The purpose of planning practices and team activities are to create an athlete-centred environment with a goal to develop your athletes’ skills and to promote enjoyment of the game. With planning, you can create situations to educate your players about sportsmanship, minimize the risk of physical and psychological injury, and to reach the goals of set for your team.

The “Plan – Do – Review” model is an essential tool for coaches that will enable a clearer picture of what each training session looks like, what worked, why it worked and what changes may be included for the next session.

Focusing on the “Plan” of “Plan – Do – Review”, coaches should consider the following: 
  1. Long term planning is an important requirement in the training process, and it relies on the parameters and content of the trainings that are included in smaller blocks of training cycles. Long term planning gives landmarks of the expected performance gains or expected results in the major competitions of the athlete in the future. Planning for the season involves selecting the season’s content (objectives that involve skills, rules, strategies, conditioning and attitudes) and organizing it into a plan from which practices, games, and other events can be efficiently managed. 
  2. Planning of smaller training blocks or phases ... Practice efficiency is one of the most important points of consideration when designing and executing an effective practice. With the scarcity (and expense) of ice time, it is imperative that each session is structured to keep the players moving as much as possible. While it is important to provide clear instructions with age-appropriate terminology and precise demonstrations, the coach needs to do this as concisely as possible. Stress this point to the other coaches running the practice stations; in simplest terms, give a quick explanation and demonstration and get the players moving. One of the goals of a station practice is to maximize opportunities for the players.
As important as it is to have a plan for each practice or game, it’s equally important to have a plan for each player, or more precisely, each player’s development. A player only grows up once, and everything that happens (or does not happen) influences his/her development. There’s a proverb that says ”all flowers of tomorrow are in today’s seeds”, which in hockey terms means that if the hockey player of the future should flourish, the coach of today’s young players must nurture them in a fertile environment. Building that environment and consistently nurture the player in the best way, does not come by chance or a lucky strike. It has to be carefully planned and the plans have to be carefully carried into effect.
Bjorn Kinding