It's early November, but it's never soon to start thinking about and planning for next season, especially as it relates to bringing up a new crop of Mites! So we are starting our preparations for our 2010 Elite Mite Team.
We will be announcing pre-tryout Skill Development Sessions with our 2010 Coach and the VJW Staff. To receive notification of these sessions, please click here and fill out the information form.
We've announced Marc Griffin as the 2010 Elite Coach. Marc is currently the Head Coach of the VJW 2006 Elite Team and has a deep-seeded love for the game, and more importantly, for the coaching and development of young players. We were able to catch up with Marc and learn a bit more about him.
Tell us about you...
I’m the oldest of five children. Born and raised in the North Shore Massachusetts and currently live in North Reading with my wife Heather and three children (Kaila 13, Conor 10 and Nolan 6).
How long have you been coaching the Warriors?
I have been the head coach of the 2006 Elite Team for four years and I was an assistant coach on the Warrior Junior A Team after I graduated from college in 1998.
When you reflect on your own youth hockey experience, what are some defining memories or lessons learned?
I was afforded the opportunity to play for both my hometown program and the Jr Warriors simultaneously throughout my youth hockey career. I fully enjoyed both experiences and later grew to appreciate the opportunity and development provided as a result of the exceptional coaching and additional skill development offered under the Jr Warrior program. Unfortunately, I never was coached by my Dad who was both a town and Warrior coach. My younger brothers played on his teams almost every year and I learned three things from watching his style:
- Study the game and teach the kids what you learn yourself, secondly be enthusiastic but not emotional or negative.
- If you teach well, you shouldn’t need to yell and scream.
- The hockey season is very long. A good coach can keep things interesting and fresh over a long season by enrolling his team in tournaments and taking them to places they will enjoy (Lake Placid for example).
What brought you to the Warriors program? What differentiates our program from others?
Initially, what attracted me to the program is its reputation for developing hockey players as opposed to programs that focus on building teams by constantly recruiting and bringing in new players. After my first meeting with the Warrior front office, I the quickly realized that the key differentiator of the program is the amount of ice time each team is allocated. After that meeting, I did the math as far as what it costs to play on a Warrior team relative to the number of hours on the ice provided. It simply can’t be matched by any other organization, perhaps because the Warriors own four rinks.
What’s been the biggest thing you’ve learned from coaching?
The players, coaches and parents all need to be on the same page when it comes to expectations on and off the ice. If a head coach can connect with the kids, communicate well with parents, and comes to practice prepared then everyone on the team will have a positive experience.
What’s your general coaching philosophy?
If the kids enjoy being at the rink, they will develop as hockey players and have a passion for the game.
How do you find balance in your own life with work and hockey?
Personally, during the hockey season, I find that hockey commitments do not conflict significantly with my work. When occasional conflicts arise, having a strong assistant coaching staff ensures that nothing changes at all when I rely upon them to run a practice or a game in my absence. For the most part, after the season is over, my family and I step away from hockey. I also encourage my players and families to do the same.
How do you motivate your team?
Adding more fun games and drills into practice, giving out player of the game awards, and organizing off ice activities all work pretty well. A huge motivator for the kids is going tournaments and getting to hang out with your friends for a weekend. Once they become Squirts, the players quickly realize that if they do well as a team, they will get invited to even more tournaments and events. Finally, each season we will video tape and edit a couple of games that will include play by play commentary, sound effects, slow motion instant replay etc. The players constantly watch those videos on their own DVD’s at home, and few of the games even made their way onto you-tube so they could show their friends.