Your time and ice time are both valuable. We will make every effort to make practice worth your time. And fun.
We aim to provide practical, useful, simple, basic instruction that covers skating, passing, shooting, defense, positioning, and strategy. We will never do conditioning at practice. You can do this on your own time and off the ice if you want – and we encourage it. Practice is for learning though, and to master a skill, it must be done slowly and correctly before it can be done well and at a faster pace. It must also be properly taught and demonstrated.
Everyone makes mistakes when learning something new (that is after all, how we learn – by making mistakes). If mistakes go uncorrected, they become bad habits. We will try to help you correct mistakes through individual feedback. And we will also give you individual feedback on what you are doing well! We don’t expect you to be perfect, we don’t even expect you to make massive progress in one hour. But we do expect you to try – we just ask for your best effort to make a small improvement during every drill. If you really want to make us giddy, you can even practice on your own at home or go to open skate and open hockey.
We try to design our practices to focus on one specific skill and choose drills that build on that skill. We like to give all players several runs through a drill, offer feedback, than work on the same drill some more. We like to keep players moving as much as possible and minimize standing around. To that end, we ask that players are in the locker room and ready to listen 10 minutes before practice. We will go over some of the skills and drills for the evening in the locker room, so we don’t waste time doing that on the ice.
Some skills don’t actually require ice to work on, but do require the team to be together. For example face offs and positioning in different game scenarios. For these kinds of things, we will have some off-ice practices. There’s no point in wasting your money and valuable ice time when we don’t actually need ice. We will also use off-ice practices to review video of our games when we can get said video.
Let us be the first to say we are new to coaching and have lots of room for improvement. Please help us be better coaches by telling us what we do well and what we need to get better at (Lindsay already knows she needs to be louder, she’s working on it, really!). If you have an idea that would make practice better – we want to hear it! We also work to bring in guest coaches and other qualified folks to help coach practice. For the record, we also obviously still need lots of practice at lots of hockey related things. If we ever forget that or truly believe we have “mastered hockey”, please throw us overboard.
The best way to get better at hockey is to show up and play. Hockey is a team sport – the whole team needs to understand the team philosophy and the team’s plays and strategies. One needs to know how each teammate plays. Learning your teammate’s habits is just as important as developing your own skills. We want every single player to be at every single practice. But we are realists and we know that’s not going to happen. So we will be happy with everybody attending practice most of the time. Please see our attendance policy for details. And besides, what’s the point of developing an awesome practice if no one shows up?