Game on!


A Practice by the Numbers: The following facts and figures relate to a 60-minute practice session. 

• 1 efficient practice will give a player more skill development than 11 games collectively. 

• Each player should have a puck on his or her stick for 8 - 12 minutes. 

• Each player should have a minimum of 30 shots on goal. 

• Players will miss the net over 30% of the time in a minor hockey practice. 

• Coaches should try to run 4 - 5 different drills / games / activities each practice. More is not better; execution of what you do is development. 

• No more than 5 minutes should be spent in front of a teaching board each practice.

• If you have 10 players on the ice, strive to keep 4 - 5 players moving at all times. 

• If you have 15 players on the ice, strive to keep 9 - 10 players moving at all times. 

• If you have 20 players on the ice, strive to keep 14 - 15 players moving at all times. 

NDMHA is dedicated to providing support to our coaches and hopefully this document can help create the framework for coach development and will create an open line of communication within NDMHA.

Guidelines for Coach Development

While no doubt some individuals are better suited to coaching than others, it is true that coaches are made not born. NDMHA wishes to maximize the coaching potential within our association by implementing a plan for coach development, from the day an individual first volunteers. Such a program requires dedication from the volunteer and the association as well as the presence of some technical expertise to develop and support the coach, and will require that NDMHA attach the importance it deserves to the quality of coaches in the organization. It is imperative to develop a philosophy and development program structure to ensure a meaningful and successful experience for your players, parents and volunteers.

Coaching Philosophy The Golden Rule of Coaching

Fairness and Consistency are the most important attributes for a coach to possess. Players respond best to a coach who treats them fairly. At younger ages, benching of players should be reserved for disciplinary (cheap shots, discipline) and health/injury reasons, not ability. Short-shifting the weaker players during power plays, short-handed situations or with the hope of winning the game are counter-productive because:

• It reduces player self-esteem, sometimes to the point of giving up.

• It does not build a sense of "team" among the players.

It robs the less skilled players of the chance to experience "pressure situations", which are difficult to simulate emotionally in a practice. Consequently, the less skilled players improve neither their team skills nor their individual skills. The weak get weaker while the strong get stronger. The players resent being benched without good reason and eventually turn that resentment toward their coach. The coach also loses parental support. At the younger ages, actually winning the game should be a secondary goal to instilling a love of the game. In the long run everyone plays pick-up hockey, if they continue playing at all! It is difficult for a coach on the bench to equalize time. When things are going badly, time slows down. When your team is getting lots of scoring opportunities, time passes more quickly. Balancing lines (rather than having "A", "B" and "C" lines) helps alleviate this problem. This doesn't mean the coach shouldn't try to equalize time -- it means that parents need to be tolerant of errors.

As players age and become wiser and more aware of the world, consistency in their treatment becomes of paramount importance. A coach who benches one player but not another for identical behaviour will very quickly lose the respect of the players and the parents. A good coach uses ice time to modify players' behaviour and is not resented for it – the players know what is expected. They know what the penalties will be for unsatisfactory performance (behavioural or otherwise) and they know that the penalty will be applied consistently to everyone on the team.

Having a philosophy & structure will accomplish two key goals:

1. Clearly & effectively communicate the programs offered by your association in the areas of player development and coach development. This is the basis for a successful community- based hockey program.

2. This will create a structure that is not reliant on one person. Hockey in Canada is driven by the efforts of its volunteers. Having this structure in place will ensure the program has a legacy and will continue even with turnover in those volunteer positions.

“If a player is good enough to be on the team, they're good enough to play”

If you have any coaching questions throughout the season you may contact me directly. I am also available to attend your games or practices upon request to supply further mentoring. 



Craig Sherbaty, is considered by many, to be a leading coach mentor, both on and off the ice.  With over 24 years of experience of Player and Coach Development. Focused, mentoring strategies and interactions, he is sought after as a speaker and instructor. His enthusiasm and expertise quickly connects to the audience, motivating all to take action.

In 1997, Craig founded the Pacific Titans Athletic Program, which focuses on providing training, mentorship and team building for the athlete and coach.  A pedagogical strategic planning and assessment program was developed by Craig for coaches, players and upper management, resulting in positive outcomes for all. 

Driven to motivate others with his innovative techniques, combined with his superior ability to communicate to participants of all levels, Craig started consulting to many associations throughout the lower mainland, building a coach and player mentorship program.

Some of Craig’s accomplishments include, Lead on ice instructor for Hockey Canada Chevrolet Safe and Fun Hockey Program from 2005 – 2011. Coach Coordinator and Lead Player Development Instructor for Surrey Minor Hockey Association for 10 years. He was the Director of Player and Coach Development for Langley Minor for 2 years and Director of Hockey Operations for Langley Minor for the past 3 years.

He is the BC Hockey Coach Mentorship Coordinator and has been a contributing Volunteer Coach since 1992, and Clinic Facilitator since 2001.  He also works with the Vancouver Canucks Centre for BC Hockey Coaches Day since 2008 as the Lead on Ice Instructor.

Craig Sherbaty
Director of Hockey Operations
North Delta Minor Hockey Association