Award Winning Tryouts

Spring tryouts. The season is just ending, everyone is in fine form…

Just when volunteers need a break, the big event occurs and challenges the fragile volunteer cadre to the limit.

The most stressful event of the season – not nationals, not provincials, not playoffs, not buying a new ringette stick, but tryouts.

Overhead in the lobby:

• “She does not like practicing, but she is a great game player.”

• “My daughter should play up, she is better than anyone on the ice in this age group.”

• “Why have the evaluators watched forward cross overs for three practices in a row. When do they watch them play ringette?”

• “My daughter is a goalie – why is she doing the same thing as all the other skaters?”

• “I want my daughter to play for this coach, that is why we are at this tryout!”

If a local ringette association or region can run a good tryout with great communication, an efficient process, sport specific validity, and good decision criteria, then they have just won a gold medal in ringette.

It is not easy.

Here are some tips to help the frazzled front-line volunteer organizers and coaches run “award winning” tryouts.

Like many things in Ringette, it starts and ends with the player. You want the athlete to have a good experience and to keep enjoying the sport. Core values for tryouts: respect and dignity.

Gather the good folks (executives, coaches, junior and belle players) and make a plan. Determine the selection criteria, on-ice drills and game situations and the delicate process of release notification.

Plan for at least four hours of ice per team.

Determine the role of the coach. For parent coaches, pick the player first, then the coach. For non-parent coaches pick them following a criteria based coaching selection process.

Assign a tryout coordinator who will gather coaches and work out the selection criteria, grading scale and the on-ice and off-ice activities required to grade the players.

Use Junior and Belle players to assist with drill demonstrations and to provide female leadership to the nervous athletes.

Educate your coaches and potential coaches by asking them to be evaluators. It will improve their appreciation of what comprises a good playing performance, and how to focus on game patterns instead of simply watching the ring.

Tell the players going on the ice what to expect, and what assessment criteria is being used. If you expect a given free pass or break-out, tell them and give them a chance to practice it before being assessed.

Try this general format to achieve a valid score for each player: 20 % history (level played last 2 seasons), 30 % timed drills and game simulations (e.g. 1 v 1), and 50 % game play scores. This is a balance of past and present, with a an emphasis on game play. Rate the players based on the weighted scores (e.g. history score out of 20 points, plus the drill score out of 30 points, plus the game play score out of 50 points for a maximum total of 100 points). 

Limit the number of players on the ice to 25, and permit special ice areas and a different assessment grid for goalies.

Provide numbered pinnies to each player so that evaluators, watching with clipboards can score players based on colour coded jerseys and numbers. Line up the players in order of their numbers and keep like colours together. The on-ice activities are not for the team to have a “workout” but rather to collect as much assessment data as possible to support decision making.

Use a rating scale such as the 1 to 5: 1 means low and 5 means high compared to all others on the ice.

Gather evaluators and assessments and review the assessment criteria what constitutes a 1 and a 5 in a given drill.

Keep the criteria to a minimum so that time is permitted for evaluators to assess the player.

Take video of the tryout as a second opinion, and review it later to support decisions.

Assign someone to manage the intake process so that people are greeted warmly when they arrive and assigned to dressing rooms and provided with the right pinnie. Use on-line registration to know in advance how many will come and to collect contact information. Ask players what position they would like to play and what level caliber they played last season. Provide handouts to tell people the process and how decisions are made. Be available for questions.

For a group of 24 skaters have 4 evaluators; two for each colour group. Each player will get two opinions.

Provide recording sheets for each evaluator, showing drill description and any assessment criteria. Evaluators should not know the names of the players in order to reduce bias. The recording sheet will show Red # 2, 4, 5 and so forth.

Give all the recording sheets to a spreadsheet computer person, who will tally the scores for each players across the four tryouts. Use the spreadsheet to sort and rank the players in each test.

Do not make any cuts until all players have had a chance to play in a game situation. Do not cut just based on a few skating drills. Let the players play the game. After all, you want to know how effective they can be in a real game situation.

For goalies, consider the following assessment criteria: mobility, such as shuffle step, t-step, telescope forward and backward, hug the post; follow ring carrier; lie on back and recover to basic stance; sliding butterfly, and blocking shots with pads, blocker and catching glove; stick saves; ability to pass ring with stick and distribute the ring to an open player. Watch them in game situation such as a 3 v 2. Watch them focus and maintain angles and focus during gameplay.

Try this 4 tryout agenda:

1 Warm-up skating and ring carry, followed by 4 timed and scored drills (click here to download the Drill Assessement spreadsheet file) shooting, ring handling, shuttle skate, and backward skating; goalies are assessed in a special section of the ice with a separate evaluation team of two people. Time permitting, begin a scrimmage of play team with randomly assigned teams.

2 – Scrimmage game with players divided into two equal teams based on positions noted on registration forms. Gameplay criteria is different than basic skills which have been assessed in Practice 1 and includes decision-making, movement of ring, picking up passes, checking, and setting up plays and performing patterns that the tryout coordinator may have requested, such as the breakout. Evaluators can watch only a few players during the course of game; set the limit at 8 per evaluator. Release enough to have no more than 20 at the exhibition game.

3 –Exhibition game versus a team from in the same region. Release enough players that you carry an extra 4 or 5 to the last session.

4 –Isolated game simulation drills – break-out, 1 v 1, ring carry in a small space with 2 checkers to decide who is stronger than who, and watch only the 4 to 5 players under consideration and rate players in a depth chart by position.

For release notifications, use the phone to ensure a warm relationship and to address any questions from the player. When making the call, have access to the spreadsheet with the scores and rationale for the cut. Share the notifications with the selection committee so everyone is on the same page. As an alternative, post the names of players on a common website who will be invited back to subsequent tryouts in order to respect disclosure. Avoid the hall of shame in which released players walk through the heavily populated arena lobby.

As an alternative, use the tryout as an development training camp, and do it over a weekend, and share the good coaches with more players and expose players to the best drills in your region.  Once several training sessions and classroom sessions have concluded, run the selection process for the tryouts. Click here to read about how the Ontario AAA program could look with more of a development emphasis.

When it is over, gather the gang, get cold, frosty beverages, and talk about what worked and could be done better next time.

For more insight on tryouts, submit your questions (click here) to the Youldon Group.

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Youldon Group Announces Partnership with Hospice Care Ottawa

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario – The Youldon Group announced today a partnership with Hospice Care Ottawa / La Maison de soins palliatifs d’Ottawa for the 2014 Ringette Charity Cup Tournament, scheduled for Saturday, July 26th, 2014, at the Carleton University Ice House.

Proceeds from the event will go directly to Hospice Care Ottawa.

The Fourth Annual Ringette Charity Cup is a showcase charity event designed and organized by the Youldon Group to honour family who passed away from cancer and enjoyed outstanding palliative care during their final months. Young ringette players can sign up with a friend and get assigned to one of five equal teams to compete in 10 minute mini games during a round robin tournament. The event attracts ringette players from all across the National Capital Region.

About Hospice Care Ottawa

Offering support at no cost during life-threatening illness and loss

Hospice Care Ottawa, an amalgamation of Friends of Hospice Ottawa and the Hospice at May Court, is a community based charitable organization. We offer services for clients and their loved ones to experience palliative and end-of-life care in a supportive and peaceful setting, surrounded by caring that reflects as closely as possible a comfortable home environment.

Delivery of our services is made possible through the support of dedicated staff and volunteers from the community

http://www.hospicecareottawa.ca/
Charitable Registration # 11896 3701 RR0001

 

About The Youldon Group

The Youldon Group has been involved in the sports and fitness sector for over twenty years. The passion for leadership in ringette started in 1996.

Core services include ringette team training, ringette coaching development through tools, workshops and one-on-one mentoring, and  personal fitness training services for beginners and elite athletes.

http://www.myringetteteam.com

Contact

Paul Youldon, Media Relations
The Youldon Group
Ottawa, Ontario (613) 825-5057
Email: click here to send email
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Youldon Group Announces Nepean Summer Ringette 4 v 4 Program Sells out in One Day

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario – The Youldon Group announced today that the Summer Ringette program known as “4 on 4” has sold out in just one day of registration for all four age groups.

The Youldon Group works in partnership with the Nepean Ringette Association to deliver this much sought after program. Clients indicated that they waited by their computers to avoid missing the on-line registration process.

The 4 v 4 program led by Kaitlyn and Kelsey Youldon (Senior Team Canada, 2014) and supported by Paul and Cheryl Youldon, comprises core ringette drills followed by a structured scrimmage with players assigned to one of equal teams. The program is a low stress program without stats and scoreboards that lets young players compete against players of similar age and calibre while trying different positions and learning to read and react to ring movement. Four group sessions are offered from U-8 to U-16.

This will be the third year of the Youldon Group, Nepean Ringette 4 v 4 partnership, and the program attracts young ringette players from many different ringette associations with preference offered to Nepean players.

About The Youldon Group

The Youldon Group has been involved in the sports and fitness sector for over twenty years. The passion for leadership in ringette started in 1996.

Core services include ringette team training, ringette coaching development through tools, workshops and one-on-one mentoring, and  personal fitness training services for beginners and elite athletes.

http://www.myringetteteam.com

Contact

Paul Youldon, Media Relations
The Youldon Group
Ottawa, Ontario (613) 825-5057
Email: click here to send email
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Youldon Group Announces Off-Ice Training Sessions for West Ottawa Petite (U-12) Ringette Team

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario – The Youldon Group announced today that it will be designing and leading a series of off-ice training sessions for the West Ottawa Petite (U-12) Provincial Ringette team.

Kaitlyn Youldon will act as lead designer and instructor that will prepare the young team for their first Provincial Championships to be held in Sault Ste Marie April 3-6, 2014.

As U-12 athletes, and in respect of the Long Term Athlete Development model, these ringette athletes benefit from core movement skills, coordination, reaction and team cooperation activities. Kaitlyn brings her unique inventory of exercise equipment, such as the floor ladder and hand balls for hand eye coordination. The workouts are enjoyed by young athletes as they move to music and interact with team mates, while achieving ringette specific physical fitness.

The West Ottawa Petite (U-12) team competes in local leagues and in Ontario Ringette sanctionned tournaments in order to be ranked appropriately for their Provincial Championships.

About The Youldon Group

The Youldon Group has been involved in the sports and fitness sector for over twenty years. The passion for leadership in ringette started in 1996.

Core services include ringette team training, ringette coaching development through tools, workshops and one-on-one mentoring, and the provision of personal fitness training services for beginners and elite athletes.

http://www.myringetteteam.com

Contact

Paul Youldon, Media Relations
The Youldon Group
Ottawa, Ontario (613) 825-5057
Email: click here to send an email
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Youldon Group Repeats Third Year of Collaboration with Nepean Ringette Open Ladies

June 25, 2015

Ottawa, Ontario – The Youldon Group announced today that it is returning for a third season to design and lead a series of summer training sessions for the Nepean Ringette Open Ladies team.

Paul Youldon will act as lead designer and instructor and will, for the third year, be assisted by Leah Sirenko, former Junior AA player, Certified Coach and Open A Caliber Player.

The program will consist of skating, ringette drills and scrimmages, designed to build core competencies, confidence and gameplay awareness and understanding the rules.

The number of Open Recreational ringette players is growing fast and interest is high in having a place to play the sport of ringette and receive expert coaching in a supportive and fun environment.

The Nepean Open ladies team comprises women who love ringette, want to get more involved in the sport and who appreciate the bond it can offer with their ringette playing daughters. The team plays in the Gloucester and Area Adult Ringette Association.

About The Youldon Group

The Youldon Group has been involved in the sports and fitness sector for over twenty years. The passion for leadership in ringette started in 1996.

Core services include ringette team training, ringette coaching development through tools, workshops and one-on-one mentoring, and the provision of personal fitness training services for beginners and elite athletes.

http://www.myringetteteam.com

Contact

Paul Youldon, Media Relations
The Youldon Group
Ottawa, Ontario (613) 825-5057
Email: click here to send an email
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Youldon Group Announces Team Training Camp for Nova Scotia Junior AA Ringette Team

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario – The Youldon Group announced today that it will be designing and leading a team training camp with the Nova Scotia Junior AA Ringette team in preparation for the 2014 Tim Horton’s Canadian Ringette Championships (CRC) from April 6 to 12th in Regina. The CRC includes 44 teams and over 1,000 players, coaches, and team staff and 50 officials from across Canada.

Kaitlyn will be leading the training camp with her National Ringette League team mate, goal-tender, Jasmine Leblanc. Jasmine is from Moncton, New Brunswick and is also well known in Atlantic Canada ringette circles.

Kaitlyn Youldon of the Youldon Group, former lead for the Youldon Group Halifax office and former Head Coach of the Dalhousie University Ringette team has helped many Ringette teams in Nova Scotia. Moreover, Kaitlyn has been a regular on-ice instructor with National Ringette Schools hosted in Atlantic Canada.

Kaitlyn and Jasmine have reviewed video coverage of the Nova Scotia team to study the team’s strengths and weaknesses. The training camp will provide the Nova Scotia Juniors with lessons in on-ice tactics, off ice training, mental preparation and team building in order to provide the high level of ringette excellence required at the Canadian Ringette Championships in Regina.

About The Youldon Group

The Youldon Group has been involved in the sports and fitness sector for over twenty years. The passion for leadership in ringette started in 1996.

Core services include ringette team training, ringette coaching development through tools, workshops and one-on-one mentoring, and the provision of personal fitness training services for beginners and elite athletes.

http://www.myringetteteam.com

Contact

Paul Youldon, Media Relations
The Youldon Group
Ottawa, Ontario (613) 825-5057
Email: click here to send an email
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Snow White and the Seven Coaches.

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is a famous 1937 American animated film produced by Walt Disney based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.

You may recall the names of the characters: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.

Each character had a different personality and a unique relationship with Snow White.

The relationship between Ringette coach and ringette player is no different.

A coach’s personality and leadership style influences the team and the whole environment.

Which of the Seven Dwarfs is best suited for coaching ringette? Doc or Dopey? Grumpy or Sleepy? Happy or Bashful?

In coaching, we often see three main leadership styles:

  • autocratic (do as I say) – “Doc and Grumpy”,
  • democratic (involve the athletes in decision making) – “Happy and Bashful“ and
  • laissez faire (leave them alone) – “Sleepy and Dopey”.

Coaches may need different coaching styles depending on the situation.

There will be situations when it makes sense to be more direct, and other circumstances that require sharing and discovery. Yet, other times, it may be best to let the players  and the team evolve and discover at a pace consistent with its own goals and abilities.

Here are some tips for coaching style, inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:

When to be “Doc

  • when describing a drill on the ice, keep the instructions to a minimum – less than 60 seconds;
  • when it is a time out in a game, and a tactic is needed, be clear on what you want to say – you won’t have much time;
  • take charge of an emergency situations to implement first aid;
  • analyzing individual or team performance to address a skill or tactical problems.

When to be “Grumpy

  • players refuse to get on the ice on time, or fool around and shoot rings at their team mates;
  • be clear on discipline and let the players know you mean business and that consequences will be enforced.

When to be “Happy

  • players are performing well in a game or practice and they are doing what the coaches have asked of them – recognize and celebrate good behavior; show your enthusiasm for the sport and for their fine efforts;
  • get one of the players who has performed a drill well to showcase her skills while her team mates watch and appreciate her performance, focus and effort.

When to be “Sleepy

  • when the coach wants to delegate the work load to players and coaches;
  • Sleepy” is often bored – hence the eyes closed and the daydream state – change your drills, change your lines or tactics – get your team out of the boring state it may  occupy;
  • get coaches to help with stats and video;
  • gets players and parents to organize team meetings.

When to be “Bashful

  • as the coach, you may not have all the answers;
  • let players and coaches know that you are looking for suggestions on how to address agreed upon team problems;
  • use active listening language, such as “what I am hearing you say is… “, and, “correct me if I am wrong, but… “;
  • be respectful of the refs – ask for clarification, don’t be the big coach in charge (Grumpy) and get thrown out of the game.

When to be “Sneezy

  • Sneezies take pride in loyalty, faithfulness, and dependability;
  • remind athletes of the commitment required to training and striving to improve – as an athlete and as a team.

When to be “Dopey

  • being Dopey means being flexible and having a sense of humor which can be useful to reduce tense competitive situations;
  • Dopey is resourceful and creative;
  • don’t hesitate to take an “out of the box” approach to solving a ringette team-related problem.

What Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs coaching personality are you?

Can you be more than one Dwarf personality?

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What is wrong with drill books.

The coach opened the “Drill Book” full of pictures and symbols with the purpose of finally mastering the game of Ringette. “Wow, with these drills, I can see medals on the mantle.”

A Bunny (ringette player 4 to 6 years of age) coordinator recently showed me her rink diagrams for the Bunnies practice.

Oh, I forgot that Bunnies cannot skate just yet, but the diagrams look great.

Hey, thanks for sharing…

But…

With all the pretty diagrams these drills show where players are located on the ice, but they fail to address the core elements of the drill:

• Key teaching points, and  

• Communication

One of the leaders in skating, which is so fundamental to Ringette, is the Laura Stamm International Power Skating System (http://www.laurastamm.com/).

While our National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) requires coaches to provide key teaching points to ringette players, we get lost in the spaghetti lines found in most drill books.

It is confusing for the always diligent and “student of the game” ringette coach from local ringette communities such as Icy Path.

What is more important: following the lines on the page in the drill book or delivering the key teaching points with clarity, imagination and curiosity?

To illustrate, the Laura Stamm method recommends the following teaching points for forward skating crossovers:

1. Lock your ankles and form a 45º angle with the ice for maximum power.

2. Focus on a dual stride motion – the “stride push” and the “X-push.”

3. Bend your knees deeply.

4. Carve the edges into the ice rather than simply gliding on them.

5. Maintain a level upper body for stronger balance.

It is very difficult to “draw” these key points on a rink diagram.

Forget the drill book!!

One of the best things the ringette coach can do is to learn about and apply the fundamental movement skills (throwing, running, jumping, skating).

The NCCP has developed some material to help coaches.

Check it out.. . http://www.coach.ca/fundamental-movement-skills-s16736

Take a power skating course by a professional skating instructor, and see how she demonstrates, instructs and guides the athlete through the key skating teaching points.

Better yet – do the same for goalies to learn about goalie skills – remember goalies do not do crossovers. They need their own workouts and key teaching points.

Once you get the concept and structure of the “key teaching points,” then you can pick up the drill book and get back to patterns on the ice.

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Who is in charge of Coaching?

The local ringette association executive is bustling around the rink pontificating to the local spectators that “it is all about coaching.”

Meanwhile, the not to be outdone provincial executive bombastically declares to a room full of exhausted volunteers that “I am here to fix coaching.”

Prospective coaching candidates often say “ I don’t have time to make the commitment to be the head coach.” Moreover, “two parents harassed me last year, and so I decided that it was two parents too many – I retire.”

Recently, two parents of players on a ringette team prevented a former AA player from coaching because they wanted to be in charge of the team. This took place in spite of the best efforts of the local ringette association to select this talented, young female role model to train the next generation of aspiring ringette stars. Her side of the story: “I am tired of fighting these other coaches – it is not worth it to me. They can have the team.” The final score: alpha male hockey dads: 2, female role model: 0.

Recently, a ringette team with three NCCP certified coaches experienced conflict among the coaching ranks. The result: two certified coaches gone, one left.

What is it about coaching that everyone thinks they know better?

There must be a better way to recruit, develop and keep great ringette coaches?

In order to coach a competitive ringette team in Ontario, coaches must attend the Competition Introduction course offered through the Ontario Ringette Association in concert with the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). The curriculum was put in place after much study and hard work. The manual is certainly impressive.

Is it worthwhile?

In a clever study from the University of Ottawa, published in The Sport Psychologist, 2007, 21, 191-209, Human Kinetics, Inc. on “How Youth-Sport Coaches Learn to Coach,” Lemyre, Trudel and Durand-Bush concluded that formal training is only one component of developing coaches.

Here is a quote from a coach who participated in the research study:

“When I took the certification course, I was very disappointed. There were two sessions during the weekend. For the first session, I was expecting to learn about the rules of the game because I did not know anything about that; I did not have any experience. But the content was not that at all. We were all coaches coming from different sports. So we all talked about our experiences but I did not need that. I needed to learn about the game. I did not want to be there all day; I most certainly did not feel like talking. The next day, we talked about aerobic and anaerobic systems, VO2max and other stuff I did not understand. I was so disappointed that I left before the end of the class.”

The study examined how coaches learn, get information, and seek advice. The results may shock you.

One of the principal sources of information was from family and friends who had played sports in the past. Another common source was from their experiences earlier in life, as an athlete. In other words, coaches repeat what they were taught as athletes.

But, coaches also spoke of their interactions with, and observations of, other coaches in their sport.

The authors concluded that  youth-sport coaches are often left to work on their own in isolation… the learning situations available to youth sport coaches to develop their knowledge have been limited and counterproductive in certain aspects.”

So, if formal classroom-based training is only one component, what more can and should be done?

The authors concluded that coaches would do well to learn through a sport specific community of practice which would include apprenticeship programs, the sharing of best practices, and the thoughtful use of a coaching facilitator.

While national sport organizations have the funds and expertise to produce outstanding world class resources, local ringette associations would be wise to foster ringette communities of practice where coaches are expected to share their knowledge experiences with new coaches.

Coaches who win medals are sweet, but coaches who share are gold.

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A Modern AAA Program for Ontario

Every two years Ontario selects athletes from each region of its six regions to participate in the AAA program, with the goal of being in the Ontario Winter Games.

Is it keeping pace with modern sport development?

Alberta brings its top 75 players together to form its Canada Games team and along the way it offers standard and rigorous on-ice and off-ice training and education to all those participating.

Sound more like a training camp than a tryout?

Quebec, while critized for taking two years to picks its team, also offers the same comprehensive training and engages other training experts outside of Ringette to develop the athletes.

The Ontario Government, through its Sport Priority Funding, offers financial assistance to   Ontario sport organizations for training camps for its elite teams such as the AAA program.

For the 2011 Canada Winter Games, Ringette Canada hosted a four day ringette event called La Releve at which it brought all the Provincial teams together for a shared training event in Ottawa to build strong players and coaches.

Everyone we spoke with loved the event.

Bring it on  – again and again.

Core content presented at La Releve included fitness and sport specific training, managing stress in competition,  sports psychology, mental preparation, coping with a full training schedule, hydration and nutrition, media training, in addition to team building and leadership skills.

Training events like this build key partnerships between sport scientists, coaching development builders and ringette associations.

The Elite Committee of Ontario Ringette is currently looking at its AAA program.

See the proposal that started the discussion.

Is your ringette association ready to answer the key question:

  • What does athlete development mean in your ringette association?
  • Is there more that you could do at each age group? (Gather the “movers and shakers” in your association and start the discussion). 
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