This season we launched the second year of the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site and asked for nominations of deserving coaches. After much deliberation, Ross Carlton of the Mooretown Flags Atom team was selected as the Coach of the Month for March and the final for the season.
Here's his story as told by his nomination:
Ross is one of the most planned coaches I have every seen. He spends endless time finding the right drills to challenge the kids, build their confidence and get the most out of every minute on the ice. At the start of the year he challenged all the kids on the team to ensure that they listened to their parents and executed school at the highest level and that he would be seeking feedback from their parents as this was an expectation of being on the team. He set the bar high for dressing room conduct and treating the room like it was our home. We hang our clothes on the hooks, once dressed we put our bags under the bench we throw tape and garbage in the garbage. We leave the room as we came into it. He holds the kids accountable for their actions home and away at tournaments and has taught the kids a lot of life lessons. He has taught them work ethic, respecting sport and your opponents and authority. He created a team environment where it takes a team to win not individuals. My child is a better person for being on this team. Amazing coach and mentor for 9 and 10 year olds.
Coach Ross played minor hockey in Mooretown starting at age 5 all the way up to Juvenile. He made some great friends and had some great coaches. It's been a lot of fun for him coaching in the same organization that he grew up playing in. He's been involved in coaching since his oldest son started playing in Instructional hockey. Getting to watch all these boys grow up and improve so much has been a great experience.
At the start of every season I try to emphasize the importance of being good kids not only at the arena but away from the arena as well. Lessons like keeping a clean dressing room and being respectful are just as important if not more so than anything I can teach them about hockey.
I think being a part of a team is such an important life lesson for these kids. I felt is was important for the boys to take ownership of their pregame warm-ups and be consistent with it. I tried to instill in all the boys that they all needed to be leaders on this team. It was important for this team to play together and not be individuals and I think they did a great job of working together.
I have an expectation that these boys act appropriately every where they go, whether it is at the arena, school or home. I try to make this known at the start of the year. I am extremely lucky to have a great group of kids and parents. The boys are told at the beginning of the year that they won't be able to practice or play if they aren't being well behaved on and off the ice and the parents are onboard with this. I think having this accountability with their coach is great for them and will only help them as they grow up.
The goals we set at the beginning of the year are to try and be the hardest working team on the ice. If we work hard and play as a team, we can be very successful. Ensuring the kids want to come to the rink is always my number one priority and try to keep everything light and fun. The ultimate goal is to make sure they all want to come back and play again next year.
It is very important to me to come to practice with a detailed plan. We only get so much ice time and I want to make sure that we utilize it. I always try to plan a practice that focuses on a lot of individual skills and skating. These boys are still so young and individual skills are very important. As the year progressed we started to focus on more team based drills with passing being a focal point. I am always trying to find new fun drills to keep the kids engaged. I like to watch other team's practices and see what drills other coaches are using or use online resources to come up with ideas. Having a great coaching staff around me to bounce ideas off of helps a lot too.
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