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The Biggest Evolution in Coaching Today

By Dan Pollard, 01/28/20, 2:30PM EST


What today's coaches need to know about players

Photo Credit: Heather Pollock Photography

The impact a coach can make on a child’s hockey experience can be life-changing. It is also constantly evolving. It’s not necessarily the rules of the game that have changed but how athletes learn and how we coach has grown over time.

As players grow older and develop their skills from Novice (U9) to Midget (U18) they constantly learning new skills and tactics that help them on the ice. When we look at coaches, the idea of lifelong learning is more than just the simple Xs and Os.

“People tend to want to be in their comfort zone. In my coaching experiences, one of the things that resonated with me in working with athletes was teaching them how to be uncomfortable in uncomfortable situations. In other words, how to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” said Wayne Parro, Senior Coaching Consultant with Coaching Association of Canada. “From a coaching perspective, you learn from reflecting from not only our mistakes but our successes. Add a little bit of new information to that process and all of a sudden, lifelong learning happens.”

The multi-sport coaching information in the National Coaching Certification Program with the Coaching Association of Canada is on a specific revision cycle – it is reviewed and updated because of how quickly the player-coach relationship is changing.

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“The biggest change in coaching recently is Sport for Development. It’s the connection with people and the recognition that coaching is changing and you need to build relationships. Powerful relationships, positive relationships with your athletes and build off of that. Yes, there’s still a need for technical competence within the sport, more so at the higher performance levels. However, even at those levels, if you can’t make a connection with your athlete, eventually you’re going to lose them.”

There is value in growing as a coach. That lifelong learning can lead to further opportunities at different age groups and increase your knowledge base. Learn more about Certification Maintenance and Professional Development points.


Dan Pollard is the host of Breakaway, The Minor Hockey Podcast. His passion for hockey led him to volunteer as a coach and administrator while his professional career has allowed him to cover the game at various levels with CBC, Sportsnet, the NHL Network and TSN. You can currently hear Dan every morning on 105.5 Hits FM in Uxbridge.

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