Today’s guest is Aaron Wilbur, Founder, and CEO of The Coaches Site and host of the Glass & Out podcast. The Coaches Site is an online resource for hockey coaches and was created to provide top coaches a platform to share their experiences and expertise with a global audience. As the host of The Glass and Out podcast, Aaron is fortunate to have weekly conversations with some of the top leaders and trailblazers in hockey. The show highlights the origins of their careers, challenges they have overcome, triumphs, and insights into how coaches can provide an enhanced development opportunity for their players.
Aaron spent 12 years coaching at the Major Midget, Junior, and University levels in British Columbia. During this time, he captured a BCHL Championship as an Assistant Coach with the Penticton Vees in 2008 and a Western Canadian Championship as the Head Coach of the Richmond Sockeyes in 2013. From 2011 through 2016 he traveled extensively to China working with various organizations on the development of grassroots hockey. During this time, he also produced the documentary Canucks in China, which examined the developing culture of hockey in China. Listen in for some great takeaways about how Aaron is impacting the sport of hockey and educating coaches to be the best that they can be.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- Aaron’s path to founding the Coaches Site [2:50]
- The Coaches Site and what it’s all about [5:47]
- Aaron’s takeaways from his experiences with The Coaches Site thus far [8:46]
- Some of the biggest challenges facing youth hockey today [11:16]
- Similar challenges in other sports [14:39]
- How do we change the culture around coaching? [17:59]
- Kyle Beach investigation: Bad actors involved in child youth hockey programs [24:45]
- Advice for parents who are new to hockey [28:29]
- What makes hockey different from other sports [31:01]
- What are the next big things up for Aaron Wilbur and The Coaches Site? [34:04]
- What Aaron did today that put him in the right mindset for success? [35:52]
What is the Coaches Site?
The Coaches Site is a platform for hockey coaches. Many of the coaches are household names, some aren’t, but they’re all excellent at their craft. Aaron gives them a platform to share their experience and insight with a global coaching audience. They’ve got coaches from 18 different countries and work with a number of different federations from the German, and South African Ice Hockey Federations to groups in Canada and the US. The premise of the site is to make it simple for coaches to make a positive impact on the sport. Aaron believes if he can provide a great experience for coaches with what he does, that will promote a great experience for young people to play the game.
There are over 300 hours of video on the site. Those videos include Barry Trots talking about leadership and how he manages personalities in his dressing room or Bruce Cassidy from the Boston Bruins talking about the power play and presenting on that. There are a number of contributors from all over the world that provide tactical analysis of various games. Everything from breaking down a neutral zone forecheck in the KHL to Dave Starman taking example clips of college hockey and giving grassroots coaches tips on how to break those skills down and transfer them to a group of 10-year-olds.
Is there a culture issue among coaching?
A lot of times parents are the first coaches for younger ages, especially here in the US because there aren’t a lot of professional coaches at that level but somebody has to stand up to do it. That somebody isn’t always on the same page as the parent so there’s a conflict that exists.
Aaron says it all starts at the grassroots level. The importance of alignment from the Minor Hockey Association’s Board Of Directors down to the development staff, to the coaches—who may be volunteers—and finally the parents. If all the adults aren’t on the same page of what the goals are, for example, if a coach comes into a situation where they aspire to have a culture that’s rooted in players doing their best and supporting each other but the expectations of the parents are all about winning…it’s never going to work. It just won’t.
Advice for new hockey parents
Aaron says his first tip for new hockey parents would be, from a development standpoint, that the stuff that looks boring on ice, the skating classes, and those fundamentals, you can’t invest in that enough. If you want your kid to have a good experience long-term, do yourself a favor, find a coach who specializes in working with young kids because not everyone is cut out to work with a group of six-year-olds!
He says another big tip is to create a budget and stick to it. It’s easy to blink and all of a sudden have all of your child’s time, attention, and all your financial resources invested in hockey. It’s a lifestyle, not just a sport. Budget time for gymnastics or music class or whatever, and stick to that. What you’re going to find is that you will enjoy your time at the rink a lot more, build better relationships, and in the long run, your kid will have a better experience with sports period. In fact, if they are talented, that ability to diversify to take part in other sports and activities will make them better players in the long run.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Aaron Wilbur
Aaron Wilbur is the Founder and CEO of the Coaches Site, an online resource for hockey coaches, as well as the host of the Glass & Out podcast. The Coaches Site was created to provide the game’s top coaches a platform to share their experience and expertise with a global audience of coaches. As the host of the Glass & Out podcast, Aaron is fortunate to have weekly conversations with some of the top leaders and trailblazers in hockey, highlighting the origins of their careers, challenges overcome, triumphs, and their insights into how coaches can provide an enhanced development opportunity for their players.
He spent 12 years coaching at the Major Midget, Junior, and University levels in British Columbia. During this time, he captured a BCHL Championship as an Assistant Coach with the Penticton Vees in 2008 and a Western Canadian Championship as the Head Coach of the Richmond Sockeyes in 2013. From 2011 through 2016 he traveled extensively to China working with various organizations on the development of grassroots hockey. During this time, he also produced the documentary Canucks in China, which examined the developing culture of hockey in China.
Aaron is married with two boys, is scared of heights, gets way too excited for Halloween, and is mildly obsessed with Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.
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