Vierumaki – Day 4

Tuesday 7th July

Another early start this morning and yes you guessed it, I was up for breakfast at 7:00 am and into the classroom for 8:30 am! Today’s topic was technical skills but more in the sense of fun games, and which games are best to develop particular skills in children. 10:30 am came and it was “To the rink Batman!!!” LOL! Anyway, on the ice we put the games into practice to help the children in developing their technical skills. Again, most of the us (the instructors that is) struggled in the demonstrations at a couple of the stations, even though these drills and games were for children. I won’t lie, for me it was more than a couple of stations, but in fairness if you saw some of these children skating you would be amazed.

Lunch came again at 12:00 noon and we were back to the rink to meet the children at 12:45 pm. The lesson plan had an emphasis on stick handling. However, today it was a different team from our group who had the task of completing their lesson plan while the rest of us collected statistics. I had the responsibility of recording how long one kid had the puck under his control during the entire training session. The results were unbelievable and in an 80 minutes session the kid had the puck under his control for 13 minutes and 43 seconds. This was crazy, and an eye opener, in a session where having the puck was the main object. The other amazing fact was that he was stationary and doing nothing for over 45 minutes, despite it being a well planned session. However, this is the key point of this course and the thing the IIHF drive home throughout this course – it’s all about utilizing ice time and ice management!

We were finished early for once today with everything wrapped up by 6:00 pm. The plan for tomorrow was supposed to be a trip to Helsinki but for some reason that has been canceled! However, now it will be another 7:00 am start for the official group photo. That will be followed by an anti-doping course at 10:00 am but the funny thing is that we are coaching children aged between 6 and 16 years of age and “ANTI-DOPING” will be discussed! Education is the key though. Rumour has it that they are trying to arrange a pick-up game for us. I really hope that we get to play because in my group there are guys who play for their national teams of countries like Iceland, Romania, South Africa and Hong Kong (although he is Canadian).
“HAPPY DAYS” and “GAME ON” is all I say!!!

It was nearly another day over, but first I went back to the rink at around 7:00 pm to catch a couple of the U-16’s games. Again, I couldn’t believe what I was seehing. I was in awe at the fact that I was watching some of the best players in the world at their age group playing against each other. Some of the moves, passing, hits and team work belonged on television. I tell you that if you took away the face cages and added some stubble then I could have been watching the NHL…

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