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What Makes a Great Coach?

Erin Riley

September 22 to 30 marks National Coaches Week in Canada. The GTHL currently has over 500 registered bench bosses who lend their time to developing players both on and off the ice. A coach has the ability to make a lifelong impact on the players they guide. Former GTHL Coach of the Year Rich Brewda can still recall the coaches who impacted him during his time in minor hockey.

“My Dad Erv was a great role model for me and my teammates. I respected that he was always able to get the team to buy in and work together,” explained Rich. “When I got older, I had a coach named Glen Houlden. He pushed me and gave me the confidence to be the best player I could be and compete against players who were much bigger and stronger than I was.”

As each individual is motivated in different ways, the traits that make a coach impactful often differ from player to player. Certain commonalities, however, are prevalent among beloved bench bosses.

“A good coach is someone who motivates the team and respects all their players,” explained Jack Gibson, a player with the Midget “A” West Mall Lightning. “They have to make hockey fun and know the game.”

The ability to motivate both the team and players as individuals is a common theme amongst well-liked coaches. Just starting off her GTHL career with the Minor Atom Toronto Red Wings, Rachel Talesnick agrees that a good coach has to have faith in their players.

“A great coach is someone who is patient and who believes in you,” said Rachel. “They want you to improve and get better. A great coach makes sure that everyone is listening and is working hard.”

As a coach himself, Brewda ensures agrees with Rachel and Jack – a personable and patient approach is the way to win over a team.

“A good coach is one that can relate to his players. Each player is different, and if you work on getting to know them you can find a way to relate to them better,” said Brewda. “If you get to know the players, and relate to them, you build a mutual trust. They trust the program that the coach is implementing and the coach trusts that the player is buying in and working as hard.”

Learn more about coaching in the GTHL and the requirements needed by visiting the Becoming a Coach page.

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