This year has forced everyone to adapt to keep us all safe. While we were excited to be back at the rink, it’s been harder for teams to bond off the ice without the usual locker room chats, road trips and tournament weekends. Those experiences can create lifelong memories and are an important part of the minor hockey journey. As we wait for a time when it is safe to return to the rink, teams can use these upcoming weeks to check in and keep in touch.
Coaches can still give players the chance to connect with each other and stay engaged. Many coaches already go above and beyond in planning development sessions for their players and this can carry over to online team activities. Much like practice planning, coaches will need to be prepared and creative to ensure these sessions are fun in order to keep players engaged.
Here are some suggestions for how teams can safely participate in online activities.
This is a great way for teammates to get to know each other. Coaches can gather a list of fun facts and and answers to a predetermined list of questions from each player and have the team guess which player they belong to. Players then have an opportunity to tell a story related to the facts about them. Players on the team may discover that others have a similar experience that they can connect on.
Much like the pre-game stretch, players can stay in game shape by doing a workout together. Share the routine beforehand and have the designated leader call out the instructions for the rest to follow. This encourages physical activity while we are away from the rink.
Maybe your team or Association has connections to alumni that can join a call for a Q+A session or a pep talk. Players can prepare questions on a specific topic. For teams who have been doing online sessions throughout the season already, this outside perspective brings a new voice to the team.
For older players, breaking down video can be a valuable tool that can be done independently and online. This can be based on a specific skill or a concept that was successfully executed. Coaches can show a whole clip and explain the end result or pause it in the middle and ask players to guess what happens next. This is an interactive way to work on the mental side of their game.
A fun way to test the knowledge of the sport with each player. Between famous superstars and the rules of the game, kids will love to show off what they know. These can be age-appropriate lessons, such as teaching offside or icing to younger players.
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