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USA Hockey Adopts New Coach Requirement, effective 2021

On June 13, USA Hockey adopted significant revisions to its coaching education requirements.  The changes, which were developed over a two year research project, are effective for the 2021-22 season:

  • Level 4 becomes part of ordinary clinic progression, is reduced to single day session, standard clinic price, offered more often in more places.  In the Michigan District, we have chosen to implement this option in the 2020-2021 season (immediately).
  • Online module requirement reduced as modules are consolidated from 5 to 3 (8U, 10U & 12U, 13+)
  • Continuing Education requirement effective in 2021-22 for all coaches (except those affected by the Grandfather Clause “d”).
  • The “old” Level 4 format of 2-or-3-day clinics is generally obsoleted – replaced by 1 or 2 day “High Performance” specialty clinics.
  • Continuing Education offerings will include Level 5 (national), various Michigan-based High Performance in-person clinics, and various online solutions now under development.

Clinic content is also being adapted to fit the new structure, to provide virtual clinics in 2020, and to better suit adult learning standards.

Click here for detailed explanation

USA Hockey Announces Virtual Clinics, Extends Temporary Card option

All registered coaches were sent this email by USA Hockey on July 17.  If you opt-out of USA Hockey emails, you will not have received it, so the contents are provided here.

Greetings USA Hockey Coaches:

The safety and well being of our 60,000 registered coaches is the top priority of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program. As the coronavirus pandemic continues on into the summer, we have decided to extend the registration for the temporary coaching card until Dec. 31, 2020.

Please remember that if you sign up for a temporary card you do not have to register for a virtual coaching clinic. Coaches who do both will not be eligible for a refund.

Click here to register for the temporary card online or download the form that you will need to complete and submit to the USA Hockey national office.

In addition, as part of our continuing efforts to improve educational opportunities for all registered coaches, USA Hockey’s board of directors recently approved legislation designed to expand the guidelines for the Coaching Education Program. The new criteria takes affect starting with the 2021-22 season.

The biggest change is that all coaching clinics, from Level 1 to Level 4 will be one-day events and will cost one standard fee ($50).

Each year a coach will be required to advance their level of certification by attending a clinic that corresponds with their next level of certification, such as a Level 1 coach this year must complete his or her Level 2 certification next season, and so on until they achieve Level 4 certification. After that, coaches will be required to earn five continuing education credits over the next three years.

Credits will be earned through a variety of educational opportunities that will be clarified at a later date.

Coaches who complete their Level 4 certification before the start of the 2021-22 season and are not coaching a Tier I or Tier II team will be grandfathered in and will not have to take additional courses unless they choose to.

In the meantime, we hope that you and your family are staying healthy and safe and following the prescribed guidelines set forth by state, local and national healthcare agencies. It will take a team effort to defeat the coronavirus so we can all return to the ice in a safe and timely manner.

Yours in hockey.

USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program

Introduction to the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program

Welcome to the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) web site, and thank you for your interest in the Coaching Education Program, one of USA Hockey's educational offerings.

Coaches - you are the reason our program exists.  You have taken on a demanding job.  We want to be a resource for you, to help you do the best job you are able to do.  After all, parents and players have a right to expect that you are doing your best for every player on the team.  Let us help you move them to the next level, whatever that may be.  In the process, you may discover that coaching is something you enjoy, and are good at. 

We believe that coaches are a prime influence in the lives of young people, and that coaching education is a potent force for the betterment of every participant's hockey experience.  Through our programs, you may be able to move to the next level as well!

If you are looking for specific information on coaching in Michigan, please review the links at the top of this page.    We also recommend reviewing the Coaches tab of the USA Hockey web site.

In closing, let's consider what the U.S. Olympic Committee has to say about Coaching:  "To coach effectively, it is not enough to have played or watched the sport, or to have merely read about how to coach.  Quality coaching requires essential professional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal knowledge used in coaching practice to meet the needs of athletes in that setting.   Informed daily decisions and behaviors that serve the best interest of the athletes, the team, and the program are the ultimate demonstration of quality coaching."*

*from USOC Quality Coaching Framework, 2019

Michigan Coaching Webinar - Coaching during a Pandemic

USA Hockey's Coaching Education Program hosted a  webinar for Michigan coaches on Tuesday June 16.  It can still be viewed on the Michigan Amateur Hockey YouTube channel:

There were 3 main discussion points:
- health considerations for players and coaches 
- practice planning with social distancing 
- competitive options and team formation in an era of capacity limits

At the end, the speakers answered questions from listeners, and these are also in the recording.  Coaches who are concerned with the safety of all participants would do well to review this recording.

Not Able to Attend a Clinic in 2020?

Updated July 17...In the letter from USA Hockey on this page, coaches who (a) don't feel comfortable with being at an in person clinic, or (b) don't have the ability to actively participate in an online clinic, may request a Temporary Coaching Card for 2020-2021.  Read the letter posted on this page for specifics.   The deadline was extended until the end of 2020, because of the uncertainty of the pandemic's impact in various parts of the U.S.

Practice Plans from USA Hockey

Did you know that USA Hockey has produced practice plan suggestions for 8U, 10U, 12U, and for the Covid-19 Pandemic?  You can find them at 

2020 Level 5 Postponed to next year

The Level 5 (National Hockey Coaching Symposium) has been postponed due to the Coronavirus.  The rescheduled dates are August 19-22, 2021, in Duluth, MN.  

Should a coach always wear a helmet?

The unexpected can happen any time.  What do you think would have happened to this coach had he not been wearing his helmet?


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