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Explaining Mike Babcock's 'R and D' Philosophy

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 09/30/19, 10:15AM EDT


Coaching Resources to get the most out of precious practice time

To be an assistant on Mike Babcock's staff you have to do one specific thing.

"I want you to have a new idea every day, and I want you to fight for your idea," Babcock said. "I try to hire people that are going to bring change. I've got that right in their job description."

It's all part of Babcock's 'R and D' philosophy, something he's famous for among his assistants.

"Rob and Do," said Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan, a former assistant to Babcock with the Detroit Red Wings. "That's his R and D. That's his research and development."

It is often noted that good coaches are great ‘thieves’ - they ‘rob’ concepts, ideas and drills from other coaches. Great coaches, however, modify and adjust those drills to fit their players and programs – that’s the ‘do’ part of R and D – and its crucial to make it your own.

As the season starts to ramp up, some coaches can find it tough to balance the demands of everyday life to their hockey commitments. In order to help keep those practices running efficiently and effectively while introducing innovative new strategies to teach your team, we have compiled a list of resources for planning your next practice to ensure you get the most out of the precious practice time each week.

1,000s of Drills at your fingertips

On-demand access to thousands of videos, articles and more. The Hockey Canada Network offers coaches, players and parents in every community across Canada access to the best information for developing hockey players. You can also download hundreds of drills and create a practice plan with the Hockey Canada Drill Hub. Offence, defence, goaltending, special teams, with or without the puck; close to a hundred searchable drill videos, descriptions and diagrams are available for players of all levels.

Creating a Seasonal Plan to Maximize Development

A coach’s seasonal plan should serve as their blueprint for the year. Planning is the process of assessing a team’s goals and creating a realistic detailed plan of action to meet these goals. Basic steps in the planning process involve developing a roadmap that outlines the tasks the team must accomplish to meet their objectives. As a coach, the goal is to maximize the development your players can get on the ice through skill-building and life skills.

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Dedication to Skill Development

It took Dave Starman to see it in action before he became a believer. Now he's one of the biggest advocates of No Lines, No Laps, No Lectures. “More practices, less games, less travel. Let’s emphasize the coaching that we have and the skill development. There’s no need for these all teams to be running around playing a lot of meaningless games when they can save money and actually get a better bang for their buck by being on the ice practicing and getting better.”

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