Coaching From Experience

This past winter (that of 2009/10) I helped a friend out with coaching a youth ice hockey fundamentals class. It was there that I realized how much fun it is to coach kids. Now, with Ike on the way, I am really excited to watch my own kid get involved in sports, eventually of course (I doubt they make 0-6 month old ice skates or baseball gloves), and maybe even coach them.

Fast forward a few months. I am at the library looking for books on hockey history to read in my spare time (I highly recommend "Why Is The Stanley Cup In Mario Lemieux's Swimming Pool?" and "Best in the Game: The Turbulent Story of the Pittsburgh Penguins' Rise to Stanley Cup Champions") and I came across a book titled "Coaching Kids For Dummies", a how-to book that covers a variety of topics and aspects that parents should consider when coaching children. I am only midway through the second chapter and I have already learned a lot from it. From the first chapter though is where I learned a lesson on my own experience in sports.

As you know (if you read my previous post) I am on a hockey team that is doing terribly. We signed up for the wrong league and are all getting really frustrated, as well as having a great time. Our captain, who happens to be the guy I did the fundamentals class with over the winter, is looking into other options for us to play next season in a league that is more suited to our level of play. In the last post I mentioned that getting beaten every game is a lesson in humility. Well, after reading this book, I realized that my perspective had been all wrong to begin with. The whole point of this league is to have fun and to compete. I was putting way to much pressure on myself to excel in a situation that didn't allow me to. I was having fun but not allowing myself to be satisfied. What I need to do for the last three games is just go out there, have fun, and work on my skills. That is what it's all about. There is no prize for winning. No trophies or plaques or anything. It's all about having fun and I can see that now.

Before, I said that I am going to ditch my team at the end of the year but after one of our more recent games I spoke to one of the referees who had worked two of our games. He recommended that I move down a level and continue playing with my team. There, I can be one of the better players in the league and really get a chance to work on my skills. I should play two or three seasons at that level and then move up with the confidence and skills that I have been building. That was really good advice. I am still looking into both options but for now I want to stay with my team.

As for coaching, the experience I am having of losing every game of the season and still having a great time is the first thing I will tell any group of kids that I am assigned to. "Listen up, a few years ago I was on a team that was shut out in 5 of our first 7 games and lost all 10. But every person on our team had fun. That is the point of playing and that is the only thing I expect from you guys. Winning, statistics, great plays all mean nothing. We are all learning. As long as we have fun the whole season then, win or lose, we are winners. This is your time! Now go out there and take it!"

1 comment:

  1. I think you're making a wonderful decision! I can't wait until Ike can play hockey with his/her Totti.