Coaching is a very time consuming job, so doing it well as a part-time gig can be difficult.
Ask any NHL player who helped them get to where they are today and there will be a couple coaches they thank for the direction that they gave them. So, as a coach, it’s important to take things seriously and consider the impact you’re having on your players’ lives.
Still, we know its not always easy.
Coaches, especially in minor hockey, usually work a job totally separate from their time behind the bench, so their schedules are pretty hectic. One thing that can help coaches manage that schedule is new developments in technology. Everybody has a smartphone, tablet or computer nowadays and there are a lot of ways that they can make your coaching duties more efficient.
Here are five apps that every hockey coach could benefit from:
CCM Skills App – Free, Available on iOS and Android devices
We start off with the CCM skills app for two reasons:
- It’s free which is nice.
- You don’t have to do anything.
The CCM skills app can provide some inspiration for drills, but its main focus is developing individual skill. Simply give this to your players and let them develop their skills in their own time. Having skilled players will always make a coaches job easier, just ask Mike Babcock:
Your role in the app can be turning it into even more of a game. The app tracks time spent on specific drills, rewards users with achievements and offers them different ways to track their progress – use these functions to reward your players for putting in extra work or to assign some homework (Voluntary homework that is).
Hockey Canada Network – $47/year, Available on iOS and Android devices
This may seem pricey for an app, but good products often cost money.
The Hockey Canada Network app offers drills, skills, videos, practice plans and articles to guide coaches through their duties. You can sort the content by age group and the individual needs of your team, which can make sorting through the sea of choices easy to choose from.
It also allows you to easily share any plans with assistant coaches and parents which can help lighten the load on you.
Richard Monette, who runs a blog called “Active for Life” had this to say about how the app helped him:
“For coaches who, like me, areused to drawing up their practive plans on the computer, or on a piece of paper, switching to a new technology can be scary, When it comes to the app, I can safely say that the little time required to get used to the new technology is worth it and Hockey Canada makes it even easier to use with this presentation.”
Coach Them – $5/month, mobile optimized web app
Two former NHLers, Mike Weaver and Robb Tallas, founded an app to help visualize, share and find hockey drills online.
It’s a very easy to use app that allows for more creation than the Hockey Canada Network app. If you are a little more creative and spend a lot of time developing your own drills, this might make your life a whole lot easier. It will also allow you to share your knowledge and help other coaches out.
It’s nicely designed and has an easy-to-use interface, but it will require more of your time than the two apps listed above. Keep in mind, if you put in the time, you are likely to see better results.
Hockey Coach Vision – Free for Players, $89/year for coaches, available on Mac, PC, iPad and Android Tablets
If you want to take visualizing your drills to the next level, Hockey Coach Vision is the place to do it. They allow you to easily animate the plays in 2D or 3D formats that provide a more in-depth look at the objective of your practice plans.
It can not only improve your bank of drills, but add to it as well.
Rubber Biscuits – Free, available on iOS
We have tried several stats tracking apps, several of them that cost money, but this free app is the best one we’ve found.
It takes a little bit of time to set up the rosters and team, but once you have that in place, assign one of your assistants to track the game and it allows for easy analysis of your teams performance. It tracks almost any event you would need to remember in hockey and organizes them in a way that is easy to access and share.
If you’re interested in a more in depth look at your team’s performance and don’t trust the “eye test” this app is the best one we’ve found.
If there are any apps you or your coach use that you think should make this list, let us know @BarDown and we may feature it in the future.