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romdj

Assistant coaching and Psychology

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Hello everyone!

So I'm looking for advice, I recently wanted to give a shot at being an assistant coach for my now ex-team (quite competitive, players aged 18 - 25), I was a 4th line player on that group last year due to mostly lack of skill.

The coach there is solid hockey-wise, and I believe we share the same mindset when it comes to player development and team projection, so I offered him to help out, and I'm going to have a one-shot opportunity to take part in a couple of practices as an assistant.

Personally, I'm a pretty receptive guy that likes to read people, and playing with this group for a year lead me to get to know the players pretty well. I also like to know group/team dynamics etc..

Usually, I like to take my time to observe and give feedback here and there (1-1 confidence boost and I'm still thinking about other stuff I can do to contribute).

I was planning on taking some sports psychology moocs but the timeframe is rather short.

Basically, I would like to have a bit of advice on how to not ruin this opportunity considering that I have limited hockey knowledge (I picked up the sport later in life and rarely was part of an organized team).

  • What is usually expected of an assistant coach in minor leagues?
  • How can I change my perception from the player that I was last year to a different status this year?
  • More generally, what would be your advice for me to make the most of this opportunity?

Thanks a lot!

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STEP 1 - Listen and learn!!  

STEP 2 - Listen more!

OK.... now that this is established, the head coach will set the parameters.  Look for his lead and follow.  Hopefully he will review the practice plan with you before.  If he asks for input feel free.  If not be prepared to execute.  Get the cones ready.  Help position the players.  During practice, if there is something you can help a player with then do so.  

As far as changing the perceptions of other players, that happens over time and it is earned.  Be serious but approachable.  Don't push the envelope but you are not their friend anymore either. Be patient.  Be a teacher.

Enjoy the experience, work hard.  Get the cones out.  Be prepared to demo all the drills and run them to perfection.

 

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Learn the players’ personalities (you probably have a leg up there).  Know which players respond to overt criticism and which ones need to be coached in a private side conversation.

As mentioned, be valuable to the coach.  Do all the little things on and off the ice that lets him focus on his core coaching responsibilities.

i was in a somewhat similar situation when I was assistant for a college club team.  Expectations weren’t explicit so I just defined it myself.  I started running dryland and all S&C activities including designing the program and creating a web site for it.  I put up bars in the office to hang the jerseys, took them home and washed them after every game (my wife lovvved that...), put together a first aid kit with spare helmet parts, designed and ordered helmet stickers and game pucks, delivered the line up to the scorer before the game, etc.

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On 8/30/2019 at 4:11 AM, romdj said:

I was planning on taking some sports psychology moocs but the timeframe is rather short.

Have a watch of this, it's long at an hour and 22 but there are some real nuggets of knowledge in it.

 

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First off, you don't have to be a great player to be a great coach. In fact, most of the time the best coaches weren't the best players. The way to earn the players' respect is to show them you know what you're doing and you serve a purpose on the ice. 

Before the first practice, get with the coach and go over the drills, and what he is looking to accomplish in each exercise. Then ask him what the key components are for each drill. There will only be a few teaching points in each drill. Know them. When you see player not executing, pull him aside and help him. Watch the same player do the next rep of the drill. If he improves on the component, congratulate him. Repeat. Before long, you will work your way into the team when they see you add value. 

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I'm starting my 5th season an assistant coach. It is quite a dynamic as you'll bring your own experience to the ice but will have to answer to someone else (aka the head coach). I'm fortunate as I knew my head coach back when we played JRs and reconnected again years later during men's league (that's when he had invited me to join him on the bench). This will be the second year that we'll be coaching 18U Tier II (will also be my fourth year as AC at the high school level). I'm also in my early 30's. I mention all these things to give you a sense of where I'm coming from. One thing that I know is that you and the head coach will have to be on the same page with everything when it comes to public communication. On the bench. In the locker room. During practice. Talking with parents around the rink. This is so important so that there is one voice heard during the season. If there is any disagreement, do it in a way that only you two know. If there is more than one voice, there will confusion and divide. It is inevitable. Another thing that is very important is that you'll have to relate to your players on a personal level. My generation is the last of a dying breed. The coaches I had just coached and didn't care about how I was doing. Or try to have some from of commonality outside of hockey. They said and I did. And if I didn't fall in line, I was punished. That really doesn't fly at most youth levels anymore. It was the biggest adjustment for me but I've now had the chance to coach some the same kids on multiple teams I know that it works. I can get on them when they're wrong and they're less likely to take it personally. I know here in the USA, Safe Sport and physiological wellbeing has been at the forefront of coaching clinics for the last 5+ years. Things have changed significantly over a relatively short amount of time. Knowing the game is only a portion of coaching now. Will be interested to see how @romdj does in your first season. 

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