A key event on the sidelines of the 8th Gazprom Neft Cup was a Master Class seminar for coaches held by Russian ice hockey maestro Vladimir Yurzinov (sr.) at the Avangard hockey centre a few hours before the Super Final. Coaches of the club in Omsk were joined by their counterparts from Tournament finalists CSKA and Ak Bars.
The range of topics was wide: from how to prepare players and coaches and how to catch up with the leading children’s ice hockey clubs to how to return ice hockey’s status of a national sport.
"There’s a good reason people say “You don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve lost it”, Vladimir Yurzinov said at the start of the seminar. “So how do we revive the joy of ice hockey for kids? And why have we lost our dominant position in the sport? We clearly didn’t value our achievements enough, thought we’d always be on top and didn’t notice other countries catch up and overtake us”.
— The Gazprom Neft Cup is now in its eighth edition. Just how far have we come?
— The progress is enormous. A record number of 24 teams took part in this year’s Tournament and we can only welcome this!
— Where should the emphasis be in the boys’
— The main thing is to ensure that hockey brings them joy, that the children look forward to the training sessions and get pleasure from the game, and develop the spirit of competition among themselves. But coaches should not overlook the importance of the children’s school work. Only a few will go on to become hockey stars, the rest must have an education, a profession and go on to lead a successful life. From my own experience I can say that the better you study, the better you play. Hockey is an intellectual sport.
— But isn’t our system is built on achieving high results fast?
— This should of course be one of the aims, but not at such a young age. As I said, the priority here should be to foster a love of the sport among the children and enjoyment of their own development as players. And this shouldn’t interfere with their school studies.
Igor Semenov, chairman of the Avangard Children’s and Youth Sports School and honoured trainer of Russia:
“We discussed the development of our ice hockey school with Vladimir Vladimirovich Yurzinov during his last visit here in August. We are trying to follow all of his advice and guidance and implement this methodology. Today we were happy to meet him again, at our school, and the seminar was attended by both our trainers and their colleagues from other schools in the Omsk region, as well as students and associates from the hockey department of the Siberian State University of Physical Education and Sports”.