Editor’s note: This post was updated May 27, 2020.
Hockey Canada has created a new mobile app to help coaches and we think it’s the best thing to happen to minor league hockey since long term player development (LTPD).
With more than 600,000 registered players, Canada is the biggest hockey nation in the world. Amazingly, the entire hockey system is built on an army of volunteer coaches – about 90,000 of them in any given season.
Developed by: Hockey Canada
For: Android, iOS
Price: Free, but subscription required to unlock all features
Most coaches will tell you that the experience is extremely rewarding, but that the “job” comes with many responsibilities and expectations. They will also tell you that it takes time to prepare fun and age-appropriate practice plans so that kids develop their skills and grow their love of the game.
A new app for coaches
For the thousands of unsung heroes across the country, the “Hockey Canada Network” app can really help.
According to Corey McNabb, Hockey Canada’s Director of Hockey Development Programs, the app “was built to put all Hockey Canada resources — drills, skills, videos, practice plans, and articles — in one location and make them mobile so coaches could have access to everything at their fingertips.”
Much more than a one-stop resource, the app helps coaches “share practice plans, drills, video, and information with efficiency and quickness,” McNabb added.
What I love about it
From a practical perspective, there are at least four ways that the app will make your life easier and will help you become a better coach.
1. The ready-made practice plans will save you time and make your practices better
The app gives coaches access to hundreds of age appropriate, pre-set practice plans. Already this is a saving grace for many coaches. But, all the drills and videos can be rearranged to suit the individual needs of your team. And the practice plans can be saved and/or edited for future use. Enter the age group of your team, and the app filters out a series of appropriate practices.
2. Videos and more videos
My skating skills aren’t as good as they once were, so I’m not great at demonstrating a perfect “C” cut. One of the advantages of the app is that it gives you instant access to two types of videos. There are over 300 videos showing fundamental hockey skills for all ages, and over 1,000 videos showing kids performing the various practice drills.
Bring your phone or tablet to the rink and you can show the videos to kids so they can see how to the skill or drill is supposed to be done. Some minor hockey associations have even been using technology that allows coaches to connect their app to a large, rink-side screen as demonstrated by this video made available by Hockey Canada.
3. Easily share information with players and parents
The Hockey Canada app enables you to share practice plans with assistant coaches and players. Having kids review the drills before they get on the ice (and doing so in the dressing room before practice) is an effective way to maximize precious ice time.
4. Lot’s of interesting and informative articles
Also included in the app are informative and easy to read articles on a variety of topics such as, “What to eat on game day”, “The basic facts about hydration”, and “Off-ice training tips”.
It’s worth it
For coaches who, like me, are used to drawing up their practice plans on the computer, or on a piece of paper, switching to a new technology can be scary. When it comes to the app, I can safely say that that the little time required to get used to the new technology is worth it and Hockey Canada makes it even easier to use with this presentation [PDF].
The app is free to download, but requires a monthly or annual subscription to unlock all the features.
I highly recommend the Hockey Canada Network app. Using the app will save you time and it you will find that you are constantly discovering new benefits and features. I believe it is a tool that will make it easier for coaches to provide effective, skills-driven practices which, in the end, means our kids will have a better experience and more fun on the ice.