AHCA: Don Vaughn on Development & Leadership

Part of the Hot Stove talks at the AHCA Convention was Don Vaughn, the Head Coach from Colgate. His talk centered on Leadership & Player Development. The highlights:

  • They had a young team (17 freshmen & sophomores)
  • What led them to success this year – they had more of a plan for what they were trying to accomplish – they wanted to be smart, disciplined and quick (d-men who could skate instead of just straight size)
  • They clearly define their roles – each player is given a foundation for who you are and what you do, they then create 4 or 5 markers for each player that they have to do to be successful (scorers get shots, 2 way forwards get hits, etc) and then they sit down and have the players hold each other accountable to their measures – everyone has a value to the team and is respected for what they bring
  • Regarding player development – Tuesdays are a day where they do small groups and just skill work – 6 or 7 guys for 20 minutes at a time
  • Monday and Thursday practices were always the same week to week – emphasis on pushing the pace and playing fast
  • Playing fast is built through drill design and the terminology that you use – you have to emphasize the way you want to play
  • They relied on their sophomore class to get on the freshmen and get them to know what they’re doing
  • The roles they established were flexible throughout the season – you have to redefine and recalculate from time to time. For the depth guys (5th line) the markers they had were more  practice than game oriented, but they still established goals and measurements for their players

My takeaway was that the emphasis on player development and player roles allowed each player to find their niche and contribute what they could to help the team be successful. Heading in to 2014-15, Colgate has a team with 17 sophomores and juniors that should be primed to make a run in the ECAC.

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