University of Windsor coach tries to help other hockey coaches

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) offered a chance for some of their coaches to get some coaching tips thanks to the University of Windsor’s head coach.

Lancer coach Kevin Hamlin spoke to a group of about 25 travel coaches from AMHA at the Libro Centre and tried to impart some of the wisdom he has accumulated from his days as a university and pro player as well as from his coaching career. Hamlin’s coaching stops have included the Windsor Spitfires, Cornell University, Belle River Canadiens, Leamington Flyers, Sarnia Bees and St. Clair College as well as the Lancers.

“His credentials speak for themselves,” said AMHA travel vice president Greg Crain. “You are not going to get a better leader with more knowledge.”

Hamlin said coming out and talking with other coaches was something he enjoyed.

University of Windsor men’s hockey coach Kevin Hamlin addresses AMHA coaches during a recent talk at the Libro Centre.

“There are few places I’d rather be than be in a room with a bunch of coaches,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin encouraged the AMHA travel coaches to find something in his presentation they liked “and make it your own.

“You’re a role model,” he told the coaches. “Our athletes are watching us. We’re role models.”

Hamlin outlined his own background, recalling the day when his father enrolled him in hockey to when friend Brad Smith got him into coaching with the Spitfires. He told the coaches there are “four seasons of coaching” and the first one is the end of the season.

At the end of the season, coaches have to evaluate and critically analyze their program. Hamlin acknowledged that it isn’t easy, but “you have to. It’s about the kids we serve.”

Hamlin said that process not only helps make players better, but it actually helped him as a coach.

“It made me a better coach,” he said. “I used to hate it.”

The off-season was the second “season” of coaching, with team building being a part of that.

“The more you know each other, the more you’ll fight for each other,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin added that seasons is also when he recruits players, noting he recruits character first. He also encouraged coaches to find assistant coaches that can help with areas the head coaches may not be strong at so that they complement each other better.

The pre-season is the next stage and then it is the in-season portion of the coaches’ life. Hamlin said he spends about 15 minutes planning a practice, saying it is very important to plan for a good practice. He went over various hockey skills with the coaches and advised them on what drills can be used with players.

“Repetition is absolutely essential,” said Hamlin. “Make sure they got it before you move on.”

University of Windsor men’s hockey coach Kevin Hamlin (left) spoke with a group of AMHA travel coaches recently. AMHA vice president of travel Greg Crain (right) presents Hamlin with a plaque to thank him for his visit.

As for developing goalies, Hamlin encouraged coaches to not try and mold goalies into something they aren’t and said they can defer to a goalie coach for development at that position.

Most of all, Hamlin said he wants players and coaches to have fun.

Hamlin said he was asked to come by AMHA and said he enjoys speaking with coaches at the grassroots level. He indicated he would be willing to return if a request is made.

“This is the very least I can do,” he said. “They are doing tremendous work. They are making differences in the lives of young people. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re here to do.”

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