We must warn you that there is no magic recipe to be a better hockey coach, only a series of tips taken from the experience and observation of working with great professionals. In fact, in the following paragraphs you will find a series of aspects that are key to growing and improving day by day as a coach of any sport, you can also learn from the history through reading their hockey stories.
Don’t confuse having authority with being authoritarian
The figure of the coach is undoubtedly that of a leader. However, there are different types of leaders depending on their management of the group. Those coaches who believe they have the absolute truth generally take any criticism of the players as a threat and limit the space for growth of the team. In this way, they end up imposing their authority against the group through sanctions and unilateral decisions. Consequently, the coach ends up moving away from the group and, paradoxically, loses his hierarchy and authority, which in turn leads him to be more and more authoritarian.
We bet on coaches who are capable of reinforcing their position of authority by asserting their knowledge through communication with the group. They create a space of freedom in which they know and satisfy the needs of their players, who find it easier to respect their way of proceeding and abide by technical decisions.
Don’t become friends with your players, but know them as if you were
Let there be no room for misinterpretation, of course you must get along with all players. But as a hockey coach, you can’t let personal relationships outside of sports influence you when it comes to making decisions that affect the whole group.
Build relationships based on empathy, listen to their needs and concerns. Don’t judge them from your experience, but use your experience to connect and help the player. For example: if a player is in exam period and it is difficult for him to get to everything, it will not do him any good if you tell him how well the institute was given to you and that you were capable of taking everything forward.
Improvise on schedule
A good leader is clear about his roadmap, but he is also capable of adapting and reacting in case modifications are necessary. Thus, the coach who plans his year and his sessions will have more control over what may happen, anticipating and anticipating possible solutions. For this it is very important that you know your group and plan based on its characteristics.
However, you must be clear that you will not be able to control all the details. It is also true that you are going to find problems that do not have only one answer. The key to success will be balance and the ability to improvise when planning goes wrong. It is impossible to control all external aspects (weather, injuries, facility management…), so be prepared to adapt and overcome them when the time comes.
Set clear rules and don’t skip them
Success in managing teams is setting guidelines for discipline and coexistence within the group. It will be the coach who has to make the decision of what to do in case they are not complied with. At the same time, he will ensure the creation of a team culture that reinforces compliance with them.
How do we want our team to be? What values do we want to emphasize? What is the image we want to show? Once you answer these questions, set some actions to get to be the team that you have set out to be.
The norms and values of your team are the identity. If there is something that unites more than a common goal, it is the feeling of belonging and identity to a group.
If you think you know everything, you don’t understand anything.
Keep training yourself; you can always learn something new. Find information about how they work in other sports or other clubs, attend courses, read articles, listen to your players and fellow coaches. Maintain your authenticity as you evolve and change each season. Stick with what works for you and discard what doesn’t work for you.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Life Tips category