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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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Update on 2015-16 USA Hockey Officiating Registration

07/08/2015, 5:15pm MDT
By David LaBuda, USA Hockey National Referee-in-Chief

District Referees-in-Chief implement changes to registration procedures

As we enter the 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to give an update of what changes to expect this season.

The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting, working on implementing the registration changes that were discussed and voted on by the district referees-in-chief, along with refining the testing and online seminar programs.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION
For 2015-16, there will be an informational video available before an official registers with USA Hockey outlining the requirements and commitment that an individual will need to fulfill in order to complete their registration.

REGISTRATION PROCESS

Next, and a very important change, starting with this season, in order to register for a seminar, an official will have to first register as an official (online) with USA Hockey in order to gain access to the online program to register for a seminar.

This change was due to a number of individuals who would never register as an official with USA Hockey and then ‘no show’ to the seminar that they registered for, which frequently led to other registered officials being denied attendance at that seminar because the seating capacity had already been reached.

This change will provide more incentive for every individual who registers as an official -- and registers for a seminar -- to attend that seminar and complete the registration requirements.

EXAM PROCESS
The open-book testing process has also been modified for the coming season. What hasn’t changed is that a Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions, while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85. All other passing scores remain the same as last year. Those minimum passing scores are 35 for a Level 1 official and 90 for Levels 3 and 4.

While an official is taking the open-book exam, there will be immediate feedback provided after each answer is submitted. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference for that missed question will be given with the appropriate rule book language.

After completing all of the required questions, a summary will be sent of all incorrect responses with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained, then the open-book exam requirement will be complete.

If the result is a failing score, after the seven-day waiting period has passed, the official will only have to retake those questions that were incorrectly answered on their first open-book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule.

Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correctly answered retake questions will be added to the original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open-book exam.

IN-CLASS SEMINARS & ONLINE EDUCATION UPDATES
During the winter meeting, the Officials Section spent considerable time discussing seminar program feedback, and in particular, the online modules. All feedback was taken seriously and an action plan was discussed and adopted.


Two work groups were established to address the new classroom curriculums and to improve the online video modules. Both were comprised of grassroots members who could bring a grassroots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted. The new shortened classroom curriculums have been distributed for application to this coming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.

We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level, and based on the user analytics that the first years’ experience produced, we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases.

Lastly, as a reminder, once an official begins their first online module, they will need to complete all of their online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time periods are 60 days for Level 1 registered officials and 45 days for Levels 2, 3 and 4. If all of the required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program, but it’s back in place this year.

This completion requirement was put in place by the District RICs to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to provide continuity in the overall seminar education process.

SUMMARY
As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:

  • Register online with USA Hockey
  • Register and attend a classroom seminar (reduced attendance times depending on registration level)
  • Complete the required and elective online training modules within the required time frame
  • Pass the open-book exam at their registration level
  • Pass the closed-book exam (no closed-book exam at Level 1) for their registration level
  • Complete their online USA Hockey SafeSport training at the end of every two-year cycle

 

Work will continue on improving our educational programs, and as always, we will continue actively listening to your constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support as a community, we cannot continue moving forward.  Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process.  Implementing those changes in a way that meets the needs of our officiating community is the next step and we’re excited to be taking that step.

Have a great 2015-16 season and as always, skate hard and have fun when you’re on the ice.

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