One of the greatest joys in my life is the opportunity to coach and train young hockey players. The sport of hockey has always held a special place in my heart, and sharing my knowledge and passion with the next generation is incredibly fulfilling. Here are a few reasons why I love coaching:
1. Educating Players in Skills - As a coach, my primary goal is to educate players on the game's intricacies. Watching players grasp new concepts and witnessing their growth in skill is a truly rewarding experience. In particular, I find developing skating skills and edgework very rewarding. Skating on two razor-thin blades performing stops, starts, and pinpoint turns is difficult. Helping players develop their skating skills and edgework is the foundation of the game, and being able to glide effortlessly across the ice with speed and agility is crucial. It's incredible to witness players progress from average skaters to becoming elite skaters over the years.
Seeing a player struggle to maintain balance to execute tight turns and quick transitions confidently is gratifying. Witnessing their growth in skating technique, balance, and edge control is a testament to their hard work and dedication. It's a reminder that anything is possible with perseverance and the right guidance.
Watching players develop their edgework skills is especially rewarding. Edgework is all about using the edges of the skates to maneuver and change direction quickly and
efficiently. As players master this skill, their ability to navigate the ice becomes more fluid and dynamic. Witnessing their progress from tentative edge control to executing smooth crossovers and tight turns is an incredible transformation.
Moreover, as these players become more proficient skaters, their overall game improves drastically. The increased speed and agility translate into better positioning, faster transitions, and the ability to outmaneuver opponents. Seeing these players take their skating skills to the next level and become dominant forces on the ice is truly awe-inspiring.
2. Witnessing Progress and Self-Challenge: There's nothing quite like seeing young athletes challenge themselves and progress in their development. The progress players make, both individually and as a team, is a testament to their dedication and hard work. Witnessing their determination as they push themselves to new heights and overcome obstacles is truly gratifying. The joy on players' faces when they achieve their goals is indescribable.
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3.. Infectious Energy of Young Players: Being around young athletes is invigorating and infectious and keeps coaches like myself young in spirit and on our toes. Players' enthusiasm, energy, and love for the game are contagious and make you want to come to the rink. Their unbridled passion and zest for hockey remind me why I fell in love with the sport in the first place. Their excitement fuels my own, motivates me to provide them with the best coaching experience possible, and keeps my skating and edgework in top form.
4. Drawing Correlations to Life Lessons: As we wrote in our post entitled, Important life lessons hockey teaches, hockey is not just a game; it's a platform for learning valuable life lessons. Coaching allows me to connect the dots between the game and essential principles that apply off the ice as well. Through hockey, I can teach players about perseverance, teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship. These lessons extend far beyond the rink and prepare them for the challenges they'll encounter in life.
5. Building relationships with players and families: For some players and their families, the coaching journey extends beyond just a few seasons. Some players have been under my tutelage for years, and during that time, they become more than just athletes I train – they and their families become an extension of my own family. We develop a deep bond built on trust, respect, and shared goals. I have the privilege of watching these players grow and evolve as athletes and individuals.
From the countless hours spent on the ice together, the victories, the defeats, the injuries, and the triumphs, we go through it all as a team. There is an unspoken understanding between us, a connection that goes beyond the confines of the rink. I am not just a coach to them but a mentor, a confidant, and a support system.
As the years go by, I witness their personal and athletic development firsthand (including a few players that have gone on to the USA Development Camps). I see them overcome obstacles on and off the ice, filling me with immense pride. Being a part of their journey is a privilege, offering guidance, encouragement, and a listening ear whenever needed.
The bond formed with these players and their families is a testament to the transformative power of sports. We celebrate victories together and navigate through tough losses, setbacks, and challenges as a united front. The support system we create becomes invaluable, and the shared experiences build lasting memories and friendships that extend far beyond the realm of hockey.
For all of these reasons listed above, I am truly blessed to be around the sport of hockey!
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