Dealing with babies, toddlers, and little kids, in general, is extremely different and more difficult than dealing with teenagers and adults.
Kids are quite the challenge considering the fact that they do not really completely comprehend instructions at all times. Moreover, their attention span is way shorter than those of teens and adults. That in mind, teaching kids how to play certain sports does not really follow the usual rules.
Teaching younger kids in terms of hockey presents a new and unique challenge to the coach; several factors must be considered and taken into account to ensure that the goals set forth by the Coach are attained. Here at Born Hip, we are ready to teach you coaching should be done.
How It Should Be Done
The recipe for an effective hockey coaching session with kids makes use of the main ingredient which is fun. Having fun should be one of the ultimate goals in each hockey game with kids. The coach needs to be fun and he/she needs to make the activity fun as well.
Kids love to have fun and their attention and focus will remain on the activity only if they are interested in it and the best way to make them interested is by making the event fun.
As a coach for little kids, you must use positive reinforcement with the players. Continue to motivate them by praising them. Do not make them feel like what they are doing is wrong; instead, make them see that there is, instead, a better way of doing what they are doing.
Praise them not only for doing the correct hockey moves but also for trying their best in the ice rink. Be gentle with the kids when it comes to instructions and corrections.
Connection might be one of the toughest things to establish with a set kids. That said, a light and happy personality would best make way for the connection necessary in this situation. In order to establish a spark with the little kids, the coach must know how to adjust to the kids’ level of thinking.
Kids are more fragile; hence, they need extra attention. Always make sure that during hockey games or practices, the kids have the necessary and appropriate safety gears (you may check Skates HQ for this). Make sure you, you and the players follow the rules and regulations of the game as well.
Clear instructions as well as clear goals must be set forth by the Coach. Little kids will not understand metaphors and complicated words; thus, you might need to be a little more creative in expressing the message you want to relay to the players. Allow and encourage them to ask questions as well as to clarify things.
To spice up the hockey practices, you might also want to incorporate small prizes that may serve as motivation for the kids. Prizes do not really have to be fancy; they could be simple prizes such as food, stickers, toys, etc. This is also a great way for you to introduce them to the mechanics of a real game where there are those who will win and those who will not.
The Bottom Line
Avoid pressuring the kids into winning each game. Instead, educate them about sportsmanship and teach them how to turn their weaknesses as strengths. At the end of the day, the kids must understand that winning is not the ultimate goal of the game and that the goals are actually having fun, playing fair and learning the art of sportsmanship.