Minor Hockey Chronicles 3rd Edition: “Don’t You Dare Be Innovative, They Hate That”

I’ll never forget one of the managers coming up to me after practice one night about two weeks into the season.

“Craig, the parents are worried, your practices don’t have enough skating in them.”

“So they want more skating eh, why are they saying that,” I replied.

“Well, they are saying that you are talking too much, that you blow down drills too often instead of skating.”

“So don’t want me teaching the game,” I said as I walked away.

“Don’t worry we will be ready for our first game.”

You see this is a problem with Minor Hockey, everyone is an expert.

Everyone has an opinion.

As they say opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

In this case, I had to re-teach the finer points of the game, because many first year kids had no idea how to play the game the right way.

They had no idea how to play on the other side of the puck.

It was the first year of hitting for so many kids, we were a very talented team, but they needed to understand how to play the game in all three zones. They needed to learn how to pass the puck and how to let the puck do the work.

You see while I was teaching the game in practice, some hockey parents thought we weren’t skating, they weren’t accustomed to seeing a coach teach or explain mistakes, blow down drills and teach.

If we didn’t execute the drills properly, I stopped the drill and explained it, retaught the skill. If we didn’t execute the drill or the skills within it, we skated and set up the drill again and repeat.

You see I was criticized, because what I was doing was perceived to be wrong.

Can you imagine a parent confronting a young coach for sitting their entitled kid down after mouthing off at the ref and the other team, well that is happening.

You see some hockey parents have no clue.

They didn’t know then and they certainly don’t know now, because their experiences in the game is all based on their past experiences in who they gravitate towards within the game.

You see that’s all politics. All back channel overture hockey shit.

“Oh this didn’t happen last year we skated a lot.”

“Yeah you skated a lot, but did you learn how to play the game?”

“Coach last year never sat players down, I’m going to go blast this coach and question their integrity and knowledge of the game because they did that to my child.”

You see just because it didn’t happen last year or something is different then it’s wrong and unjust.

Hockey parents are programmed to react, programmed to overreact and fly off the handle, because they have seen it all before. You see all this shit is learned behaviour.

You see I was teaching the kids on the ice and the parents in the stands.

Our first game went extremely well because the kids knew how to break pucks out under pressure, they knew where and when to pass the puck, they knew what my expectations were in all three zones because we practiced it. We talked about it and showed them repeatedly. That’s not that innovative, that’s just coaching, but it was different so it had to be wrong because that didn’t happen the year before.

Don’t be innovative, they hate that!

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