I certainly knew that I wanted to give back to the game that was so great to me. My experiences gave me some great insight into what a player needs to develop.
U12 AAA Peterborough Petes
A typical practice day for us would probably have a very distinct practice agenda prepared. Our coaches Mike Williams, Brock Davis and myself would typically talk at the end of a weekend and determine some specific things we may want to work on the coming week in practice.
Typically at this age, we try to keep the majority of drills focused on individual skills and individual tactics as these will be vital in order for the kids to become more capable and skilled to take to team tactics.
Game days would be fairly simple for us at this age. We get to the rink usually around 1.5 hours prior to the game.
We discuss possible line combinations if any are to change, different discussions with some of the kids one on one or as a line, forward or defence group to share some things to focus on that particular day or talk about things we have worked on this past week in practice that serves as a reminder just before game time.
We always meet with the team as a whole about a half hour before the game to give a pre-game speech and then onto our game!
I believe that the winning mentality from the love of the game, having fun and learning to get better.
Makes all of the kid’s experiences better.
We try to focus on making the kids day to day experience of the game as fun as possible, mixed in with the balance of being serious about learning and getting better.
We can’t ensure, or specifically teach a child to fall in love with the game, however, we can do our part as coaches to make sure they enjoy the space they are in within the team and the parameters around how to be a better teammate which makes everyone around them better.
All of my experiences were certainly a little different pending on the level and country that I was fortunate to play in.
Having been able to play junior hockey in my hometown where I grew up watching the team was such a great experience that I was very proud of.
Being able to represent Canada at the WJC was beyond a dream come true. To do it two different years and win Gold both years was something you could never have imagined.
Visiting European countries for the first time in my life through my Hockey Canada experiences was something I will never forget.
Having played five years in Germany was an incredible opportunity to earn a living at what I loved to do and experience a country and its culture.
Mostly the friendships and people you are able to meet through all of these different years of playing in different places are invaluable.
It helps you grow as a person and see and experience different cultures that make you appreciate your own and where we can improve as a culture or myself individually.
Yeah, I think we have to focus on all of the core skills as much as possible for the kids as I have mentioned ensuring they are in their best position possible to move on to the next year.
It is easy to want to work on team tactics over skills as coaches get caught up in the “must-win” lane and forget or ignore the basic skills of the kids. So basically you’re approaching it upside down at younger ages.
Focussing on team and not the individual skills.
I’ll admit at times it’s hard. But we try our best to make sure our heads are wrapped around it as much as possible.
You can make short-term sacrifices but in the long run, it will pay dividends to both the individual player and most certainly to the team as a whole.
I certainly knew that I wanted to give back to the game that was so great to me.
My experiences gave me some great insight into what a player needs to develop. How to make it fun for them, and ultimately develop into the best player and most importantly teammate that they can become.
This will set them up for hopefully a very fun and memorable experience as a player with us and beyond.
The reality is that is what this is about because for the vast majority this will only ever be a hobby, their fun socialization.
A great experience will help them build their confidence and social skills in business and all sorts of different interactions they will have throughout their life.
The best advice I can give is if you truly love the game, be open to learning, working hard and putting the team ahead of yourself. That will most definitely benefit you as an individual far more greatly than being selfish and looking out for just yourself.
Eventually, those individuals weed themselves out of competitive sports at a high level.
1 Listen to your coaches.
2 Don’t ever give up.
3 Work your butt off!
Brent Tully, Head Coach for the U12 AAA Peterborough Petes, has gained an abundance of experience playing professionally in the US, Canada and Germany. His love for the game has exceeded his playing days and brought him into a coaching career. You can tell Brent has a passion for the game and creating a safe and fun environment for the kids. He knows how important coaching this age group is, as they are socializing, learning and gaining confidence. Tully’s impressive athletic career has brought him all around the world and playing internationally has not only brought competitive hockey but great cultural experiences and friendships.