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Words to coach by

February 24, 2011 Coaches No Comments

By Wayne Anderson

Fred Shero: hockey philosopher. ©BBS

Whether they play on wheels or on ice, even the best team will rarely succeed without a good coach. And while technical aspects are critical—especially in a new and quickly evolving sport like roller hockey—there are other, equally-critical elements to being a quality bench boss.

A good coach must be many things. He (or she) must be a leader, capable of commanding the loyalty and respect of his players through his understanding and interest in them as individuals. He must be a teacher, able to adapt fundamental progressions to the age level of the players. A good coach will be a student of the game, constantly seeking to increase their knowledge of its fundamentals, techniques and tactics. And a good coach must be an organizer, who plans and uses effective methods to communicate with his players.

But there’s more.

A good coach must be a philosopher who helps develop attitudes toward the game, as well as the society in which we live and play. Finally, a good coach must be a sportsman, attempting to instill a winning spirit but remembering the importance of being a gracious loser.

If you look for these qualities in a coach, or look to develop them as a coach, you will definitely be heading in the right direction.

Always evaluate

In order to ensure that a coach develops and betters himself each time he takes the ice, coaches should be regularly evaluated either by their peers or by a group such as a parents’ association. These evaluations should cover both practice and game situations, and should include some of the following topics.

In a practice environment, look for;

• Objectives—evidence of specific technical objectives.

• Organization—dressing room discussions, preparation of assistant coaches and equipment.

• Practice Outline—clear, organized diagrams (including warm-up and cool-down) related to stated objectives.

• Long-term Planning—a yearly or seasonal practice plan featuring objectives and drills related to games and practices.

In a game situation, note how a coach handles;

• Organization—the responsibilities of team personnel, lineups, punctuality and dressing room preparation.

• Behavior—attitude, verbal and body language, appearance (dress code), rapport with players and reaction to game situations.

• Bench Management—control of players, referee relations, length of shifts, specialty team usage, use of other coaches, communication with players, tactical preparation and execution.

• Post-game Analysis—locker room behavior, communication with players, team analysis, coaching staff analysis and self-analysis.

Words of wisdom

In striving to be a good coach, one can often find wisdom in the words of others. Here are some brief but powerful quotes that I think every coach should keep in mind.

“A man may make mistakes, but he isn’t a failure until he starts blaming someone else”—Anonymous.

“It’s the little things that win games, and you never know when one of them is coming up”—Anonymous.

“The less you say, the more people will listen to you”—Anonymous

“A leader is interested in finding the best way, not his own way”—W.A. Peterson.

“Rationalization after a loss is a sure route to failure”—Fred Shero.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”—John Wooden.

Also from John Wooden: “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”

If a coach can address his or her players, and the game, with these things in mind, his coaching career—at any level—should be a successful one. But the most important thing to remember is to always try and increase your knowledge of the game, and to strive to be the best coach you can be—just as you ask your players to be the best players they can be.

Wayne Anderson is Managing Director of Huron Hockey’s new roller hockey schools based in Matawan NJ.

This first appeared in the 01/1995 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2011 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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