“Characteristics of Ringette”

Some of this material I have presented in a workshop that I delivered to several local Ringette Associations during the 2011-2012 season. It was called “Beat the Ringette Coaching Learning Curve,” and was designed for new coaches.

What are the characteristics of Ringette, and what does it mean for how coaches plan their development programs?

Ringette is an ice sport, with lots of skating. It takes strategy and principles from basketball and soccer. No off-sides, but you must deal with the blue lines.

Sport scientists often look at the energetics or the sport, the mental focus, and the social context. Energetics is about energy systems, of which we have three: short-term with high power, medium-term with power, and longer term with less intensity. Each energy system is trained in different ways.

So, what about ringette?

We notice 45 to 60 second shifts followed by 1 or 2 minutes recovery on the bench. During a shift we see 5 to 10 seconds of intense effort, such as skating, fighting for ring possession, blended with gliding and using momentum to travel across the ice.

This is supported by attributes such as : agility, strength, power, balance,  and coordination.

The mental element requires game preparation, coping with stress and making wise ring possession and transition decisions while in the midst of a high speed game.

The social context: ringette players strive for team cohesion and affiliation. Ringette is predominated by female athletes, and as such have motivations, approaches, and training models that should be respected.

Implications for Coaches:

  • Use Interval Training (work to rest ratio of 1 to 3, or 1 to 5): skating, running, spinning, cycling, circuit training.
  • Use games of evasion, challenges, games of tag, capture the flag, soccer, which combine decision-making, agility, change of direction and acceleration.
  • Consider the amount of time players work and rest: a 30 second skating drill followed by 5 seconds rest repeated several times will exhaust players producing bad results. Work for 5 to 10 seconds, and allow 20 seconds recovery to ensure partial recovery. Try groups of three at one station: one works for 5 seconds, while the other two rest. Repeat ten times for good exposure to the drill. This allows a 1 to 2 work to rest ratio.
  • Try juggling for hand-eye coordination, and work on ring pick-up, and goalie catching a lot.
  • Female ringette players strive for team cohesion and belonging: create social events, and hold team meetings to solve problems, permitting structured discussions about team business; coaches – learn your player’s names.
  • For young players, the development skill matrix says skating, ring carry and protection are critical: watch for stick length – shorter is better, proper grip, and good balance while skating with the ring, and protecting the ring from checkers – try sharks and minnows for bunnies and novices. Work on deking and faking as they get more mature. Try figure 8 drills with the ring and two pylons to get the ring moving.
  • Goalies are critical – ensure the core mobility skills of telescoping, T-step, and shuffle step. Allow for ring toss practice to safe ice places, and moving players. Each practice goalies deserve at least 10 to 15 minutes of private goalie training then blend them into your practice with skaters. More on goalie training in future blogs. Next blog – planning your season.
  • Most good coaches will talk about keeping possession of the ring, even when we have only three players on the ice. Don’t dump and chase. While some teams do it, most respected coaches I have worked with prefer to teach possession, and support in order to keep the ring.
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