Basis of my Philosophy
The amount of good intent put into the philosophy of girls playing hockey, either for a girls’ team or for a co-ed team, is usually lost before the first practice. The understanding of what to expect from the youth is where I start.
The adage of “boys will be boys” or “kids will be kids” needs to be thrown out the window. There is no excuse for same gender or cross gender belittlement upon anyone. The concept that girls “want to play with other girls” or that they should be coached differently, or even that they aren’t able to keep up with the boys, is exactly what is holding them back. Many of these girls started on the same ice as their co-ed counterparts, yet are then strongly directed to girls only teams. If or when they rejoin the boys, they are out skilled and out matched solely due to the mismanagement of their hockey careers from a coaching stand point. Girls are coached in the most part to have fun, to enjoy the game, and due to sometimes lower numbers there is not much need for growth or betterment because the field stays the same. Boys are coached to fight and battle to make the next highest team, and to continue until they reach the highest pinnacle. The are coached hockey, the battle, the thirst, the intensity. Girls want and deserve the same.
On the Ice…
My on-ice strategy for practices is based through a combination of drills that relate directly to the game. However, I have been well known for drawing up drills in the sand after a game, to directly suit areas in which we needed work. The game of hockey can’tbe properly taught solely from a book. It’s way to inconsistent. The amount of on ice variables causes organized chaos. All you can do is work within those bounds to create practices and growth based off experience and know how. There are hundreds of wonderful drills that can get concepts across and teach the whys and the how’s’. But not many that deal with the “what” will happen. Yes, we all need our breakout drills, and defensive positioning drills, cone skates and stick handling, corner battles and moose jaws. But when you free yourself some from those and create drills based on your needs, you really see true progress and understanding. I would rewatch games, and comb over practices, to highlight and pin point areas. We always start and end practice with skating. Every practice has some assemblance of a break out style drill, that players might not even realize at first is that. Puck movement, player movement, regroup, attack. There are always drills focused on game specific ideals then dropped in. Offensive zone pressure and set up. Defensive zone positioning and movement. Regroup drills. Then the odd drills. Dig for pucks drill, 4 puck drills, double break out regroup attack. My list of dirt drills is endless as they are created due to that necessity to pull the game apart and put it back together. To try to learn the oddities and uncontrollables and make them less odd and more controllable. Teach the sport, coach the sport, teach the player, coach the player, no matter what sex they are, they deserve to be coached as a HOCKEY player.
“Coach Dale coached our son last year. His enthusiasm and encouragement were unmatched to any other coach he’s had. He learned so much from Dale. In fact, he tried to make the same team as Dale’s daughter, just to have him as a coach again this year. Dale is passionate. You know that he cares. You know that he will listen and take the time to explain any answer you need about anything. He was very motivating. We were very blessed to have him as a coach, and only hope that our paths can cross again in the future and be lucky enough to play for him again.” - Karen H.