Making a Coaching Change During the Season

Few can imagine why a coaching change would be made during the season unless those in power felt compelled to do so. Regardless of the reasons, here are some points to consider by those involved-management initiating the change, and the coach coming on board.

  • Do your homework.

Have all avenues to correct the existing situation been explored? Communication is the key here. If all have been explored, it is time to pull the trigger on the change.

Have the players been playing to their ability and is the team framework allowing this

to happen? If not, then a change likely is necessary.

Does the new coach know what the goals of the organization are? He had better!

Has management addressed concerns to the new coach?

Have resources been made available to allow for success?

  • Watch the team play with an analytical eye.

Management should know the level the team and individual players are capable of.

The new coach should take the opportunity to watch his new team as an objective observer.

  • Plan for a smooth transition.

Be sure all the right people have been contacted in advance and there are no surprises after an official announcement has been made.

Have a plan to move the old coach along in an expedient and dignified way. This can be done in a professional and classy way, with planning.

  • Get up to speed quickly.

Know exactly what needs to be changed and immediately start making changes. Players will want to see things happening in a new and improved way.

  • Define roles.

Meet with each player and staff member as soon as possible and have all very clear

on their role with the team.

Don’t assume that people know what you want and expect from them. You need to

clearly communicate what you want to each person individually.

Expectations need to be established and shared throughout the team.

  • Build a new culture.

Start with respect for each other. Demand basic things like common courtesy to each other and saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. This might sound corny, but it works.

Lines of communication should always be clearly defined and free flow of information will follow. Lots of little meetings and informal chats work well.

I took over a team two weeks ago. There were 22 games left in a 68 game schedule. The team was not in a playoff spot and sliding in the opposite direction.

We have two wins and a tie in our first four games and we followed the plan laid out here. Hopefully it will continue to work.

Scouting a Hockey Game With Tips From the Pros

Whether we are a coach, GM, player, parent, or fan of hockey we are usually, in some way, ‘scouting’ the on ice talent as we watch a hockey game.

Want to know how the pros do it? Rory Boylen has a weekly blog called A Scout’s Life on on scouting. Here is how it is described on the site:

A Scout’s Life is a weekly look at the world of minor and pro scouting throughout North America. Each week we’ll talk to different scouts from all levels of the game, getting a first-hand perspective of the different aspects of talent evaluation.

Boylan talks to people in the scouting world and gets insight on the many aspects of the job. The differences between being an amateur or pro scout are pointed out. Even details like where to sit to watch games is discussed. Here is a sample from the November 11/08 blog.

“There are always guys who will jump out you weren’t expecting to. That’s a bonus, someone else to follow.” – Paul Castron, director of amateur scouting, Columbus Blue Jackets…

So how does a scout keep an eye on all these guys without missing anything? Part of it is getting a heads-up from your area scouts so you know who to watch before you set foot in the arena and another part is getting there a little early – about one to two hours beforehand – and making sure you’re prepared.

“Prior to the game I’ll check out all my reports on all the players I expect to play and the date the last time I did a report on those players,” said Mark Dobson, director of player personnel with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Once the game is over, however, a scout usually doesn’t hang around for too long…

That reminds me of the old hockey line: “What are the eight words a scout never hears at a hockey game?-Last minute of play in the third period.”

Mike MacPherson also has a scouting blog. He has great stuff as well. I know Mike and he really knows talent. Here is information on Mike and where to get his blog.

Mike MacPherson began scouting in 1999 for the Chicago Blackhawks and was responsible for the ECHL. He is currently the director of scouting for the Phoenix Roadrunners, NHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks and also scouts the OHL for the International Scouting Service. MacPherson also coaches in the OMHA within Guelph Minor hockey. He will be blogging about his experences in scouting throughout the season on Read his other entries HERE.

Check these blogs out. They are entertaining, informative, and will give you a view from trained eyes-and I wouldn’t be surprised you will enjoy watching hockey more than ever.