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Q. A player on my daughter’s all-girls team engages in “mean girl” behavior, including telling other girls they are fat, giving them cheap shots during practice and tossing their hats/gloves in puddles in the parking lot. She is also the leading scorer and we’re heading into the playoffs. Should the coach bench her?
A. “As coaches, the biggest carrot we have is playtime,” says experienced hockey director and coach Angelo Ricci. “They’re kids so we can’t fine them and suspension is a last resort.” The key to using playtime to help control behavior is to establish all the rules up-front in a preseason meeting. Then, it’s up to the coach to hold everyone accountable and enforce the rules in a fair and consistent manner, says Ricci. “If you favor kids or change the rules midseason, you lose respect in the locker room.”
In particular, Ricci emphasizes that the behavior of repeat offenders needs to be addressed with playtime. While he admits that some coaches turn a blind eye to behavior when they shouldn’t, the philosophy remains the same: It doesn’t matter what game it is. If a coach determines that a player needs to be benched for a portion of a game, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first game of the season or the last. After all, Ricci says, “Would you let your kid steal a $1 candy bar but not $50 headphones? It’s the same crime.”
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Angelo Ricci for sharing his 15 years of expertise as a hockey director in this article. Ricci is founder, head instructor and consultant for Ricci Hockey Consulting. With 20+ years experience as a skills and stickhandling coach, he conducts/oversees more than 40 programs year-round that develop over 1,000 players each year.
Every year, every team seems to go through the same ritual: How to thank the team manager. (And maybe the team treasurer, the social coordinator, the water bottle hauler.) So you take up a little collection and then you start asking around. Does this person like coffee? Movies? Golf? You buy a gift card, sign a card and you’re done. There you go: A perfectly forgettable gift that is gone in no time. This year, think about more personal gifts that don’t get lost in the shuffle of daily life:
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kelly Anton for this story.
Check out the Colorado Thunderbirds AAA program – one of the top-ranked AAA programs in the United States! The organization provides AAA-caliber players with the ice time, coaching and training needed to establish and maintain an elite development track. The Thunderbirds program is based on the core values of accountability, attitude and effort. Follow the links below to download information packets and register:
Tentative dates (pending CAHA approval):