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High Rollers And Hockey Coaches Flock To Las Vegas

08/22/2014, 12:30am MDT
By Harry Thompson - Editor, USA Hockey Magazine

The city known for its high rollers became a place for higher learning when the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium kicked off Thursday in Las Vegas.

The four-day event at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa is a chance for coaches from around the country to listen and learn as some of the best and brightest minds in hockey will discuss everything from designing off-ice training programs to creating habits for individual & team success.

The impressive lineup of speakers features a number of top coaches in the game, including Jack Capuano of the N.Y. Islanders and Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, along with AHL head coaches John Hynes (Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins) and Jeff Blashill (Grand Rapids Griffins). Also presenting this weekend is Dan Bylsma, the head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, along with former NHL assistant coach Mike Sullivan.

The current success of American coaches isn’t just found in the fact that more homegrown coaches are holding top-level positions in the game. It is also evident in the passion of everyday American coaches who continue to keep learning and improving their craft at the grass-roots level.

The National Coaches Symposium is the pinnacle of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program, which hosts more than 800 coaching clinics each year at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Sixteen Level 4 clinics occur annually.

The first year of Level 5 symposium was held 1985 as the brainchild of Ken Johannson, the creator of Coaching Education Program. Over the years the symposium has grown into a celebration of grassroots coaches in addition to those who have achieved the highest levels of the game.

“While there is definitely an impressive lineup of presenters here this week, a big part of this symposium is having coaches from around the country getting together and just talking hockey,” said Mark Tabrum, the director of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program.

“Listening to speakers like Jon Cooper also reinforces their own beliefs that they are doing the same things as one of the most successful coaches in the NHL.”

Following the success of the last symposium in Washington, D.C., in 2012, bringing the event out west was a natural step in the growth of the game.

“Historically this event has been held in hockey markets, and while Las Vegas may not be known as a hockey hotbed, bringing an event of this stature here speaks to the growth of hockey out west,” said Larry Bruyere, the coach-in-chief for the Pacific District.

“This is a great destination to combine these coaches’ passion for the game while allowing them to turn this into a mini-vacation with their families.”

Kicking off the event was Dean Lombardi, the general manager of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, who lauded the 434 coaches in attendance for their passion and dedication to the game.

“It’s amazing that all of these hockey coaches have paid their own money to be here,” said Lombardi.

“I was surprised to see that many people in the room. That’s really amazing to see that many coaches who are dedicated to their craft.”

In addition to the main presentations, coaches will also attend five age-specific breakout sessions that will focus on various elements of the game, including off-ice training, goaltending and how to teach concepts and systems through small-area games.

By tailoring the message to the age group they are coaching, the breakout sessions offer coaches some practical applications and ideas that they can incorporate into their own coaching philosophies when they return to their local teams.

“Some people may walk away from here with 100 things and others may take away one,” said ADM Regional Manager Matt Herr. “But I guarantee you that everyone walks away with something.”

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The city known for its high rollers became a place for higher learning when the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium kicked off Thursday in Las Vegas.

The four-day event at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa is a chance for coaches from around the country to listen and learn as some of the best and brightest minds in hockey will discuss everything from designing off-ice training programs to creating habits for individual & team success.

The impressive lineup of speakers features a number of top coaches in the game, including Jack Capuano of the N.Y. Islanders and Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, along with AHL head coaches John Hynes (Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins) and Jeff Blashill (Grand Rapids Griffins). Also presenting this weekend is Dan Bylsma, the head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, along with former NHL assistant coach Mike Sullivan.

The current success of American coaches isn’t just found in the fact that more homegrown coaches are holding top-level positions in the game. It is also evident in the passion of everyday American coaches who continue to keep learning and improving their craft at the grass-roots level.

The National Coaches Symposium is the pinnacle of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program, which hosts more than 800 coaching clinics each year at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Sixteen Level 4 clinics occur annually.

The first year of Level 5 symposium was held 1985 as the brainchild of Ken Johannson, the creator of Coaching Education Program. Over the years the symposium has grown into a celebration of grassroots coaches in addition to those who have achieved the highest levels of the game.

“While there is definitely an impressive lineup of presenters here this week, a big part of this symposium is having coaches from around the country getting together and just talking hockey,” said Mark Tabrum, the director of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program.

“Listening to speakers like Jon Cooper also reinforces their own beliefs that they are doing the same things as one of the most successful coaches in the NHL.”

Following the success of the last symposium in Washington, D.C., in 2012, bringing the event out west was a natural step in the growth of the game.

“Historically this event has been held in hockey markets, and while Las Vegas may not be known as a hockey hotbed, bringing an event of this stature here speaks to the growth of hockey out west,” said Larry Bruyere, the coach-in-chief for the Pacific District.

“This is a great destination to combine these coaches’ passion for the game while allowing them to turn this into a mini-vacation with their families.”

Kicking off the event was Dean Lombardi, the general manager of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, who lauded the 434 coaches in attendance for their passion and dedication to the game.

“It’s amazing that all of these hockey coaches have paid their own money to be here,” said Lombardi.

“I was surprised to see that many people in the room. That’s really amazing to see that many coaches who are dedicated to their craft.”

In addition to the main presentations, coaches will also attend five age-specific breakout sessions that will focus on various elements of the game, including off-ice training, goaltending and how to teach concepts and systems through small-area games.

By tailoring the message to the age group they are coaching, the breakout sessions offer coaches some practical applications and ideas that they can incorporate into their own coaching philosophies when they return to their local teams.

“Some people may walk away from here with 100 things and others may take away one,” said ADM Regional Manager Matt Herr. “But I guarantee you that everyone walks away with something.”

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TRENDING: Right-Sized Youth Sports

09/01/2015, 9:15am MDT
By USA Hockey

Sept. 1, 2015 | More than 40,000 spectators, plus a national television audience, watched the Little League World Series this past Sunday on a glorious afternoon in Pennsylvania. There were smiles, cheers, entertainment and the noticeable absence of demand for those 12- and 13-year-olds to pitch from 60 feet, six inches or run 90 feet between the bases like their professional baseball heroes.

Right-sized baseball and softball fields, along with age-appropriate rule modifications, have been accepted wisdom in youth baseball for more than 50 years.

Coincidentally, while Little League was paring to its finalists, U.S. Soccer announced a nationwide initiative to improve youth skill development. The centerpiece was a shift to small-sided game formats and field sizes to be phased in across the country by August 2017. As part of the new plan, American soccer at U6, U7 and U8 will be played 4v4 on a pitch approximately one-eighth the size of an adult soccer field. Nine- and 10-year-olds will play 7v7 on a one-quarter-scale pitch. Not until age 13 will players begin competing 11v11 on a regulation adult-sized pitch.

“Our number one goal is to improve our players down the road, and these initiatives will help us do that,” said Tab Ramos, U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director. “In general, we would like for players to be able to process information faster, and when they are in this (new) environment, they are going to learn to do that. Fast forward 10 years, and there are thousands of game situations added to a player’s development.”

With this change, American soccer will join sports like baseball, basketball, hockey and tennis, all of which have embraced the skill-development benefits of age-appropriate playing dimensions and competition formats (see chart below).

Those benefits are at the core of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, which was recently praised by the Sports Business Journal as a “trailblazing program.”

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