Video set pure gold for coaches

DON WILCOX -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

It's called the Team Canada Skills of Gold. In reality it's gold for coaches.

Two years in the making, the eight-DVD package released late last year by Hockey Canada contains more than six hours of video footage illustrating basic hockey skills, tactics and strategy.

As a package, it's probably one of the best teaching resources available today for hockey coaches, especially those who are starting out or who have just a few years of experience behind the bench. The other benefit would be as a video resource for showing and teaching your players prior to an on-ice practice.

We got a review copy recently from the Ottawa District Hockey Association office -- which has the DVDs available for sale at the $79.95 list price -- and after a couple of hours in front of the tube had picked up several new drills, teaching points and gained new insight into even some of the basic strategies of the game.

DIFFERENT SKILL LEVELS

One of the best things about the series is that the demonstrators are young players of different ages and skill levels. Thus, if you're an atom coach you can see the "level" at which 10 year olds execute these drills and get a rough idea of how well your own players should be able to do them.

Constantly watching pros demonstrate shooting drills, for instance, doesn't give a minor hockey coach a benchmark for younger, less skilled players who don't have the same physical strength. The coaches in these DVDs use good teaching techniques which you'll remember from your Hockey Canada coaching courses, including lots of positive feedback, simple, easy-to-understand language, progressions from single skills to more complicated manoeuvres, and they stop their drills to correct errors.

The camera work is also excellent. From closeups showing stick angles on shots and tip drills to multiple views on some of the more advanced sections (team tactics, strategies, etc.), very little is left to the imagination. There are slow-motion segments, isolation views, everything needed to point out all the little nuances being explained in the voice-overs.

Lest you think the DVDs are perfect, however, we did note a pick play shown in one of the tactics lessons that is almost guaranteed to draw a penalty now that referees are cracking down on things such as interference. But, hey, let's not quibble.

TWO SERIES

The DVDs are arranged in two series, Volume I comprising skating, puck control, shooting and scoring, and checking; Volume II including offensive tactics, defensive tactics, team play and off-ice training.

If you're so inclined, after viewing the DVDs, you could easily break down one or more of the individual skills for your players during a video session because any segment of the DVDs can be accessed from the main menus.

And if you want to keep the kids watching, promise to show them how to do the "Chile Dip" or the "Lacrosse Move" in the dekes section if they pay attention to the lesson of the day.

A handbook included with the package lists each individual skill for easy reference.

All-in-all, the Hockey Canada Skills of Gold is a worthy addition to any coaching library. If your players and parents are looking for a way to reward a particularly fine coach at the end of the season, this would be a great idea.

The DVDs are available through the ODHA office at 1247 Kilborn Place, Suite 300, (613) 224-3589, or online at www.hockeycanada.ca.

minorhockey@ott.sunpub.com


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