In this book, I will not focus on the highly technical side of coaching hockey. What I will focus on is what a 3- to 6-year old will realistically be able to accomplish. An example of this would be a forward stride. In teaching a proper technical stride, such as what would be taught in a power skating school, there would be many steps involved, such as blade angles, the use of body joints in order, exact foot placement, etc. — all things that young kids wouldn’t be able to understand or do very well. You can ...
In this book, I will not focus on the highly technical side of coaching hockey. What I will focus on is what a 3- to 6-year old will realistically be able to accomplish. An example of this would be a forward stride. In teaching a proper technical stride, such as what would be taught in a power skating school, there would be many steps involved, such as blade angles, the use of body joints in order, exact foot placement, etc. — all things that young kids wouldn’t be able to understand or do very well. You can expect them to push out with a mostly full leg extension instead of straight back with a short push off and then dragging their foot back. Having said that, you will be surprised at what these young kids can and will accomplish. Don’t sell them short by not giving them the chance to learn.
I have been involved with Canadian hockey for over 30 years as a player, coach, and a parent. My passion is working with kids 8 and under and until now have not found a resource that I would recommend. Coach Parr provides his insight into coaching young players, dealing with parents, working with coaching staff, and how to be a coach. Roger encourages thinking "outside-the-box" when developing practice plans and maintaining a high level of player engagement. Highly recommended reading.
I was born in 1961 and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan which is a city with the same name as the one in Ontario, Canada. It is a short 2 mile bridge trip across the St. Mary’s River to be in one of Northern Ontario’s hockey hotbeds. This short trip has been and continues to be a source of competition for kids on both sides of the border.
The "Soo", which is the commonly used name for either city, was once referred to as "Hockey Town USA". At one point the Detroit Red Wings had training camp here in town. Between the two cities they are home to a Division 1 college team, an OHL team, several Junior A teams, along with AAA clubs and high school teams. Of course there are many youth teams on both sides. As you can see I come from some deep hockey traditions.
I, like many kids of that era, grew up playing hockey starting at an early age. In my case that was four years old. I still have lifelong friends from those early years, a true added bonus to playing hockey.
The first rink we played on till we were peewee age is called Kaines Rink. It is indoors but refrigerated by open windows and Mother Nature. We experienced some very cold Saturday mornings as global warming was not a factor back in those days. The rink is also quite small measuring roughly 55 feet wide by 145 feet long. Dads cleaned it by pushing big scrapers. I still use the rink today for some of my ice time and special events.
We then started playing at the Pullar Stadium at the peewee age, which was a big deal to us back then. In 1939 when it was built it was state-of-the-art and was one of the very few rinks in the world that had summer ice at a cost of 3 dollars per hour. It also is smaller in size than a typical NHL sized ice surface.
Unlike today, summertime changed our hockey venue from ice to asphalt. The street or someone’s driveway became our summer rink. No coaches, no adults, not much structure, a time to try new moves and have lots of fun. Again we played in constricted space and didn’t care one bit as long as we were playing.
During the winter months we spent many, many hours playing on our backyard rink. All the neighbor kids would come over and we would play till we were told to come inside. We used that rink which was also small up into our teens, sometimes even getting our dads to play. We spent a lot of time looking for pucks in the snow banks.