Technique is the foundation of practice but competitive games are the soul…
Posted by Dean Holden at December 18th, 2013
By Dean Holden, 14 December 2013
ACYHA Peewee B-1 team goes through a practice run by the Norwegian National team coaches. Demonstrates drills and techniques used by european teams.
The coach in the video says, “Technique is the soul of practice.”
In my mind, this is not quite true… I would say “Proper, deliberate technique is the foundation of practice as it provides the skills to execute; purposeful, competitive games are the soul as these keep the players coming back!”
I like the technical emphasis on the fundamentals, like skating (edge work, etc.), especially between the ages of 9-14. Prior to that, I believe the kids need to play a lot in order to develop their inner passion for the game. They don’t need to hear a bunch of technical jargon from us coaches; they just want to move, to play, to explore their surroundings. “They don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.”
If we can emphasize proper skating stance and ensure their equipment (skates, WOOD sticks, safety gear, etc.) fit them properly, we should turn them loose so they can enjoy the game! Let them make mistakes and struggle. It’s a natural part of learning – we all did it.
And no, they can’t skate, shoot, pass, make correct decisions with the puck at this age – they aren’t adults! Shut up and let them Figure It Out (FIO) on their own!
Yelling instructions is not coaching – it’s X-Box or Play-by-Play coaching… and it cripples the ability of the player to make decisions! (Search for a copy of Jim Belushi’s Chess Coach on YouTube if you can find it – it’s a beauty!) Thanks for reminding me of this classic SNL skit, @Ricer18 !
The term ‘under speed’ and comments about keeping all the kids moving are sage advice. Long lineups = brain disengagement, boredom, screwing around… passion-killing!
The grade 7’s in our skill academy experience a similar format delivered by these Norwegian coaches (but better, IMHO!) We do less traditional drills and more game-like activities where we keep track of personal bests, the score, the time, etc. – all done in small space! This keeps them mentally engaged – they watch the activity / game and learn while catching their breath – as they need to see when to enter the activity. (We put our whistles away as much as possible; this makes the athletes responsible to ‘control’ the activity on their own!)
The Grade 7’s are so much better now than the start of the year… especially with their ABC’s (due to the 15-20 minutes of power skating at the start of practice – 25% of total practice time – we get almost one hour per ice time) and their game intelligence (due to the 30 minutes or 50% of tpt). It really is a magical environment this year… one of the best in almost 10 years of running this particular skills academy!
In Timbits, we try spend at least 10 minutes per hour-long practice on pure power skating; sometimes more (except tourney days, when we play small-space games (2v2 or 3 v3 or 4 v 4 the entire time). Then we get into activities and games that disguise skating / puck skills / ABC’s to keep it fun and motivating! They don’t even realize they are ‘practicing’ – they think they are ‘playing’ – and that’s what kids enjoy doing best of all! Its critical to keep the younger kids engaged / moving without over-teaching and waiting in line… Or they won’t want to come back!
Category: art of coaching, Ask the Experts, athleticism, creativity, decision training, deliberate play, deliberate practice, evaluation, game intelligence, learning, LTAD, philosophy, planning / periodization, practices, self-improvement, skill acquisition, Skills, small area games, tactics, teaching, TGfU, Video