GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Peter Laviolette realizes it doesnt matter if a hockey coach is on the pro, minor, college, junior or youth level. The Carolina Hurricanes head coach made it clear to his audience of more than 500 coaches that everything is made a whole lot easier by mastering one aspect of the job: managing information.
With a laptop sitting in front of him on the lecturn, Laviolette explained to coaches how one of the most valuable pieces of advice wasn't how to utilize the information they gather about their own team and the opponents theyll play, but how to store and eventually manage it.
"I'm interested to see what you coaches use to store your information and how they become more organized," he said. "I was looking for ways to manage information, from things like practices and team meetings. With free time during the lockout, I tried to do something that would help make me a better coach."
So Im not here to talk about something like forechecking. Instead, Im here on how to manage information better.
First, said Laviolette, he had to set up his equipment, starting with the laptop. He acknowledged that managing information may not be considered the most important part of a coachs job.
But I do think its important, he said. It has to be available. Have it on your laptop and carry your laptop at all times. Then youll have it whenever you go. As a coach, youre making an investment in yourself.
You have to somehow manage the information youre trying to process or store. Its entirely up to you. Ive tried to come up with a way to take the information and put it in the database. It has to be neat. Sometimes, Ill put the information down on my card. It has to be neat and it has to be legible.
Ways to store information, though, is still a work in progress, even for Laviolette. I try to categorize things and do it as simply as possible. You categorize teams that you play, in our division or in your conference. I dont really want to type a lot, but I do want to be able to move it around as quickly as I can.
Laviolette said he takes information on the teams rosters and downloads it.
You then have the strengths and weaknesses down on each player. In effect, youve created a resume on that player and can do it for the whole team, he said. I can also create a database based on the forecheck, breakouts and other areas. Every time you play a team, you create a folder for that team with things like a players strengths and weaknesses.
And, for Laviolette, that information lasts forever.
You can go back to any game, Laviolette said. Ill have a snapshot on what happened that night. Ill have a depth chart of what the teams did that night. Im going to keep track of referees the same way, [as in] what he called and whether he lets you get away with the rough stuff. That way, you have a referee database.
Laviolette said hell apply information toward a video so players can easily digest what the tendencies are in certain situations.
That way, I can give a player a quick snapshot on what they try to do and what we can do to counteract it, he said. I did this because I wanted to become more organized. I have no plans to sell it. Its not a complicated system. But I know what I want to do and what needs to be done.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc.
It’s an off-season that continues to be full of changes, reactionary and planned, as all of us in the USA Hockey Officiating Department forge forward in the new normal. Our efforts are consistently focused on ensuring safety, fun and development for players, coaches and officials.
One issue that continues to arise is the abuse of officials and the effects it has on retention. To counter and help improve the environment, USA Hockey’s rules sub-committee has been focused and committed to solutions.
This sub-committee was established to define and recommend programs to confront this problem. As a result of this, a first step was taken at the recent Annual Congress to amend the Zero Tolerance Policy. Several proposals were made and adopted by the Board of Directors to constructively confront this problem.
These changes strongly recommend things like game officials introducing themselves to the coach during warm-ups in order to start the communication process and set some guidelines for in-game communication.
The parents/spectators section was amended to clearly state the behavioral expectations of this group. Another strong recommendation added to this section was to establish a parent/spectator monitor by each local youth hockey team for all games. Ideally, this monitor will address and de-escalate parent/spectator behavior before it impacts the game and the officials have to stop play.
Also added, a reminder to administrators that they are responsible for taking any appropriate disciplinary action towards parents/spectators that are removed from a game as a result of a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy.
Navigating New Norms
As we all still grapple with the effects of the pandemic, the Officiating Program has been working to develop effective ways to fulfill our educational responsibilities when it comes to the annual registration process. To that end, the only process that provides educational value and a safe environment is with virtual seminars. A format and curriculum was developed and approved by the District RIC’s. This was distributed to all of the District RIC’s for implementation as they see fit. Due to the many different and ever-changing restrictions around the country, if the situation arises where in-person seminars can be held then the District RIC can also schedule them as needed. The Virtual Seminar Program is the best solution for this season. As situations change, the Officials Section will revisit this program for all future seasons.
Every Tuesday, the Officiating Education Program will present an hour-long webinar on various topics of interest and importance to not only USA Hockey’s officials but the entire membership. These panel discussions will cover topics such as abuse and zero tolerance, communication, player safety, as well as items such as game management and positioning within the three recognized USA Hockey Officiating systems. Panelists will include some of the top officials in the country and other experts from the hockey world whose goal will be to inform, entertain and encourage the USA Hockey community to learn more about officiating.
Getting officials from their first year to their third season is a key focus for the Officiating Education Program. Helping officials understand the basics of the craft and giving them a supportive resource is what the Mentor Project is all about. USA Hockey is helping local Officials Associations put together the framework where a mentor gets matched with a new official and works with them not only in their first month or second, but is a constant resource for the new official throughout their first couple of seasons. Learning about how to read the rule book, navigate the challenges of getting assignments and become a proficient official are all goals of the mentor project.
Again, we hope everyone is safe and sane as we prepare for a different landscape of hockey – but we are excited to welcome it, and you, back to the game.
See you at the rink!
Tag(s): Past Events