Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

AHU Coach’s Corner: What you need to know coaching today’s hockey player


coltenToday’s generation is way different than any other generation we have seen yet.

The resources they have and can tap into are endless. So what exactly is this group of young individuals looking for in a coach?

The answer is easy:



They all want to trust the person telling them what to do on the ice.

In this column, I will explain all the things I believe coaches should be teaching their group of young athletes.

Trust is something that is hard to come by these days. All players want to be able to trust their coach and you can gain trust by communicating with your team. They want to be told how they are doing, whether it is good or bad. The trust will eventually set in if you stay consistent.


This is the toughest thing to get you players to do, to be fully committed to a team atmosphere. The more you teach commitment and how to be a team player, the better off everyone will be. They have to believe that what they are doing for the team is what is also best for them individually.


Some of the best players are the creative ones because they see more plays, and because you are allowing them to use more than just one skill set at a time. Teach your players to be creative at the right times. Teach them the situations in which it is OK to try some new things.


The players need to have respect for the game and their peers. Character is a huge thing because every team goes through the ups and downs of a season and it’s great character that will keep them more on the upside of things more likely than not. We have to start teaching kids to have character because that allows them to be coachable when they move on into their career.


This is the most underrated skill. Yes, compete level is a skill that not everyone has, but it is a skill that everyone can control. If you are having a bad day feeling the puck, you can always rely on your compete level to still make sure you have a good game. Teach them that no matter how good you may be, competing is what makes you even better.

There is a lot that goes into being a coach. You have to learn every day so that your players can feed off of you and learn every day as well.

Every coach is different, but I feel with today’s generation, the kids have to trust their coaches before they fully buy in to what you are building.

Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union.

(May 11, 2018)

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