26 Oct Hockey Drills for Kids
Hockey Drills for Kids:
5 Things You Need to Consider When Developing Young Talent
I run into a lot of Bantam and Midget coaches who say “I could never coach the younger kids, I just don’t have the patience”. While I can agree that it is tough at times, most people who say this are in denial that they need to get more in touch with the ART of coaching. Anyone can open a drill book and blurt out X’s and O’s, that’s the science, but effective communication and creative approaches… that’s the art of coaching. I’m going to discuss 5 things that will allow you to coach young players with ease.
1) Get to Know the Child
The old saying goes “Children don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care. Most coaches I see getting ready for a lesson with kids spend most of the time talking to the parents and there is little (if any) dialogue with the player. While getting on the ice and getting straight to business might work for older players, younger players need a bit of time to get “into” the practice. Try starting out with a fun drill that you take part in as well and use as much enthusiasm and or humor as possible. Gaining trust goes a long way when trying to get a child to learn new skills, something that a lot of coaches take for granted.
A lot of skill developers start teaching a skill from the basics and work their way up to the final product. Great methodology for sure, but if you really take the time to understand who you are working with, you will see doing the skill in it’s entirety at full speed before you start is a huge motivating factor for kids. Once a kids says “Man I wanna do that”, ignition… it’s only a matter of time before they are doing it “Just like coach”.
3) Encourage Them to Make Mistakes
You know the old saying “Perfect practice makes perfect” well it should be changed to “A coach who welcomes imperfections makes perfect”. The only way to get better is to try to do things that you can’t already do. The old cliché “Getting out of your comfort zone” really means, allowing the body to recover from mistakes by creating new neural pathways and their associated cellular insulation (hahaha say that 5 times fast). When kids screw up… they get better: provided they have someone to say it’s ok of course. Try this: Make an intentional mistake while demonstrating and explain to them it doesn’t matter because doing it your hardest and making mistakes is a sign of real learning.
4) Make Feedback Specific
A lot of coaches underestimate kids, which is why they often feel they would not be able to coach them. Most coaches have to realize that feedback for young players goes beyond the “Way to go Kiddo” motivational approach. When working with kids you need to realize… are you ready for this… They understand when you talk!
5) Don’t Change the Message, Change the Delivery
Before launching your Hockey Drills for Kids brush up on coaching factors that make you an effective communicator. Things like where you are standing relative to the player, making eye contact, giving multiple views when demonstrating, etc. I watch so many private lessons with children where the instructor is skating away from the players, demonstrating while explaining the drill and you see the kids look at each other and shrug their shoulders. Pssst… Just because you feel great about all the information you are passing along, doesn’t mean it’s being absorbed. Try giving Dave Chambers’ “Coaching: The Art and Science” a read and you will find “patience” that you never knew you had!