The summer is the perfect time of the year to wind down and refresh following a busy hockey season. It gives players, coaches and parents a chance to decompress and take hockey off of their minds for a bit before getting ready to do it all over again.
It also serves as a great stage to spend on reflection of all the positives from the past season. It is a reminder of why we decided to get involved in hockey and look forward to puck drop at the end of every summer.
These are some of our favourite articles from the year that was. They cover a variety of approaches to the game and are worth your time to check out again (or for the first time if you might have missed them).
Redefining Modern Hockey Tactics: This episode of the Breakaway Podcast features Ryan Stimson, author of Tape to Space. Coaches dedicate a lot of time into creating practice plans and game strategy. They look to get the most out of their players in a limited amount of ice time. Drills and exercises should have a purpose, ultimately tying into how they want their team to play. This is the best way to teach concepts like constant movement and puck support.
The Lifelong Friendships of Minor Hockey: A core group of teammates together since Novice now enter the next stages of their hockey experiences in junior. Having a group of teammates spending time and growing together helped build the foundation of lifelong friendships. That bond carried over to the parent group as well, who also became close over the years.
Four Life Lessons Learned in the Locker Room: We often discuss the life lessons that players can learn through hockey off of the ice. From raising money for cancer research during Pink the Rink initiatives or helping sort out donations at a food bank, many teams plan events throughout the season where they can give back to their communities. With that said, these life lessons don’t have to be limited strictly to when the equipment is off.
How Associations Are Finding New Players to Grow Our Game: Hockey is a game for everyone. All kids should have the chance to learn the leadership and life skills that the sport offers and the opportunity to grow alongside their teammates. Associations that are looking to bring in new faces to the game and break down some of the perceived barriers to entry can look at introductory programming that doesn't require the financial commitment of a full season. These are great for families who are unsure of what to expect in hockey and don't want to dive right into the deep end on their first experience.
What We Can Take Away From This Year's World Juniors: We can use this tournament as an annual benchmark to reflect on the state of the game globally and gain a better understanding of what other countries are doing in their hockey development in the hopes of making the game better. The challenges are the same across all hockey nations: cost, coaching, competition, recruitment and retention. Canada has historically been viewed as a leader in the game based on our number of players, facilities, resources and international success.
Making a Positive Impact as a Coach: What do you remember about one of your coaches in minor hockey? Just as all players hope to have a fun year with a good coach, coaches hope to make a positive impact on their players. Coaches are going to leave a memory by the end of the season. Similar to teachers, coaches have the ability to make an imprint on players, whether positive or negative, simply based on the amount of time spent together. What they do with that time is up to them.
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