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More university-level games expected in years to come

This week, Mully explores why it's important for coaches to keep learning
Timmins High alumni Chris Lachapelle, and Owen and Jack Hagerty with one of the high school's basketball coaches Peter Graham.

Just finished talking to Timmins High and Vocational School coach Peter Graham about Saturday's game between Nipissing and Algoma that they hosted. Peter was more than happy about the first-time event here in Timmins. The gym was packed and organizers received a ton of comments about how good the level of play was and how exciting it was to watch.

The good news is we can expect another U Sports game like this in the years to come.

In last week's interview with Pierre Beaulieu, he brought up a number of points I wish all coaches would pay attention to. But one point is something I've preached for many years.

SEE: Timmins native carves out hockey coaching career in Europe

And I'm pleased to see a much younger coach than I reiterate that point. In response to a question about attending clinics, coaching development camps etc., Pierre responded with, “Someone close to me once told me that if you are going to have a long professional coaching career, you better have a large Rolodex and never miss the opportunity to learn something new.”

Any coach at any level, pro or amateur should be heeding that advice. Do you want the kids to learn? Make sure you are learning as a coach every day. What a lot of people don't realize is in order to be an effective teacher (coach), learning constantly is essential to you and your athletes’ success. Too many people enter coaching with the idea they know it all and have nothing more to learn. If you are one of those people, please quit coaching today.

As coaches, we ask our players to never cheat the game or quit trying to improve. Why do we ask less of our coaches?

You hear day in and day out, “Man the game has sure changed.” If the game keeps changing and evolving, then coaching must follow suit.

You have no idea how many times at clinics or symposiums I listened to a pro or junior coach tell me how much they learned from a midget or bantam coach presenting a topic. The “learn something every day” adage gets thrown around all the time at clinics.

And it's not just attending clinics, camps, symposiums etc., that increase our chances for learning. It's talking to and exchanging ideas with other current or former coaches on a regular basis that enriches coaches. 

Good coaches are good thieves. They are always stealing ideas, tactics etc., from other coaches.

If you are afraid of being out coached by other coaches you talk to and exchange ideas with … I’ve got news. It was going to happen anyway.

I don't expect you to share team strategy or tactics, just ideas on the game itself and coaching.

One thing I loved about coaching in the GNML was talking coaching with guys like Barry McCrory and Mike Heaphy of Sudbury, Steve Richardson and Dan LaFrance in the Valley, Jerry Young and Jack McClelland in Rayside, Mike Hall in the Soo, Larry Keenan in North Bay, Claude Denomme and Rick Baron in New Liskeard and many other guys I was coaching against during the season. We all picked each other's brains in order to help us learn more about coaching. It was a common notion that we were all in the game to make it better and though we liked to kick each other's butts, we knew that we all had ideas and experiences that we could share and help us evolve.

We weren't giving away secrets, but we were talking and sharing machinations of hockey and coaching.

I also had the luxury of talking to and learning from my old coaches and coaches I have worked alongside. I am always grateful for that.

I've left a number of names off the list above because there are just so many I can list here. But I cherish and miss all so many other coaches had to share.

Later skater.

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