DiscoverGrassroots: The Minor Hockey Show
Grassroots: The Minor Hockey Show
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Grassroots: The Minor Hockey Show

Author: Richard Bercuson

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A provocative, in-depth podcast that examines the world of minor hockey, from coaching to program development to the myriad of issues faced by everyone in the game.
102 Episodes
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Modern coaching approaches include a litany of expressions, phrases, words and acronyms that are sometimes baffling in what they mean. In this episode, Richard and Dean delve into some of the more common ones and relate them to coaches need to understand about them and how to apply them in minor hockey.Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
Brian Gillam, HEO's Coaching Coordinator and Gold Medal Pathways mentor, delves into the myriad of ways in which small or reduced space practice activities are central to how children will develop both their skills and ability to play games on similar sized areas. Gillam is a longtime proponent of ecological dynamics and constraints led approaches. He explains how important it is for children and teens to be trained in space consistent with their developmental stages and what they can learn f...
Matt Dumouchelle is a writer for The Coaches Site and assistant GM for a junior A team near Windsor. But he also authored a revelatory five-part series, "Hockey Factories" published last year on thecoachessite.com. A second series focusing on five different hockey organizations in Europe and North America will be out shortly. In this episode Matt shares what can be learned from these clubs, their programs and approaches. He also discusses his own journey in sports, with keen observations abou...
One of the more important publications in recent years is The Tyranny of Talent by Prof. Joe Baker. Baker is a professor of kinesiology and physical education at the University of Toronto and inaugural holder of the endowed Tanenbaum chair in sport science, data modelling and sport analytics at U of T’s Tanenbaum Institute for Science in Sport (TISS). In this episode, he discusses some of the key points of this seminal work and how they relate to hockey and talent identification.The Tyra...
This first episode of 2024 features a discussion about the science that should inform current coaching approaches and how coaches need to now examine the effects on their coaching art. Host Richard Bercuson discusses with Dean Holden and John "the Colombian" Castrillon who has spent decades using game-based approaches in soccer and hockey, even before he was aware of what the science showed.Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
It didn't look like fun. So Kevin, dad of a little girl new to hockey, decided to "go his own way" by leaving the local "Timbits" program and adopting an ecological dynamics approach. He rented a small patch of ice, invited others to join in, and used play activities to turn the kids on to the game. Now he is on his own discovery path of how to properly introduce and teach the game to children.Kevin's Instagram: AthleticDevelopmentGamesKevin's web site: hockey training.comDropbox video link: ...
Kealy Lambert is a former college hockey player, now a mom, a coach, a lawyer and the president of Bow River Minor Hockey in Calgary. She's seen the game from just about every angle and now, as the head of an organization, she suspects Canadian minor hockey is heading...well...listen to find out where.Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
Stephen Norris delves deeper into Canada's minor hockey world, finishing with the challenge: What would you do if declared King of Hockey Canada?Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
Stephen Norris, one of Canada's pre-eminent sport scientists and performance experts, has worked with numerous sport organizations including Hockey Canada. He refers to himself as a "performance guide to a chosen few." In this first of a two-parter, we hear about how and why he started in the field and ends with his annual suggestion to a minor hockey organization that was voted down every time he brought it up.Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
Podcast host Richard Bercuson has taken on coaching a U18AA team this season, a somewhat new experience for him even after coaching for decades. In this episode, Dean Holden poses some interesting questions for him to consider as he navigates these waters using a competition or game-based approach.Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
Season 4 kicks off with Richard and Dean in a pretty deep discussion about the definition of coach development, professionalism in coaching and related topics. It all begins with Richard's follow-up presentation to Oshawa coaches in August when he asked participants to provide their definitions of coach development. Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
For Canadian minor hockey to evolve and improve, solid visionary leadership is the key. Richard and Dean invite Rick Ladouceur to discuss what we have and where we can go. Ladouceur is the executive director of Prairie Storm Minor Hockey near Regina. In addition to an extensive coaching and teaching background, he's held key leadership positions in hockey and recreation/sport management. Thus he is able to offer some interesting perspectives.Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitte...
It took Brian Gillam nearly 20 years to realize that perhaps his coaching approach had room for adjustment. His epiphany came at a High Performance conference and, since then, his readings about leadership, ecological approaches, constraints, etc. have made him reconsider what coaching the game could be about. As Hockey Eastern Ontario's (HEO) coaching development coordinator, he's also in a position to influence others into seeing coaching in a different light. He has created a YouTube serie...
S.E.E.P. - Six Elements for Effective Practices - is a presentation Richard created to educate, inform, and assist coaches in improving their approaches. In this episode, he describes how the first one went on April 18 in Oshawa, ON, attended by 27 competitive level coaches.The 2-2 1/2 hr presentation is available for any minor hockey organization to share with its coaches. It can be done via Zoom or preferably in person for those within reasonable driving distance from Whitby, ON. Conta...
There are questions we need to address in order for coaching and coach development to move forward, utilizing research evidence now available to us. Richard and Dean attempt to answer these questions, which were posed recently by Dr. Mark Williams, a research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and the University of Utah.Visit:Florida Institute for Human and Machine CognitionFIFA Training CentreContact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - ...
Dutch football (soccer) coach and coach developer Raymond Verheijen has developed a worldwide following through books and courses on how to coach, not just football but coaching in general. In this episode he explains the importance of using objective facts and logical reasoning to counter long-standing beliefs on coaching approaches, whether they be in his sport or hockey. Though Richard and Dean had first touched on his work in episodes 78 and 80, hearing from him directly on various ...
In recent years, coaching has taken on an entirely new lexicon thanks to research into coaching methods and approaches. Richard and Dean examine some of the key ones pertaining to hockey, ones they feel are essential for the modern coach to not only be aware of but also employ. These include: constraints (as in the Constraints Led Approach), ecological dynamics, TGfU, skill vs. technique, observation, variability, and small area games (aka. small sided games). Contact: richard(at)grassro...
Wally Kozak is a resident of host Richard Bercuson's virtual Pantheon of Canadian hockey developers. Here, he begins by reflecting on his stint with Father David Bauer's national team and its influence on his future as a teacher and coach. Then comes the segue into the importance of creating a mission statement as most recently done with the parents of a U13 girls team. Along the journey, he shares stories of his experiences in developing the exercise. This includes one about how Hockey Canad...
Organizing a practice is challenging enough. However, Richard and Dean contend that incorporating six key elements will make a practice hum and provide the players with all they need to experience success and enjoy themselves. The first element is Fun. After that comes...well, listen in and find out.Contact: richard(at)grassrootsminorhockey.comTwitter:Richard - @berky544
In the last few months, two Canadian research studies have concluded that bodychecking in hockey should not begin till age 18, when kids are out of minor hockey. One of those studies, headed by the renowned brain injury and concussion expert, Dr. Charles Tator, reached some startling conclusions about long term concussion symptoms. The other study was completed by researchers in Alberta with teenagers in various minor hockey organizations. And so in this episode, Richard and Dean ask if...
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