Whitbourne site for stone tossing
Once a week, the local arena in Whitboure keeps ice skaters away so local curling enthusiasts can send a few stones into the rings. Games have been happening at Trinity Placentia Stadium for over 30 years.
To steal a line from Family Guy’s Peter Griffin, you know what really grinds my gears?
Watching minor hockey coaches patrol their benches without nary a word to their young charges. They might holler ‘ change’ or the always annoying ‘ dump the puck and go get it’ – what kind of coaching is that? - or bark some nonsense at the referee in a vague attempt to get one over on the official.
They do the one thing they’ve been put in those places to do and that is coach, but they fail to make their players better or correct even the tiniest details during the course of a game.
Take the plight affecting hundreds of young defencemen in this province as an example. Somewhere along the line, they’ve been told to shoot the puck blindly as soon as it touches their blades.
Someone had the bright idea to tell a defenceman that and now, it is something that seemingly cannot be corrected. It is just a lack of effort, really.
Now, I know Coach Bob is volunteering his time and he’s doing the best he can. I applaud Coach Bob for giving up his time to help the kid out. It takes up a lot of a person’s time to volunteer to coach a minor hockey team.
If they make a great pass, let them know. If they turn the puck over, let them hear about it.
It means long weekends on the road, sometimes in snow and other weather types, and dealing with parents who aren’t always going to see things your way. Coaches are great volunteers for sure.
But, at some point we need those great volunteers to be great coaches. It doesn’t matter if its ‘A,’ ‘B,’ or ‘C’ hockey or tiddly, if you’re on the bench you need to coach. Just because you open the gate, doesn’t mean you can’t give some advice where you see a kid doing something wrong.
If they make a great pass, let them know. If they turn the puck over, let them hear about it. As long as you’re encouraging or attempting to correct, that’s being a coach. Opening the gate and closing it isn’t the trait of a coach. It’s the trait of a Wal-Mart greeter.
If you want to call yourself a coach, you have to impart some form of knowledge. It is as simple as that.
I understand it may take a season to really find your voice. It’s that little inkling in your head that lets you know it’s time to share some wisdom. Up until that point, you’re not sure when to speak and when not too.
You know what you want to say, but getting to the point where it forms a coherent sentence takes a bit of time.
It is not all on the volunteers though. If the bare minimum is all that’s required to get on the bench, then can we really expect any better for the players?
But, then you run into the problem of having not enough coaches. The volunteers willing to get on the bench should not be run off at the same time.
It is a question that needs to be asked and answered. Too many coaches are on the bench that have no business being there. Do I know the answer? No. Am I this great coach who is above criticism? No. In fact, my inexperience probably led to the collapse of my team in a recent tournament.
Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with The Compass. He doesn’t claim to be a great basketball coach, but he tries. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Pinsent (left) and Darryl George sweep a rock to its final destination.
Nicholas Mercer To the Point