I apologize for not posting in three days or so, things have been kind of busy and i haven't spent much time around the computer outside of returning e-mails and that sort of thing. Anyway, I did have time to read an article from The Washington Post sent to me from a friend, and after watching the NHL draft this weekend, there is definitely something about youth sport coaching we can learn from the Swedish model.
Although I have yet to witness anything they are using over there, from the Washington Post article and at a USA Hockey coaching seminar I attended last Fall, it is apparent that they are taking a wholly developmental look at coaching, which I think is very beneficial for the athlete. When compared to the system here in the United States, Swedish youth play less games and practice a lot more, allowing for more skill development.
If you look on the USA Hockey website's Puck possession analysis from the 2002 Olympics, you may be surprised by the amount of time players possess the puck during a game. The results of this study concluded that the average time players held the puck on their stick was 1:01 per game! Yes, that's one minute and one second on average. Now nobody in their right mind would tell you they became more skilled by practicing for one minute every two hours. In contrast, during practice, an athlete may possess the puck far more. The message from the Swedish system here is that if we want to become better coaches and develop essential skills for an athlete, we need to hold more practices/less games. Sweden is a country of 6 million people, yet they had more players drafted in the first round of this year's NHL draft than any other country.
Here's a link to the article if interested:
Thank you for reading and please come back tomorrow.