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Coaches Crunch Numbers on Opening Day

08/22/2014, 7:00pm MDT
By USAHockey.com

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - An array of numbers and data served to the coaches here at day one of the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium made the video boards look like a slot machine.

Numbers on optimal training age windows, weight training repetitions, game systems breakdowns and more were the talk of the conference rooms at the J.W. Marriott.

Mark Tabrum, director of coaching with USA Hockey, said they day's programming represents the ever-changing landscape of hockey coaching.

"A reason why continuing education is important is because as things change we want to continue to do the right thing for coaches and players," Tabrum said. "The information tells us that's what we should be doing. As coaches heard today, playing other sports develops the athlete."

Dr. Stephen Norris, one of the world’s leading sport scientists, opened the day with his presentation on player development.

A full ballroom of coaches, many of which are also parents, soaked up the invaluable childhood development specifics, in what was an empowering and energizing start to the day.

Norris’ actionable insights emphasized building physical literacy in children, and ultimately building better athletes, through sports programming that takes into account long-term athlete development and age-specific windows of trainability. In the process, he saluted USA Hockey for its innovative youth hockey efforts.

“USA Hockey’s ADM is a phenomenal resource for doing what’s best for kids,” he said, emphasizing that the guiding principle of youth sports and coaching should be thinking about what’s in the best interest of the child.

“An 11-year-old is not half a 22-year-old,” he said, noting how we scale everything else from elementary school toilets to bicycles for young children, “so why not youth hockey?”

The concept aligned well with the previous night’s comments from Dean Lombardi, president and general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, who emphasized that hockey players don’t truly reach full maturity until approximate age 26. In other words, “let kids be kids.”

After his presentation, several coaches eagerly engaged with Norris in discussions about their own specific player- and child-development questions.

Following Norris, the theme turned to Xs and Os, as New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano took the stage for a presentation on the structure of systems. In his 60 minutes, he covered all the major concepts but gave special emphasis to one in particular.

“Too often, breakouts are never taught as a system, and to me, they are one of the most crucial systems,” he said. “Because if you can’t break it out, you’re in your own zone all night.”

In his dissection of breakouts, and their transition into attacking, he discussed the importance of having every player involved, including defensemen, whose jobs aren’t done after completing the first pass, according to Capuano. He emphasized the value in having them jump into the attack after moving the puck.

“With the rule changes and the speed of these players today, you have to play the game with five guys now. You have to work as a unit of five.”

After Capuano’s film-study session, attendees divided into age-specific breakouts with ADM regional managers, where they covered topics ranging from mental toughness to goaltending to practice planning and beyond.

Tabrum said the symposium's topics are carefully crafted to keep the four-day event a constant challenge to the attendees.

"We try to challenge coaches to think in a different light about these topics that maybe you haven't thought of before," he said.

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - An array of numbers and data served to the coaches here at day one of the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium made the video boards look like a slot machine.

Numbers on optimal training age windows, weight training repetitions, game systems breakdowns and more were the talk of the conference rooms at the J.W. Marriott.

Mark Tabrum, director of coaching with USA Hockey, said they day's programming represents the ever-changing landscape of hockey coaching.

"A reason why continuing education is important is because as things change we want to continue to do the right thing for coaches and players," Tabrum said. "The information tells us that's what we should be doing. As coaches heard today, playing other sports develops the athlete."

Dr. Stephen Norris, one of the world’s leading sport scientists, opened the day with his presentation on player development.

A full ballroom of coaches, many of which are also parents, soaked up the invaluable childhood development specifics, in what was an empowering and energizing start to the day.

Norris’ actionable insights emphasized building physical literacy in children, and ultimately building better athletes, through sports programming that takes into account long-term athlete development and age-specific windows of trainability. In the process, he saluted USA Hockey for its innovative youth hockey efforts.

“USA Hockey’s ADM is a phenomenal resource for doing what’s best for kids,” he said, emphasizing that the guiding principle of youth sports and coaching should be thinking about what’s in the best interest of the child.

“An 11-year-old is not half a 22-year-old,” he said, noting how we scale everything else from elementary school toilets to bicycles for young children, “so why not youth hockey?”

The concept aligned well with the previous night’s comments from Dean Lombardi, president and general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, who emphasized that hockey players don’t truly reach full maturity until approximate age 26. In other words, “let kids be kids.”

After his presentation, several coaches eagerly engaged with Norris in discussions about their own specific player- and child-development questions.

Following Norris, the theme turned to Xs and Os, as New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano took the stage for a presentation on the structure of systems. In his 60 minutes, he covered all the major concepts but gave special emphasis to one in particular.

“Too often, breakouts are never taught as a system, and to me, they are one of the most crucial systems,” he said. “Because if you can’t break it out, you’re in your own zone all night.”

In his dissection of breakouts, and their transition into attacking, he discussed the importance of having every player involved, including defensemen, whose jobs aren’t done after completing the first pass, according to Capuano. He emphasized the value in having them jump into the attack after moving the puck.

“With the rule changes and the speed of these players today, you have to play the game with five guys now. You have to work as a unit of five.”

After Capuano’s film-study session, attendees divided into age-specific breakouts with ADM regional managers, where they covered topics ranging from mental toughness to goaltending to practice planning and beyond.

Tabrum said the symposium's topics are carefully crafted to keep the four-day event a constant challenge to the attendees.

"We try to challenge coaches to think in a different light about these topics that maybe you haven't thought of before," he said.

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