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Ask the Expert – Responsible Sports is Here

02/19/2013, 7:00am MST
By USA Hockey

Brought to you by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program

[2013 Experts thumb] Every week, fans of Responsible Sports write in with questions about parenting, coaching and youth sports scenarios which they encounter in youth and high school sports. The questions are posted in the Ask the Experts forum and Responsible Sports then reaches out to their experts to help these parents or coaches.  
 
Visit the Ask the Expert archive or join the conversation on the Responsible Sports Facebook page today!
 
Here is an example of one of our latest questions from a Responsible Coach who wrote to our panel of experts to ask: 
 
"I am the new coach at a school with a very weak program. The number one problem we had this season was with attendance/tardiness. I have a good idea of how to clearly define the expectations. I struggle with consequences. I want to find something other than holding them out of practice or some kind of conditioning punishment." Jim, a concerned coach
 
We asked one of our Responsible Sports experts to weighed in on Jim’s question.  Eric Eisendrath, Positive Coaching Alliances’ Lead Trainer in the Boston and New York Areas had this advice to offer:
 
"Thank you for taking the time to write. My first suggestion would be to begin your practice with "something fun." So often we begin (at least in the kids' minds) with drills and other activities and save scrimmaging for the end as a reward. I have found it helpful, once everyone has stretched (thus avoiding injury), to begin with some type of shooting drills, Power Play, Man Advantage situations. Once late arriving kids see that the other players are getting to shoot etc, they tend to throw their equipment on as fast as possible.
 
I would strongly resist the urge to use conditioning as punishment. Being highly conditioned is critical to team performance. The steps taken to become fit should be embraced, not thought of as punishment. Sprints and pushups etc. are activities designed to "help us in the fourth quarter or second half"; not because we are late or misbehaving. You really want to attach an appreciation for hard work and conditioning, as opposed to linking it to a negative emotion.
 
Finally, instead of looking to "punish" the players who are late; work to "reward" the players who are on time, and doing the things you ask of them. When you announce your starting lineup, have it filled with the players who are on time. Reward the behavior you want, and through extinction, the behavior you don't want (IE tardiness and unexcused absence) will eventually disappear.”
 
Are you a coach or parent who has a youth sports question you’d like to pose to our panel of experts?  Visit us on Facebook and ask your question today!  We regularly post answers on Facebook.com/ResponsibleSports.

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Aug. 25, 2016 | Body-checking is a skill, not unlike skating, shooting and stickhandling, and it’s a critical skill to teach. Rhode Island Hockey recently gave it special emphasis with a free on-ice checking clinic open to all players in the 12U, 14U and 16U age classifications. Hosted at Schneider Arena with help from Providence College men’s hockey head coach Nate Leaman and Roger Grillo from USA Hockey, the two-hour clinic welcomed more than 100 players for station-based instruction in the fine art of giving and receiving a body check properly.

“Body contact is sometimes an under-taught skill, but there’s so much value in teaching it, both in terms of helping young players become more successful and also in terms of injury prevention,” said Grillo. “It was great to team up with the Rhode Island coaches and offer a learning opportunity that’ll pay dividends for these kids throughout their hockey careers.”

The event was so successful that Rhode Island Hockey will host a second session Sept. 8 at Boss Ice Arena on the University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston. Led by Kevin Sullivan, Rhode Island Hockey’s American Development Model director, the clinic will likely become an annual offering to enhance players’ skill and contact confidence, especially for 13-year-olds progressing into their first season of 14U hockey.

“The initial idea came from a parent asking if we offer any checking-specific training for players transitioning from 12U to 14U,” said Bob Larence, president of Rhode Island Hockey.

There’s a component of body-contact training that happens at every level, from cross-ice 8U to small-area battle drills for older players, but the idea of a body checking-specific teaching event for tweens and teens seemed a beneficial complement to that team-level training, so Rhody ran with it.

“We all thought it was a great idea, and ultimately, it became a great collaboration with Rhode Island Hockey, USA Hockey and the local colleges – Providence, URI and Brown,” said Larence.

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Tag(s): Players & Parents