The game programme of the Gazprom Neft Cup is very intensive, but that does not prevent the tournament organizers from offering a variety of interesting activities for all event participants away from the ice rinks. The boys were treated to excursion parties, and special educational seminars were laid on for coaches and parents.
In St Petersburg, on the last day of the West Group competition, coaches of participating teams met the renowned hockey coach and methodologist, Vladimir Yurzinov, who has trained numerous star hockey players in Russia and abroad. Most of the coaches came to the event (probably all, except the coaches of teams that were competing on the ice at the time). The meeting with Vladimir Yurzinov at the Yubileyny Sports Palace was also attended by mentors of other child teams not participating in the Gazprom Neft Cup.
“I was keen to make the junior coaches realize just how important their role is! These children will never forget their first coach. He is an example to them, and not just in hockey, but also in life. A children’s coach shapes athletes, but he also shapes human beings and citizens. His job is to love these boys and girls, to be patient and to control his emotions. He is laying a foundation for our future,” Vladimir Yurzinov said.
In Omsk, the junior coaches met the Distinguished USSR Master of Sport and 1992 Olympic champion, Dmitry Yushkevich. The seminar at Avangard Children’s Hockey Centre turned into a conversation, which is what Yushkevich had wanted it to be.
“It is obviously true that good technique is crucial for a child: to play well, he has to skate well and know how to handle the stick. But what is often lacking today, even among adult coaches of MHL, KHL or NHL teams, is game sense. In the past teams didn’t just meet on the ice — they played football, volleyball or other outdoor games on the street. That has all changed now and, for all their technique, children aren’t so good at ‘playing the game’. To my mind, it is a critical factor in hockey.”
Seminars for coaches and specialists are an established tradition at the Gazprom Neft Cup. But the seminar for parents, held in St Petersburg on the second day of the tournament, was a new departure. As well as learning about athletic and hockey skills by listening to famous coaches, it is also highly important to learn more about the psychological aspects of child sport. And these aspects are vitally important, not only to the coaches who train the children, but also to the parents of the young athletes.
This was the thinking behind the seminar held at the Yubileyny Sport Palace by professors of St Petersburg’s main sports university: the Lesgaft National State University of Physical Culture, Sport and Health. A number of University staff talked to and offered advice to the children’s parents: the Head of the Physiology Faculty, MD and Professor Igor Levshin; the Head of the Psychology Faculty, MD, member of the University Academic Council and Professor Yulia Rodygina; and the Assistant Professor of Social and Humanitarian Sciences, Doctor of Educational Science and Professor, Elena Utisheva.
Both seminars in St Petersburg were organized by the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.