USA Hockey Magazine

October 2017

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18 // OCTOBER 2017 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Five Things You Need To Know About Practice Be Organized Make sure the head coach and his or her assistants are on the same page and know their assignments. Don't waste a lot of time standing around explaining a drill. That can all be done in the locker room. That's not to say there won't be times you need to stop a drill and explain it. Be Flexible Don't be afraid to chang e it up on the fly. A lack of flexibility can kill a practice. Be ready to mix it up if your kids don't seem to have their heads in practice. Just because a drill is supposed to go for a specific amount of time doesn't mean you have to stick to it. Sometimes it takes longer for players to get it, and sometimes you know when they 've had enough and it's time to move on to something else. Don't work on things that will make you or your players frustrated. Keep two or three drills on the corner of your practice plan in case you need to change gears. Be Sensitive Know the mental and physical health of your team. Know when it's time to push your players hard and when to lay back. If your players aren't having fun or if a drill isn't going right, change it up. If you see your players aren't there mentally or seem burned out, try to play small area games and have fun. This is important, especially late in the season. Be Enthusiastic Enthusiasm is contagious. If you bring it to the rink your kids will have it too. Players are in tune to a coach's body language, and even though they may not always act like it, they are lis- tening. Fun is a by-product of enthu- siasm. If your kids aren't having fun, you're wasting their time and your time. Seek feedback from your play- ers so they feel like they 're part of the process. They'll work harder and have fun. The more buy-in, the better they'll perform. Be Prepared Yo u n e e d t o st r u c t u r e y o u r practice plans as building blocks for skill development. You can't work on everything in September. Every practice should have a specific theme designed to concentrate one aspect of the game. Each drill should fit into that theme, whether it's an indi- vidual skill or a team concept. Small area games and competitive drills not only engage your players, they work on skills without your players knowing it. Once your players are proficient a t a d r i l l , p r o g r e s s i t t o m a k e i t more challenging. That's how they improve. Don't ever be satisfied with a practice. P Seek feedback from your players so they feel like they're part of the process. When It Comes To Practice, It's Important That Coaches Practice What They Preach 1 2 3 4 5 O F F W I N G 3 B E Y O N D T H E X ' S A N D O ' S PHOTO BY USA Hockey Magazine Archives

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