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November's Coach of the Month Is...

By The Coaches Site, 11/17/23, 10:15AM EST

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Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site

This season marks the sixth year of the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site. We asked for nominations of deserving coaches and after much deliberation, Emily Sararas of the South Huron U13 D team was selected as the Coach of the Month for November.

Here's her story as told by her nomination:

Emily is a first year/time coach that gladly took on the role after so many of the others asked passed up on the opportunity. She has done an excellent job earning the respect of her boys team through excellently planned practices, focus on fundamentals, and having fun! It's not always easy for a woman to be the head coach of a boys team, especially at this age of boy, but she has done it with poise and positivity. She puts great effort into teaching her players more about the game and how to improve, but even more effort goes into her celebrating her players individual small achievements/improvements. She has also done an exceptional job helping foster leadership and a true team-community among the players. Its easy to see she has won the player hearts and minds with her passion and know-how.

Coach Emily started playing hockey when at 10 years old, joining her cousin's team, and was hooked right away. She  played rep hockey until she was 18 and currently plays adult rec league. She now coaches her son Steven's team has enjoyed every minute of it since joining the team and can't wait to see how the team and herself continue to grow and evolve as a unit.

What has been your team’s response to having a female as a coach?

Everyone has been really great and supportive -- I couldn't have asked for a better team, coaching staff, and parents for my first year as a coach. My son had a female coach his very first year of hockey and she was great, but since then his coaches have been male so I wondered how I would be received as a female coach. I expected that it would be a non-issue and I was right. I never felt the need to prove myself to the team since there was a level of mutual respect right from the start which I think says a lot about the players on my team and the coaches they had before me.

What are some of the ways you celebrate the achievements of individual players?

One of my main focuses for building my team is creating positive and trusting relationships as a starting point for growth and I do that by giving as much specific, positive feedback as possible during practices and games. I try to look for examples of what the players are doing well and give them individual kudos whenever I can. It's important to me that the players know that I have confidence in them and recognize what they are doing well so they can build their confidence in their own game and I think timely, specific feedback goes a long way in working towards that goal.

What have you learned as a first time coach?

I have learned so much as a first time coach! The biggest takeaway has been how rewarding it is to see my team learn and grow. I had a hunch I would enjoy coaching but my expectations have far been exceeded. Other takeaways have been around the art of planning an effective practice, the importance of clear communication with the players, coaching staff, and parents, and that you need to remember to bring your home jersey's to a tournament (ha!). I can only assume I am still on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning as a coach and I am excited for the journey of continuing to learn and hone in on my coaching skills and strategy to show up as the best coach I can be for my team.


SUBMIT YOUR COACH OF THE MONTH NOMINATION

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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