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Get to Know January's Coach of the Month

By The Coaches Site, 01/25/22, 11:30AM EST


Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site

This season marks the fifth year of the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site. We asked for nominations of deserving coaches and after much deliberation, David Giancola of the Milton U10 AA team was selected as the Coach of the Month for January.

Here's his story as told by his nomination:

Coach Dave and his team of coaches are committed to making hockey a positive experience for our young players. He is not only committed to making them great players but also is invested in helping parents raise kind, responsible and grateful humans.

Coach Dave is so methodical in his preparations for practice. He sends out a practice plan with videos of drills a day or two in advance to help each player get ready to have a productive practice which really helps those who have different styles of learning and needs.

Coach Dave has instilled a tradition of discussing the heroes, highlights and hardships after games to give room for discussion not only about the great plays and the best goals… but also learning opportunities. He asks questions and engages the team members to help them determine and decide what happened and what could have been done better.

Coach Dave has a great way of engaging the boys not only on the ice but also off the ice by planning team building activities in person when we can but also online if we are not able to get together. Online sessions, Kahoot games, hockey trivia and even a pizza making workshop!

Coach Dave really cares about the team  members and families and everyone feels it. He is helping our kids make great memories.

Coach Dave grew up in Toronto and was part of a busy hockey family, with both siblings (who now also coach) and parents involved in the game. He says he's luck to have a fantastic coaching staff along with a very supportive parent group. He coaches as a way to give back to the community and help grow the next generation of players.

You send out practice plans to your players before the skates. How have you seen this benefit your team?

There are a few great apps out there that allow coaches to create and share drills and practice plans. I sometimes like to include videos for the players as well. This really helps to keep practices organized. In the modern world of knowledge and information, I think it's important to keep players and parents informed as to what the plan is so they can see and be part of the vision that the coaching staff has for the team and for their individual children. It also helps to keep the players accountable for their own preparation.

What learning opportunities does your team get from the post game ‘heroes, highlights and hardships’ chats?

This is something that I borrowed from my daughter's coach who is a great coach in her own right. We use "Heroes, Highlights and Hardships" as a way to debrief after each game. Rather than simply having the coaching staff dictate to the players as to happened in the game, we use this method to allow the players to feel empowered and take ownership themselves. It is important to allow the players to share their thoughts on the games and to engage them in the learning process. It's not uncommon for the players to recognize the efforts of some players from the opposing teams. It is something the boys look forward to participating in after each game.  

What are some team building exercises that have become your favourites?

It is important that we as coaches provide our players with the best opportunities to grow as people. COVID has made the last two seasons quite trying. But, as we say to our players often, you can only control what you can control. What matters is not what happens, but how you react to it.

We have enjoyed several team building exercises this season from rock climbing to go karting. But, the best team building event that we ran was the Winterhawks for Hospice ball hockey tournament in support of the Townsend Smith Foundation. Our fantastic parent group did much of the work on this and it was a great success in not only raising money for a good cause, but for teaching our players about service to their community.

Throughout the current pause on hockey we have tried to keep the boys engaged with online workouts and skills development exercises. The hope is that when the time comes they will pay it forward to previous generations of hockey players who are in need of coaching.


Please note that all previous submissions are still eligible for upcoming Coach of the Month awards and do not need to be resubmitted.

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The Coaches Site is comprised of individuals who have first hand experience in hockey as players, coaches, managers and parents from minor hockey, to junior hockey, international competition and all the way to the NHL. The Coaches Site offers a platform that supports coaches and a positive competitive culture at rinks around the world.

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