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 A great youth hockey coach is one who:
  • Understands that the game is about the players, not about themselves
  • Makes coming to the rink an enjoyable experience, not a dreadful one
  • Coaches every player on team, not just the best ones who he wants to keep around for next year
  • Knows that positive reinforcement is much more productive than negative
  • Remembers what it was like to be a kid and then treats the players how he or she would like to have been treated at that age
  • Communicates effectively with all players and their parents so misunderstandings are minimized
  • Knows when to step back and let the kids figure things out on their own
  • Understands that the referees are going to make mistakes and teaches the players on the team to accept that fact and not let it effect how they play the game
  • Is respectful of opponents and teaches his players that a quality opponent will help them improve and take their game to a higher level
  • Has heard and understands the phrase “profanity is a crutch for a weak mind”
  • Knows when to shut up and let the players talk things out themselves
  • Is smart enough to know that just because “it was done that way when I was a kid” doesn’t make it the right approach
  • Is willing to take the responsibility for a loss and give the players the credit for a victory
  • Knows that every player on the team is important to success of the team and will contribute at some point if given the chance
  • Recognizes that yelling is only a short term method of communication and sooner or later they will quit listening unless they want to
  • Realizes that only a fraction of a percentage point the players who play the game will even have the opportunity to play at a level beyond high school
  • Recognizes and is okay with the fact that they are coaching a youth sport and their “coaching career” will end before or when their child’s participation ends and it is not the first step to a professional coaching career
  • Understands that coaches don’t develop players, they develop themselves—coaches can only provide them the opportunity to do so
  • Knows that honesty and integrity will get you much farther in life than sacrificing them in order to win
  • Understands that motivation and respect born of fear might get you some wins in the short term, but true respect has to be earned over time by doing the right thing
  • Realizes that the time to coach is in practice. The games are the time for players to play and a coach can often be more of a hindrance than a help during games
  • Is smart enough to know that players don’t improve if they are sitting on the bench
  • Acknowledges that the player who actually did make it to the higher level probably got there in spite of their coaching, not because of it
  • Is willing and able to learn something new from players every time out on the ice
  • Remembers the coaches and teachers who had an impact on them, both positive and negative, and utilizes that experience
  • Understands the power of the coach and acts as a positive role model for the players at all times
  • Knows the value of a smile
Defines a successful season not by what was won or lost, buy by whether the players are inspired to play again next year