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.

Gearing Up for the Pre-Season

You are either already in your pre-season or it is just around the corner. Season plans should have been in place by now, along with the regular season schedule and practice sessions. Are we excited or are we panicking?

What did you learn from previous pre-seasons that you will use to make this year the best ever? Are you going to have a catchy slogan to rally the player around?

Here is an excerpt from The Hockey Conditioning Handbook that will give an overview of your conditioning objectives and areas of emphasis. The book also contains information for on-ice and off-ice training and programs for you to use. Go to the Store tab at the top of the page to buy the book.

Pre-Season means on-ice workouts have started but league games have not. It’s your last chance to get all your conditioning ready for the ultimate test – game time.

Pre-Season Conditioning Objectives: 1)      Top Up Off-Season Levels

2)      On-Ice Transfer of Conditioning

The first part of the pre-season usually has 2-3 weeks of dry land training for ‘topping up’ your off-season training. The off-season foundations must then be adapted to the ice. Your running legs get switched to skating legs. This is also the time to incorporate specific high energy and explosive energy training. Dry land work can be done to help develop these energy systems initially. But it will be essential to ultimately train these two systems on ice as well.

During the pre-season a player should be able to gradually reduce his aerobic workouts from 5-6 per week to 2-3 per week, with at least 1 of these being done on the ice. Players should put their strength training gains to use while practicing skills and reduce regular strength workouts to 1-2 per week. Flexibility work should still be done as a ‘loosen up’ in warm ups and as a ‘tension relaxer’ at the end of all workouts. Otherwise, players will start to lose the flexibility gained from off-season training. Less time can be spent on flexibility now. One or 2 repeats of an exercise for each major muscle group should suffice at this stage.

High energy training is difficult to do on ice psychologically because of the combination of intensity and time (very hard for 40-90 seconds) needed. Skills drills are not easily adapted to these training requirements. For this reason, optimum high energy work (60-90 seconds) is easiest done off-ice. Specific high energy work (30-60 seconds/a typical shift length) should be done on ice.

Explosive energy work should be done daily, primarily on ice. This system will be a key to quick skill execution during games.

Pre-Season Training Emphasis:

1)      Foundations On-Ice

2)      High Energy Training

3)      Explosive Energy Training

Use the pre-season to finish getting completely physically prepared to play games. All physical aspects of conditioning must be transferred effectively to the ice. Here are samples of pre-season training sessions for both on-ice and off-ice work.

Do you have your overall goals and objectives set for your pre-season? Are you rebuilding or just fine tuning around a core of returning players?

What is your player selection criteria? Do your staff and the players trying out for the team know the criteria? They darn well should. Is fitness testing included?

Use the pre-season wisely. It is an ideal time to set the standards, discipline, culture and environment for your team for the season.