Do you have hockey skills and strategy to share? If so, you volunteer to bench coach! Read the expectations and DOs / DO NOTs below before stepping up to help others learn how to gay hockey.
Bench Coaching Expectations
- Ask a team’s captain if you can bench coach for their game. If they accept, show up on time or early to chat with the captain before the game about their team’s needs and communication style.
- Wear a helmet & stand behind a team’s bench.
- Watch the hockey game to observe skills and note opportunities for coaching and strategic feedback.
- Ask players if/when they want feedback or coaching; i.e. between shifts, between periods, before or after the game.
- Be concise with your feedback, give the player time to think/respond/ask questions to help their understanding.
- Demonstrate a skill off-ice as needed. Showing the physical mechanics may help players mimic the skill while on-ice.
- Explain why the skill, rule, or strategy is important to the whole team or game. Use a whiteboard if it helps.
- Cheer for your team! Cheer for the opponents! Cheer for good skills you see on the ice! Cheer for good sports-people-ship off the ice!
- Communicate with the other team’s bench coach, captain, scorebox folks as needed. You can be a helpful non-skating 3rd party communicator.
Bench Coaching DOs and DO NOTs
- DO learn your players pronouns. Check the website before each game, ask the captain, another player, or the player themselves if you’re not sure.
- DO discuss issues with captains first so they can lead their team to adjust during the game. Captains or Bench Coaches can decide to share issues with Hockey Ops Person on Duty or the Board if it’s still unresolved after the game.
- DO submit code of conduct violations if you have factual details to share that a captain or other person did not witness.
- DO NOT lead a team. You are not their captain, you support the captains.
- DO ask captains when to share advice during period breaks and locker room time.
- DO NOT yell at skaters on the ice (unless they ask). Example: “OFF OFF OFF!!!” when a skater is offsides during gameplay. While teammates may do this, coaches should discuss rules and concepts to others on the bench.
- DO NOT shout advice at skaters during gameplay unless they ask for it.
- DO reflect on skills/strategies/errors with players on the bench.
- DO NOT feel bad if players or captains decline your offer to bench coach. Not everyone wants or needs your help.
- DO NOT over-explain concepts. Hockey is a fast paced game and skaters must keep focused on their game.
- DO have fun – this is a great opportunity to interact with more people in the MGHA and share your knowledge.
This is a safe space for all! If you do not feel comfortable in a bench coaching situation, please tell the bench coach directly, your captain separately, your mentor or an MGHA leader after the game. Ideally no code of conduct violations or issues take place but we have people to support you.
- DO reach out to Christina or Gabby with questions or feedback about your experience. They will listen and incorporate feedback into the program.