Earlier in the month we launched the second year of the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site and asked for nominations of deserving coaches. After much deliberation, Jason Taylor of the St. Catharines Jr. Falcons Peewee A was selected as the Coach of the Month for October.
Here's his story as told by his nomination:
Coach Jason doesn’t just create a team with the players... he creates a family. He cares for each player, as an individual, and targets their strengths to contribute to the success of the whole team. Jason is encouraging and supportive both on and off the ice because he recognizes both the physical and mental components of the game. He also realizes that they are kids who are trying their best and need him in their corner. You can easily tell that he is passionate about hockey and 100% dedicated to his players. He is genuine in the way he talks to his team and models what a true leader in hockey should be. He expects his players to work hard, persevere, grow, have fun, and take care of each other. Jason also helps to motivate his players in challenging times and when they need a reminder to be the best that they can be. His messages resonate and teach valuable life lessons. We are truly grateful for his time, commitment, support, encouragement, knowledge about the sport, and, most of all, for teaching our son that he has a family in hockey too!
We spoke to Coach Jason about what being a coach means to him and his background in the sport. This is his sixth year coaching this group of players. He played growing up and credits the sport for helping shape who he is. Over his years playing minor, junior and university hockey has developed longtime relationships and is thankful for the sport. He decided to give back to the community when his son started playing.
When you talk about success in the sport a lot of it drives around confidence. I wasn’t always a very confident player, I wasn’t the best player on the team ever. But if you look back, I like to think that I was one who worked the hardest. I didn’t have the most talent but I went the furthest because I worked hard and I loved it and I turned that passion into a work ethic. That’s what I’m trying to instill in these guys. Whether it’s a school project or something that they’re doing or a goal they’ve set, those are skills that are going to translate into patterns and habits and then that establishes their work ethic.
When we look at shaping the team, even at 12 years old, I think fit, equally as much as skill, is so important. It’s important as a coach to recognize that too. Each kid needs to be treated differently yet fair and consistent. I think it’s unique if you’ve got that skillset as a coach to identify what motivates kids. Hollering at kids doesn’t always work. Really finding out what their triggers are to motivate them to be the best that they can be. I think that those are great qualities. That’s something that I look at every time I come to the rink. I’m not the perfect coach but I listen to the staff and the kids.
We always tell the parent group that we will never criticize a player on their ability but I’m going to be all over them for their work ethic. We will hold them accountable. We have those conversations with the kids and it’s extremely important. You’re going to fail and it’s the only way we’re going to get better. Do not be afraid to make a mistake. When you come back, we’re going to coach you. We’re not yelling at you, we’re not upset, we’re not mad. We’re passionate about the game as well. When you come back to the game, you’re going to get coached, catch your breath, grab a drink and get back out there. That’s the best part of the game, you have an opportunity to fix where you may have failed and that’s the message.
We started in Novice with setting little goals and milestones. Slowly, not only do we develop the kids but we develop the parent group as well, helping their kids leave the nest so to speak. They would start by getting ready on their own. It’s their dressing room, they’ve earned it. The parents, they’re welcome, but they’re removed from that element. That’s where the boys can come and grow as a group and it’s their space. Tying their own skates, we don’t see parents anymore, it’s really allowed for an environment for the boys to have confidence to grow within the game. We haven’t talked about wins and losses, it’s really about those little things. They all carry their own bags. They zip them up and tuck them under the bench. All their clothes are hung up. It’s just respect. Their jersey never touches the floor. Little things within the game that really teach them how to be good young men.
Know a coach who deserves to be recognized as Coach of the Month? Use the form below and tell us all about them!
Please note that all previous submissions are still eligible for upcoming Coach of the Month awards and do not need to be resubmitted.
Share with your friends on Facebook and join the largest network of hockey parents.