Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hockey training with the kids

The oldest child in the family I help out with is 8 years old. His name is Declan and he also plays hockey at HGC. It is a much different culture here in regards to hockey when Declan, like many of the other children, have already been playing hockey for 2 or 3 years. I didn’t even know what the sport was until I was 11! I was asked to help out with the team though because they don’t really have a coach and have had parents trying to run practice. I’ve coached a lot over the years from Futures to summer camps and more. So far, this experience though has been quite different from the coach I'm used though.

First of all, the kids are quite a bit younger than I am accustomed to working with, but at the same time more skilled than I expected. It can be hard to get the attention of a group of 8 year olds! It is even harder when you speak a different language that most of them don’t understand. So a lot of practice I have to demonstrate and show the kids what I am trying to explain. (Often Declan helps me because he knows English and can translate, or there is a parent there helping to translate which helps a lot). Although the children seem to like me, it can be quite hard at times to get them to do what I am asking or trying to explain. Even simple things can be extremely hard to explain, so patience and persistence are very important. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, non-verbal communication can be very useful, and that goes for teaching hockey as well. But working with the kids is also helping me learn more hockey terms! I realize just how many words I really don’t know yet!

I have a funny story to go along with that which happened this week. So while I was helping train some of the kids, I had pulled one of the boys aside and was working with him individually. He was having trouble doing a reverse stick pull because he wasn’t moving his hands correctly. Since he understood nearly no English, I was showing him and moving his hands for him. This strategy was not working so well, but I didn’t know what else to do because I didn’t know how to explain it in Dutch. Just then, my coach from Dames 1, Peter, walked up to the field to say hi. He laughed for a second as he watched me struggle to explain. He helped describe what I was showing in Dutch to the boy and immediately he understood what to do. A little bit embarrassed and frustrated, I thanked my coach and told him I had to get back to coaching. He agreed but replied that he would give me a long list of Dutch hockey words to learn because I needed it! Haha, indeed I do!!

Even though I’ve coached a million times, this is a completely new experience where I really have to get down to the basics and break down the skills. The kids are a lot of fun though and I am quickly picking up a lot of new hockey words which will help me on field at my practices as well! Once again, I just laugh at the language barrier and find new ways to communicate until I can learn more Dutch!

1 comment:

Serge said...

Training kids would surely be a daunting yet fulfilling task once you see them play the game as you taught them how to.