No matter how successful something has been in the past, it’s always important to continue to evaluate and audit processes to stay up with the trends.
As one of the models worldwide for youth hockey coaching education, USA Hockey listened to participants from all levels and decided to overhaul its curriculum for coaching clinics.
Mark Tabrum, director of the Coaching Education Program, set up an 11-member committee to review and freshen up how USA Hockey informed coaches of best practices in how to develop young players.
“We’ve revamped our curriculum to the point where it’s much more interactive,” said Tabrum, who has been in his current role for 20 years and last did a significant revise of the teaching plan 10 years ago. “Our in-person clinics, there were some challenges there. I mean, you’d go to a clinic on a weekend and for eight hours, you’d sit in a classroom, listen to a couple of speakers and those were long days. It was the old methodology.”
Previously, there were five modules covering 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U and 18-19U. Now, Tabrum said there are three modules for 8U, 12U and 13-and-over in order to be “more concise, more to the point” for the age groups of players. There are also four levels coaches can take, with a limit of one clinic per year, as well as continuing education classes.
“I think the biggest point of it is the fact that all the clinics we’re doing have gone from kind of checking the boxes to say you took a class to a real pointed learning objective,” said Kenny Rausch, USA Hockey’s director of youth hockey. “What we’re hoping to now see around the country in years to come are better-quality practices run by youth hockey coaches. When I say better-quality practices, I mean making it a better experience, a player-centered experience, instead of a coach- or adult-centered experience.”
Before USA Hockey was able to put the new curriculum into action, it was thrown a big curveball: COVID-19.