The purpose of this letter is to some how inform minor hockey how important it is to select the correct coaches for your program. This year myself and a very experienced head coach were asked to come in at the three quarters mark of a hockey season and reshape a team that was damaged and bruised. I do not like to play the blame game, but this one falls directly on the Board of Directors ,who through the Coaches Selection Committee, approved the coaching staff to lead this team. You dropped the ball and the players paid the price. Amateur sports is a multi million dollar industry in North America and you need to make sure your stakeholders are getting value for their investment.
Dear Coaches Selection Committee:
As a member of the CSC, you have the responsibility of selecting coaches who will be responsible for not only shaping the hockey future, but also their future as contributing members of society. We are talking about your athletes.
Coaches have a tremendous influence. They hold the hopes and dreams of every athlete they come in contact with. Many people believe that sport teaches and develops character. Character development only happens when coaches make it their highest priority. What lives on with the athlete is voice of the Coach who took them a performance level in hockey and in life that they never thought they could attain. Winning is short term gratification, just like chocolate. It goes away with time.
Minor Hockey players for the most part do not get to select who coach’s them. Therefore, your coach selection will impact over 50 lives even before the first shot is taken. Therefore, you need to be asking the right questions and doing your background work BEFORE the applicant gets there FIRST interview. If your organization is having challenges in attracting candidates, perhaps you need to look at how you are developing, attracting, and retaining Coaching talent.
Most coaches get hired by Minor Hockey Associations based on their win/loss record. If the coach wins he/she must be good, right. Winning has an importance, only because the culture of minor hockey has allowed it. It is society’s scorecard. I am not saying don’t keep score, what I am saying it is not the highest priority. The person and player development should be the highest priorities. If those disciplines are constantly being focused on and developed in the correct practice environment where failure is allowed to happen and properly dealt with, winning will just naturally occur.
Your associations’ athletes can only play competitive hockey for a short period of time, eventually it ends for everyone. When it ends, what is most important are the learning’s, memories and experiences that were given to them by Coaches, parents, and hockey administrators.
One final thought, your opening question in the interview should be; what is your Coaching Philosophy and do you have a copy with you? If they do not have it written down and with them please ask why? It is the most important question you will ever ask.
Until next time!
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