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Coaching Great Athletes

Today I got a call from Adam. He is a former bantam hockey player who recently graduated from Ohio State, where he played baseball. He is now headed to rookie camp for the Milwaukee Brewers. I thought back to his bantam hockey team and realized that, besides Adam, two others currently play in the NFL, one in the NHL and four more are currently or will be playing professional hockey.

Wow, what a crew! One half of the bantam team ended up playing professionally in three dfferent sports. Now how often does that happen? What a thrill to have coached those young men and their teammates. It simply shows that good athletes can play many sports and, to get to the top, one needs to be a good athlete.

Relentless Pursuit of Excellence

USA Hockey continues to expand their American Development Model (ADM) that is intended to provide youth players a better quality of experience in the game, higher skill levels, and a safer environment that will attract and retain more players. The model is tested in other parts of the world, makes lots of sense for kids, and it has the support from many disciplines in the medical field. Hockey associations and clubs around the country are quickly adopting the concepts and ideas although some are fearful of the changes that are required. The interesting part of all of this is that many of these ideas have been around for a long time and only now are they organized into a coherent long term development program for youth players and older athletes.

Umpire's Blown Call Provides Coach Teachable Moment

Often when dealing with umpires, parents, and kids (not to mention bosses and co-workers!), being right is only a piece of what's important for a coach. We have to balance correctness with our larger goals.  As adults, it is critical that we realize the opportunity every moment affords us, the "teachable moments."  As a coach and parent, we always have a choice in how we act and what we say.

Dirt, Drama and Distance

It is late on Wednesday night, well, actually it is very early Thursday morning and in light of recent actions, I just can't sleep.  My mind keeps ruminating over the past weekend and our recent trip to the San Diego area for Nicholas' final BMX National event until the Grands.  It was an emotional weekend, as it is his last race as a 7-year-old and also because it was a very difficult weekend for him emotionally and mentally.

Advice to Coaches: Involve Players In Planning Practices

If you are a coach, try beginning practice by telling players the entire practice plan. You probably have it written down already.  Just hand it out. It is the responsibility of a good coach to know the skills his players need to develop. In that plan include a time period where the players decide what is best for the team or them personally, based on the last game. If players have a hard time speaking with coaches, they should write down the skills that are important for them to learn.
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