Friday, January 22, 2016

The Qualities of Great Hockey Coaches

If you’re a youth hockey coach, then you undoubtedly have a desire to be great at what you do. Let’s face it- youth hockey coaching cam sometimes feel like a thankless job, one that involves all the work of coaching but none of the praise or high salaries that pro coaches enjoy.

Obviously, if you coach youth hockey, you do it because you love it, and if you love it, then you’ll want to be good at it. While there’s no one particular personalty or coaching approach that makes a coach great and while every youth coach is different and unique in his own special way, there are some common qualities that tend to make for great coaches.  

Read on to see which ones you already have and which ones you can stand to work on a bit.

Quality #1: Disciplinarian

A good coach can be nice and friendly with his young players, but at the end of the day, he still has to discipline them! As a coach, your job is to discipline the players individually when they do something wrong or need direction and to discipline the team as a whole. Don’t hesitate to demand a lot- such as unwavering respect and good attitudes- from your players. They’ll still like you if you enforce rules and policies, and more importantly, they’ll respect you too! When you’ve stated consequences, follow through on them. Teach your players that playing a sport is a privilege and that they need to treat it as such. Not only will your team be more manageable, but your players will learn valuable skills that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Quality #2: Encouraging

Good coaches seek to inspire confidence in their young players! As a coach, everything you do should come from a place of encouragement. Even when you’re mad that your players really bombed a game, find something positive to say. Reward and praise your players non-stop. When you build them up - and remember, for some of your players, you may be the only one to ever do so-they’ll grow in confidence and perform to the best of their abilities.

Quality #3: Fun!

While being a disciplinarian, as mentioned above, is definitely important, it’s also important to remember that you’re coaching kids. Children!! And children want and deserve to have fun. If you can discipline your players, then you can afford to cut loose from time to time and let them have some plain old fashioned fun. Whether it’s just having silly skating races or taking a break to eat pizza as a team one day, a little fun and the ability not to take yourself, the sport, or winning TOO seriously makes for a great coach. Plus, coaches who have fun are generally players who remember what it’s all about- personal growth and skill building!

So, do you have these three terrific traits? If not, don’t worry; you’ve probably got lots of other great ones too, and there is always, always room for improvement, which is something every great coach realizes; good coaches are coaches who, like their players, never stop trying to grow and learn. Be that coach if you’re not already; your players will thank you for it.

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