes capable) demonstrating all of the skills. (I know they could try to find someone else to demo or use technology to show the kids, but my impression was that most here don't have access to these things... this is a very small town with kids from nearby farms coming in to play out of this community.) Playing games allows the kids to learn from the game and doesn't put these coaches into the uncomfortable position of having to demonstrate something they can't do.

The more I watch, the more I study, I see that kids want to move - be they novice or midget - and standing around in lines waiting for 1 minute to do a 'drill' for 15 seconds is not anybody's idea of fun. Even adults struggle to maintain intense focus ('deliberate practice') under these conditions. For some reason, this is how we were taught and we are byproducts of our own upbringing; so we expect 5 - 17 year-old's to learn this way? We need to recognize that this is a wrong presumption - it's Industrial Revolution thinking - and implement change for the better. Time to get with the 21st century! (See www.ted.com for some great videos - in particular, search For Sir Ken Robinson and read some of his books if you get the chance...
www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html )

We need to stress more activity! Be cognizant of the work to rest ratios, explanation time, management time, different ways to use the ice, etc. Play games with a purpose and keep score! Hold the kids accountable. Don't kill their creativity! Nurture their talents...


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
By: hockeygod (offline)  Tuesday, October 18 2011 @ 05:42 PM GMT  

I watched parts of two local minor hockey practices last night and the obvious need for ongoing coach education, mentorship and support couldn't be more obvious.

Practice 1 was was a Minor Midget (15) AAA team. They had full ice, 14 skaters and 1 goalie.

They did not have a shooter tutor or modify their practice for one goalie. It looked like they ran their normal 'drills' practice and just had the kids shoot into an empty net. I was astounded at how many missed the net, under situations without pressure. To get rid of this, add pressure and accountability!

The team scrimmaged 5 v 5 full ice for 15 minutes at the end. This is great from a fun perspective; they even tried to stay onside and not ice the puck. But no 'rules' were put into place (scoring play must originate on the backhand / from behind the net / 2 seconds to pass / etc.) and no score was kept so no accountability. Some kids took runs at their teammates and didn't play 'within the rules' - bad habits to practice and the coaches didn't intervene - they joined in! With 5 minutes left, even more kids started screwing around and sticking each other; knocking each other down away from the play. Then all the kids jumped out to play and offsides weren't even honoured. A couple knocked the goalie down and others started play fights. No score was kept and no accountability. Not the type of preparation conducive to competing in a game...!

Practice 2 had the Bantam AAA's with 18 skaters and 2 goalies (full ice).

While it seemed to be an organized practice, I was amazed to see the coaches instructing the kids to hit each other (illegally) in front of the net during a battle drill - first without sticks and then with sticks. I am talking punching, pushing, holding, cross checking and slashing! In a game, these would all result in penalties being called. This 'drill' went on for 9 minutes at both ends! Wow! What were they teaching? Trying to 'toughen up' the shooter in the slot?

There were about 10 dads sitting in the stands watching. I wonder what they thought? (Most seemed to just be talking and not really worrying about what they see. If they don't see anything wrong, this just shows how far we have to come to educate our parents, too!)

Why aren't we teaching life values (respect for one) through sport? (I suspect this team will be taking some needless penalties this season). Of course, there was no score kept or winners or losers declared for any of the drills; no accountability - but I see this is to be expected for 99.99% of practices today.

So what did I see overall?

The coaches of both of these teams 'filled' their practice time with 'drills' - some of which were illegal so therefore why do them? - and none of them seemed to keep objective measures or reinforced accountability - so also, why do them?

The goal of practice should be to prepare for the game. Both of these practices encouraged a disregard for the rules and actually de-trained the kids. There must be a relationship between the performance in a game to what is done at practice... like a symbiotic feedback loop.

Nothing like that here. Just time-fillers. No life skills taught. Actually, 'anti-life skills' taught.

If someone came to watch your practice, what would they see?

Coaches, I challenge you to clearly define your values and philosophy and apply these to your actions. I challenge you to examine your practices with a critical eye. Perhaps have someone record them so you can see them from a third person view. How can you make them better?

Would you want YOUR kids trained using 'fillers' and 'anti-life skills?

I wouldn't.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   

hockeygod



Registered:: 08/05/09

Posts: 2063
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