I am a volunteer coach for a high school hockey team. I say volunteer because I don’t get paid like the head coach or other assistant. People think I am crazy. It isn’t enough that both my boys play travel hockey, but I go and volunteer to coach a bunch of kids that go to a school that my kids will never attend. Plus practices are at 6 am, four days a week. Who wouldn’t love that?
I have coached at all levels of youth hockey except midgets over the past 20 years. For me coaching HS is a learning experience every day. It is less about skating and stickhandling skills and more about systems. You teach different skills within the systems to allow the kids to work within the systems better. The kids are more complex than the little ones I have coached in the past. But with time comes experience and I am a much better coach now than I was 3 years ago when I started.
Tryouts started yesterday and continued this morning. It is difficult to get use to the early morning practices, but with my job it is the only way I am able to do this. The big challenge today was to pick the team. We had some very good freshman and sophomores tryout as well as a crop of juniors and seniors. In most cases the underclassmen are the better hockey players. Our dilema as coaches is do we keep the young kids and work towards the future and deny the older kids the opportunity to play their last year or years on the varsity hockey team, or do we work with the weaker older kids and give them that opportunity of playing for their HS team. Me and the other assistant gave our thoughts and left the final decision up to the head coach. I will find out on Thursday what the final choices were.