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Teaching Players in 140 Characters

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 09/05/17, 2:45PM EDT


How players learn and process information is changing

Never has the phrase ‘keep it short and simple’ seemed more appropriate for today’s players.

With kids growing up in an ever-expanding and necessary digital world, the way they learn and process new information is changing. Phones are seemingly glued to the hand and information is available in an instant.

The best ways to communicate with and teach our children is developing into shorter messaging. Many coaches and teachers are adjusting to more direct ways of communication to best do their jobs.

This can be summed up in the idea of delivering all of your information in the size of a Tweet. The character limit on Twitter messages is 140 characters, which forces us to communicate the important information in the most concise, direct ways possible.

With shorter attention spans, this translates to how we coach our players on the ice. Here are a few tips on coaching kids in short, to the point messages:

Stick to the Now: Focus on what the next practice drill or shift in a game will be. With a shorter list of things to remember, players have a greater chance at success in the instructions.

Get Creative: Kids are used to getting their messaging in images and videos. Don’t be afraid to include pictures in explanations or draw what you are wanting to get across.

No Limits: If players show an interest in a new activity or concept on the ice, embrace it. It’s okay to let players experience things and learn on their own, especially when they show a desire to do so. This could even teach coaches a new technique or two.

Click ‘Like’: With so many online messages being measured by how many ‘likes’ they receive, this same positive reinforcement can be applied to practice. See something that your player is doing well? Be sure to let them know. Let your players know that you appreciate all the hard work they are putting in.

Keeping young kids engaged throughout every practice session helps them develop and makes the game FUN. Having multiple drills and stations on the ice ensures everyone is participating and staying involved at all times.

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