Coaching Tips

Here at the Mighty Pucks we try to educate you every now and then so it’s about time we gave some practical advice – just in case Therrien is reading this and fancies improving his coaching abilities. I was thrust into coaching a sport I had only played for a couple of years purely because we had nobody else to coach the team then I spent the next two years learning how to balance being a good coach and a good player. These tips come from my own experiences as well as a coaching course I attended – to apply them to a variety of team sports I’ve kept them as general as possible.

  1. Drills vs Games
    1. Drills are there to develop the necessary skills – and it’s great if drills can mimic game settings as closely as possible. However, running games in a training session is crucial for actually putting the technique into practice and having the opportunity to make the right decision, plus it’s less pressure than a competitive game.
  2. Technique to Team Play
    1. We’ve seen players not fulfill their potential despite being heralded as The Next Big Thing, which is sometimes due to their playing style not suiting the team. This is something a coach must rectify; an individual’s technique must be able to fit in with the team.
  3. Cut the Queues
    1. For someone who plays a winter sport in shorts and a t-shirts, this is probably the tip that I really tried to implement when I took over as coach. When running drills, players should not work for 3-4 seconds then rest for another forty seconds. Don’t let queues build up. It’s a very easy problem to fix – duplicate the drill and split the players between it.
    2. The WORK:REST ratio should be implemented for drills. A good rule of thumb is for a jogging drill it should be 1:1; 30 seconds jogging, 30 seconds rest – then for a speed drill 1:4 or 1:5, so 10 second sprinting and 40 seconds rest.
  4. Probables vs Possibles
    1. Whilst most commonly used in rugby, this is a useful tip for cohesion. Have the probable team for the next match play against the “left overs”. This lets the probable match team get acquainted with each other and develop cohesion. It also allows a substitute or secondary player from the possibles team to catch the coach’s eye if they’re putting up a stellar performance against the better players on the probable team. On the flipside, it allows a coach to see who isn’t fitting in with the probables and not really pulling their weight.
    2. However, don’t forget it’s good to play the strongest forwards vs strongest defensive players sometimes too.
  5. Spot and Fix
    1. Perhaps more appropriate at youth/beginner levels, however even experienced players can still have incorrect techniques. There is no such thing as a perfect player. Coaches ought to be able to spot and correct players’ techniques; not correcting them is tantamount to saying “they’ve never been able to do it right” and focusing on improving their fitness instead.
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