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Youth ice hockey coach

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Youth hockey

The role of a youth ice hockey coach is a combination of teacher, motivator, organizer, listener, and disciplinarian.[1] In addition, there are many responsibilities that a youth hockey coach will fulfill. Some responsibilities include: facilitator, demonstrator, evaluator, supporter, and planner.[2]


In sport, the role of an expert coach entails more than teaching.[3] Youth coaches influence the degree of enjoyment experienced by youth and their desire to continue participating in sport.[4] This influence occurs through the coaches’ goals, values, attitudes, and behaviors.[5]

Prior to coaching on the ice in the United States, coaches must complete a certification course and age specific modules sanctioned by USA Hockey and register with USA Hockey. Coaching clinics for certification are offered at various locations across the country, broken down by districts. Registering with USA Hockey and for a coaching clinic can be completed online at USA Hockey.com.[6] Formal coaching education programs are not the only way coaches develop. Other learning opportunities, such as playing experience, mentoring, and discussions with other coaches play a significant role.[7]

A coach should focus his/her attention on individual skill development first. Individual skill development should be mastered prior to focusing on competition. For players to become successful in a team situation, they should develop their skating, stick handling, passing, and shooting skills. Individual skill development is the foundation for every player and of primary importance before advancing in competitive situations.[8]


  1. "Coaching Hockey for Dummies"; Don MacAdam, Gail Reynolds; 2006
  2. The Role of the Coach, Topendsports.com, retrieved November 2014
  3. Bloom, A., Gordon, Durand-Bush, Natalie, Schinke, J. Robert, Salmela, H. John, (1998). The Importance of Mentoring in the Development of Coaches and Athletes, International Journal of Sport Psychology, 29: 267-281.
  4. Scanlan, T.K., & Lewthwaite, R. (1986). Social psychological aspects of the competitive sport experience for male youth sport participants: IV. Predictors of enjoyment. Journal of Sport Psychology, 8, 25-35.
  5. Smith, R.E., & Smoll, F.L., (1990). Self-esteem and children’s reactions to youth sport coaching behaviors: A field study of self-enhancement processes. Developmental Psychology, 26, 987-993. Smith, R.E., & Smoll, F.L., (2002). Way to go coach! A scientifically proven approach to youth-sports coaching effectiveness (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CAs: Warde. Weiss, M. & Gould, D. (1986). Sport for children and youths. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  6. USA Hockey.com, retrieved November 2014
  7. Lemyre, F., Trudel, P. & Durand-Bush, N. (2007), How Youth-Sport Coaches Learn to Coach. The Sports Psychologist, 21, 191-209.
  8. Regan, Rebecca, "Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Hockey", Howstuffworks.com, retrieved November 2014

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