Top Coach Advice from Grow the Game Contest
You don’t have to catch them…just make them nervous. In the 8 & Under division, sometimes a couple of experienced players can dominate with breakaway goals. Our coach taught our very young team two valuable lessons:
- TEAMWORK! “Good” teams that work together by passing, skating hard and playing defense can take on “great” individual players.
- In the same scenario, the little guys used to give up when one of the hot shots on the other team would get the puck and start down the rink. Our coach taught them not to give up by saying, “You don’t have to catch them—you just have to go after them and make them nervous.
It was a game changer—and now we have a team of real go-getters that plays TOGETHER and ALWAYS skates hard! —Jen
We received plenty of great, game-changing advice, including:
- Everyone falls…it’s how fast you get up that matters: I have a Mite son and a Pee Wee son and coach their teams. I also coach some of the learn-to-skate and hockey 101 classes at the rink. Younger players are always afraid to fall so they don’t take “chances” with their skating. I always preach the following: “Everyone, and I mean everyone, falls in hockey. It’s how fast you get up that makes a difference.” That always seems to set their minds at ease and gives them the motivation to skate hard—it works! —Bob
- Never give up. You have to hustle all the time...especially in practice. If you are tired, don’t drag your stick around, keep two hands on it. If you are beat in races, don't give up. Go all out—coaches like that. (My 18-year-old son shared this with his 9-year-old brother before Squirt tryouts.) —Jim
- Effort + fun. Work hard and have fun. Period. Parents and coaches screw it up for the kids. Kids want to be kids not robots. Work hard = great exercise. Have fun = kids playing the next season and staying in our great game. —Kevin
- Hard work = opportunity. If we work hard now, we will give ourselves the opportunity for great things. There are no guarantees. If we don’t, we shall remove all doubt. —Thomas
- Never give up, redux. On the last day of varsity tryouts, a coach skated over to me during warm-ups and said, “I don’t think you have what it takes to make the team this year. You can stay on the ice for the rest of the tryout today, but you don’t have to.” I was a freshman, and those words ring in my ear every time I take the ice—they are my motivation. —Asa
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kelly Kordes Anton with the Grow the Game Initiative for this story.
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