Two things were evident this past Sunday as Panthers coaches held their coaching clinic at the BB&T Center for South Florida USA hockey registered coaches.
Communicate with players and parents and keep it fun.
Yes there were drills that were discussed that would help improve skills as all the Panthers coaches were on hand, but those were the two overlying topics of the night. Coaches have to keep the conversations with their players and parents so everyone knows where they stand and they can improve on their skills. They also shouldn't focus on the winning aspect, especially at a young age but instead make the game as fun as possible.
The idea to put on a clinic came from Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen and along with his staff of assistant coaches Craig Ramsay, Gord Murphy and Robb Tallas, the four spoke on a multitude of things.
"What we're trying to do is just give them an idea of how we do our business and maybe give them some ideas to take back to their teams," said Dineen. "Whether they're working with eight-year olds or 18-year olds."
Tallas touched on the importance of keeping goalies involved in practices throughout as opposed to just the end while Ramsay spoke about how to forecheck. Dineen followed that up by focusing on maximizing coaching enjoyment and potential and Murphy really hit home on the communication and fun part. The coaches followed up their areas with a Q&A session with the coaches that came from various programs, including the JR Panthers.
"What our goal is (tonight) is just to get across that what we feel we do is teach," said Dineen. "The chance to influence players, whether somebody like myself that might be dealing with guys 30-years in age or someone that's dealing with my son who's nine that gets a chance to go out there, understand that they do have a big impact on these kids."
And for Dineen, that impact that coaches have on their players isn't just for the season.
"(They) can set a tone any time they get to be a part of a team and work with other people," said Dineen of the youth and USA registered coach's impacts. "Hopefully those are life lessons that will last a long time."