Monday, June 30, 2008

Manchester, VT: Day I

Turns out, the other instructor came in late Saturday night, well after I had gone to bed, and ended up getting a hotel. I was able to pick him up there and we took off for Manchester, VT after a little breakfast. He's a great guy, very laid back and personable and knows the sport so well. He's a middle aged guy from Calgary, Alberta, Canada who played several years of professional hockey and has even coached a professional team - a farm team for Montreal - for a couple years. The car ride was enjoyable and quick, mostly due to the stories I heard from his days on the pro circuit and other hockey stories that are insightful and just interesting. Outside of the car ride, yesterday just consisted of meeting the local coordinator for the camp and then exploring the town to see what was there. It was good to get out of the hotel room to keep my mind off the camp I was about to run.

That brings me to my next topic - the first day of camp! There wasn't much to say about Monday's camp. I was head instructor of the goalies and had to run that end of the camp, while my fellow instructor was running the player camp. I only had 6 goalies, this made my job much easier for the day in terms of keeping track of kids, but that meant I only needed two stations to rotate them through. Unfortunately, only having two stations means that I have to stop after every drill and explain the next drill. Thankfully the shooters understood the drill and were extremely willing to help - this is key to a successful camp - so when one goalie didn't understand I didn't have to hold all of the others back. This also allowed me to roam more openly and watch every kid. We did the "Fusion" style camp, this week, which means that the players and goalies will do drills together for an hour or so, allowing both goalies and players to see "game situation" style shots. Most of the camp was mostly skating, for both groups, so technique on saves wasn't great, but that will be resolved tomorrow.

Following the two on ice sessions (skills and fusion), it was time for lunch and then dry land conditioning, finishing off with video analysis of the kids performance at the "video" station. Here we record them performing a couple of drills so that we can then bring the video off the ice and pause the video, allowing the kids to see their own performance and mistakes so they can correct it in the future. This has to be one of the greatest teaching tools in any camp. Dry land was interesting... the kids were wild (they'll need to skate harder tomorrow) and only wanted to play games. They said all of the previous years they played tons of games... but that's why my fellow instructor was called in - he comes when things are bad... he's the one man cleanup crew. It'll be a long week, but we got through to a lot of kids today - tomorrow is a new day; we'll see how it goes.

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