How To Coach Junior Hockey

Coaching junior hockey requires a combination of technical knowledge, effective communication skills, and a passion for the game. Here are 5 supporting facts on how to coach junior hockey:
1. Understand the age group: Junior hockey usually consists of players between the ages of 6 to 20 years old. Recognizing the developmental stages and physical capabilities of each age group is crucial in tailoring your coaching methods and strategies.

2. Focus on skill development: Junior hockey is a critical period for skill acquisition. As a coach, dedicate ample time to teaching and improving fundamental skills such as skating, stick handling, passing, and shooting. Providing frequent repetition and feedback will help players develop their abilities effectively.

3. Create a positive environment: Junior hockey should be an enjoyable experience for all players. Encourage a positive and supportive atmosphere where players feel motivated and confident. Offer constructive feedback and praise their efforts. Celebrate both individual and team achievements to foster a sense of camaraderie.

4. Emphasize teamwork: Hockey is a team sport, so it’s essential to teach players the value of teamwork from an early age. Focus on teaching effective communication, positional play, and the importance of trusting and relying on teammates. Encourage players to work together towards a common goal.

5. Prioritize safety and sportsmanship: Safety should always be a top priority when coaching junior hockey. Teach players proper body-checking techniques, emphasize the importance of wearing protective gear, and enforce fair play. Highlight the values of respect, integrity, and good sportsmanship to ensure a positive and safe playing environment.


1. How can I handle discipline issues with junior hockey players?
Answer: When dealing with discipline issues, it’s important to address the behavior calmly and privately. Explain the expectations clearly and discuss the consequences of their actions. Communicate with the player’s parents if necessary, and focus on teaching them valuable lessons rather than punishment.

2. What are some effective ways to engage parents in the coaching process?
Answer: Engage parents by providing regular updates on their child’s progress, communicating practice and game schedules early, and involving them in team activities or fundraising. Encourage open lines of communication and listen to their concerns or suggestions.

3. How can I manage different skill levels within a junior hockey team?
Answer: Recognize that players will have varying skill levels within a team. Structure practices to include drills that challenge all players while focusing on individual skill development. Offer additional training resources or assign mentors within the team to help players bridge any gaps in their abilities.

4. How important is physical conditioning for junior hockey players?
Answer: Physical conditioning is crucial for the overall performance and injury prevention of junior hockey players. Incorporate age-appropriate strength and conditioning exercises into practices, focusing on endurance, agility, and core stability. Promote healthy lifestyles and encourage players to maintain proper nutrition and rest.

5. What can I do to motivate my players during practices and games?
Answer: Motivate players by setting individual and team goals, recognizing their efforts, and providing positive reinforcement. Make practices and workouts challenging but enjoyable, and incorporate fun activities or competitions to keep their interest high. Tailor your coaching approach to each player and understand what motivates them individually.

6. How can I help players overcome performance anxiety or fear of making mistakes?
Answer: Create a supportive environment where players feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. Teach them that making mistakes is a natural part of learning and improving. Encourage a growth mindset, focusing on effort and improvement rather than solely on results.

7. How often should I hold team meetings or individual player evaluations?
Answer: Hold regular team meetings to communicate important information, such as upcoming schedules or team strategies. Individual player evaluations can be conducted periodically to discuss their progress, areas for improvement, and set goals. Strive for open and regular communication to foster player development.

BOTTOM LINE: Coaching junior hockey involves understanding the age group, focusing on skill development, creating a positive environment, emphasizing teamwork, prioritizing safety and sportsmanship, and maintaining effective communication with players and their parents. By following these guidelines, coaches can help junior hockey players develop their skills, create a love for the game, and foster a positive and inclusive team culture.