By Woodard, Dale on January 12, 2017.
Welcome to the dog days of January. The weather has been cold, the snow has been immense and Christmas is in the rearview mirror. Looking forward, the hockey playoffs seem so far away and golf season seems even further.
What do we do now?
Stay motivated, stay positive and enjoy each day of hockey because, before you know it, the season will be gone.
My first hockey season as an employee of Hockey Alberta has quickly reached the other side of the hump but there is still lots left to accomplish.
Coming up on Jan. 23 in Lethbridge and Jan. 24 in Medicine Hat will be a Being and Building Leaders Workshop. Josh Hoetmer from the Alberta Sport Development Centre Southwest will be facilitating. Josh does a lot of work with high-performance athletes as a certified Sport Psychologist. The goal for this workshop will be to increase coaches’ understanding of their roles as leaders, give them tools as leaders and allow them to evaluate as leaders. This will be a great workshop for all coaches.
For those of you who have read my great reviews of our WHL Game Day Clinics, then guess what? Yes, we indeed have another coming up on Feb. 4 with the Hurricanes hosting the Moose Jaw Warriors. Brent Kisio and Mike Craig will again make a post-game presentation. Also presenting will be Tim Hunter, who has been a Stanley Cup champion with the Calgary Flames, and assistant coach with three NHL teams and was most recently an assistant coach with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.
This clinic will be as fun and exciting as the clinic done last month with the Hurricanes and Kamloops Blazers. With the clinic over half full already make sure to sign up while spots are still available.
The forecast does call for warmer weather next week and another week passing is another week closer to the end of the hockey season.
My advice for all coaches and players is to cherish this time because once a season is gone you move on and never get it back. These times of the season are where we see the first half development of players begin to show. The players who have worked hard to this point will begin to see their work pay off. Most importantly, this time of the year is when players can continue to further their development and set themselves up for success down the road.
I personally have played on teams that have won more than they have lost and vice-versa. Regardless, this time of year is imperative for player development. This is the time of year when playoffs seem too far to be excited about and the early season excitement has worn off.
Coaches, don’t forget that your attitude is infectious. One of the best coaches I had that consistently made sure practices were fun and intense throughout a long hockey season was John Novak. John was an extremely intense person who always made practices enjoyable. He coached me in Atom and Pee Wee and his son, Travis, was on the team before moving on to St. Cloud University and later the American Hockey League. I remember the intensity John brought to practice but also the fun we had as a team.
The closest I ever came to a provincial title was one of the years John coached me (Atom AA). We ended up losing in the provincial finals to Red Deer after beating a star-studded Cochrane team.
Remember coaches, your attitude is infectious and will be something the players remember long after their careers are over. Whether that season leads to a provincial championship, a runner-up or just constant improvement from your players.
Parents, remember your coaches are continuing to volunteer their time to make your kids better. The dog days of January are almost over, the weather will start to warm up and the end of the season is right around the corner. Enjoy!
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