USA Hockey Magazine

April / May 2018

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Page 17 of 48

R I N K RAT ILLUSTRATION BY Darren Gygi THINKING ABOUT A SUMMER HOCKEY CAMP for your young athlete? Take my advice, look at everything the camp entails, from drills to ice time to how coaches interact with kids. We didn't, and we learned the hard way. We signed our daughter up for what we thought was the perfect camp experience, challenging yet fun. We found out she was spending most of her time outside, flipping tractor tires, running up and down steep hills. And when she did finally get on the ice, it was only for rigorous drills. That's fine if you signed up for The Herb Brooks Experience for Dummies, but the brochure we read through emphasized a fun experience. This was just making our young skater frustrated, bitter and sore. Long story short, we should have spent more time doing our homework on the camp. "The first step for any parent is to research the camp staff," says USA Hockey 's Youth Ice Hockey Director Kenny Rausch. "Does everyone on staff have coaching certification? Background checks? Are the facilities in good shape? The next set of questions I would ask is [about] the on-ice and off-ice structure of the camp." Safety is another big issue. How does a camp keep track of the kids, and what are the rules for dropping them off and picking them up? Find out what kind of medical procedures are in place if a child is hurt. And the lower the kid/coach ratio, the better. Greg Bunt, a hockey dad from Malta, N.Y., chooses camps that provide the most ice time. "I don't want to pay for kickball, watching movies or hanging out with college or pro players," he says. "I want the maximum skill development for my money." Peter Bellendir, from Fond du Lac, Wis., prefers a camp that keeps his kids on the ice twice a week all summer. "I like that option," he says, "Because they are able to work on skills continuously." It's not the amount of ice time, but the coaches that matter to Fulton, N.Y., hockey mom Julie Bennett. "I want good role models for my player that focuses on the whole child," she says. A word to the wise for goalie parents. "We learned the hard way that many hockey camps might welcome goalies, but really only to provide a tar- get for shooters, without providing much coaching or training for goalies," says my fellow Syracuse Nationals mom, Dennell Jay. "We learned to be very choosy about the type of camp [goalie vs. shooter], age range, skill level, and staff ratios. Otherwise, it can be a waste of money and waste of time for the parent who has to shuffle them to camp." A n d , M i n n e a p o l i s d a d M i c h a e l Farnham reminds us, it summertime and the living is supposed to be easy. Working on skills is an important aspect o f a ny s u m m e r h o c k e y c a m p, b u t i t needs to be an enjoyable experience. "A big thing is for you to find some- t h i n g y o u r k i d w i l l h a v e f u n d o i n g , because if they don't have fun they will not enjoy the camp." P BEH I N D T HE G L A SS COACH OF THE MONTH "The first step for any parent is to research the camp staff." JOSE (JOE) LANZA Age: 58 East Windsor, N.J. Coaching for Joe Lanza extends beyond the ice. The Level 4 certi- fied coach with USA Hockey and instructor with the Coaching Education Program abides by the idea that "coaching is what hockey is about; but it's not just about hockey." For him, that means having an impact on the players he coaches and "teaching them the quality of life." "Whether they're Mites to Midgets, I try to reach them personally," said Lanza, who serves as the associate coach in chief for the New Jersey Youth Hockey League south area. "I try to be their friend on and off the ice, and make sure if they have any type of problem they can reach out to Coach Joe." As a senior public works repairman for the township of Clark, Lanza's schedule helps him balance his day job with his youth hockey duties. "We start early in the morning, which gives me time to schedule practices and games on the weekends," Lanza said. THE HOCKEY MOM By Christie Casciano Burns A Little Legwork Now Will Make Happy Campers This Summer 16 // APRIL/MAY 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM

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