Summer Sessions – This is where the foundation is put in place for this season. These will include a parent meeting for introductions, contact exchange and an opportunity for me to review the season plan. This gives the parents to know the expectations for the upcoming season and to voice concerns or questions they may have and for me to provide an honest answer with my reasoning. Every offseason I try to create a minimum of 3-5 team building activities for the players to get to know each other. It gives the returning players a chance to meet the new players (parents as well) and to do a fun activity so the players have a relationship before we ever even hit the ice. These have included – street hockey/hockey activity, bowling, attending sporting events of last year’s players that have moved up (shows continued support of teammates), pool parties, birthday parties etc….
Early Season – this is the time we get a lot of practices and I get a chance to evaluate each player on their personal skill set and to develop a plan to place each player into a role that fits that skill set for them to be successful. A player’s role must be in line with that player’s skills and abilities or that player is setup to fail. EVERY role is equally important and the understanding that who get the goals or assists does not matter – it is the team effort and play that counts. This includes discussions with my coaches and often with the parents so they have an understanding of their daughter’s role and expectations for the season. Communication and understanding is key.
On Ice – My on ice practices are a blend of USA hockey offerings, drills from coaching websites and forums, personal drills I have created and assistant coach input drills. I run some drills geared towards players with a specific need while some other players work on a drill that meets a need for them. At the 10U level players will get exposure to all the positions but the focus remains on skills development. I will push players to work hard and to push themselves but always in a respectful and appropriate way – my experience as a teacher has helped me develop various strategies and methods to motivate and encourage students of all different learning styles.
Tournaments and Travel – I understand family is first and many team members have other family commitments besides hockey – but participation in tournaments is important and often when teams do their best bonding. Depending on circumstances, I expect a minimum of 2-3 tournaments with 1-2 being out of town.
Fundraising – We are planning to have 2-3 large fundraisers and to raise funds through sponsorships as well. Other smaller fundraisers may also be used to raise team funds as determined by manager and coaches. The funds are used for team meals, holiday party, tournaments, hotel room rentals, player awards, team banquets and family gifts during hardships.