The blog has been a little light for the last week – I’ve been down in Naples, FL at the AHCA Coaches Convention. I thought I would share some of the things that I learned.
Scott Owens (Head Coach at Colorado College) spoke about season planning:
He breaks the season up into phases, strategically aligning how he and his staff interacts with the players.
- Before the season starts, he and his staff do not interact with the players, giving them space and time.
- Phase One is October through December. The staff is very hands on with the players: teaching, going to lifting sessions, attending study halls, etc
- Phase Two is the “Dog Days” – they let the captains take control with more team activities and some practice planning
- Phase Three is the “Home Stretch” – coaches jump back in and really drive the ship through the end of the season
He thought it was important to give every player a chance to play early in the season – “fall on a grenade” and play a player even if it means you lose a game. This way all players are given an opportunity and experience for when they might be needed.
They hold meetings with their captains on a regular basis and with individuals once a month. CC will use meetings as a way to help get players to buy-in (sitting in on decision making process, understanding what goes on behind closed doors) with players who need it. The constant and consistent individual feedback helps players understand where they fit and where they excel and where they need to improve.
Throughout the season they will do things to break up the monotony of the year. They will have relays and games, bring in non-hockey related speakers, have non-hockey trivia sessions, etc. The importance of bonding over non-hockey events was emphasized.
Overall, it was clear that Colorado College puts a lot of thought into the things they do throughout the year. Every “Phase” of the season has a plan and there is solid reasoning behind the plan. Frequent communication with the players helps them to learn and develop.
On a personal level, I love learning about the approaches that other coaches and programs take to their season. While there is not necessarily a right or a wrong way, the different methods are good to see. There may be one thing that is a great idea, or something that triggers a thought process that will help improve the way I work and function in the future. I’d love to know what you think – leave a comment about your season planning or what you think of CC.
I’ll have more posts from the Convention in the next few days. There was a lot of good information and lots to share. Stay Tuned!