Coaching Youth Hockey
If you are transitioning from coaching older hockey players, you will find that coaching youth hockey is very, very different. You will be faced with players that are playing hockey for the first time and may not know a lot of terms. You will spend more time dumbing down information and explaining how the game works. It is important that you don’t get frustrated with them and be extremely patient. A lot of mistakes will be made, which is the purpose of practicing.
Training Youth Hockey Players
You will have to come up with exercises and routines that help to build their ice skating and puck control skills, but you have to keep in mind the attention span of children. The exercises given shouldn’t be repetitive or things will get boring. Try to make it as fun as possible to keep them motivated. The true goal of the game is learning skills and having fun. When children get bored, they become frustrated and careless, which is something that needs to be avoided.
You can begin with strength training to build up their stamina to complete other on-the-ice exercises. Progressively introduce your players to pushups, sit-ups and squats. Don’t push them too hard to complete the tasks. Since this is the beginning, not everyone will be on the same level. Switch up the routines every other day or week to keep it interesting.
The medicinal ball is another great addition to strength training. Use any type of strength training that doesn’t involve lifting weights. This may be too much for adolescents, so stick with doing physical exercises.
* While coaching youth hockey, keep an eye out for signs of overtraining. If you notice a decrease in a players performance -- this doesn’t mean you should push them into more and harder training. This may already be a sign of overtraining and the need to put more on them is not the answer. Many coaches and parents look at lack of performance as a need for more training.
Increase Training by the Tens
As mentioned before, too much training too soon can cause adverse effects on the adolescent players. When training your players, you should slowly increase the intensity of their activities by ten percent on a weekly basis. For instance, if you started your players off with ten pushups, add on an extra pushup each week. The same goes for walking or jogging. If you have them going for 20 minutes, add on 2 minutes each week.
Positive Feedback Equals Positive Gaming
Instead of hassling and chastising your players for poor performance, congratulate them on things that they do well. This will encourage them to keep improving on that area and they will strive to get better in other areas to gain your praises. Negative criticisms have a negative effect on children and can cause them to develop low self-esteem, which could then lead to them quitting the game altogether.
Try this method and you will see how much your youth team improves overtime. Although, when coaching youth hockey, it is still okay to include disciplinary activities to keep the players on point. You shouldn’t patronize the team into thinking they are good when there are some areas that need tweaking. Only compliment on areas that deserve it and discipline the areas that need improvement.
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