I wasn't a big season planner until about eight seasons ago when I got to the middle of December in that season and realized I hadn't once worked on our power play. Yikes!! I had talked about the power play and we had kind of an idea of what we were supposed to be doing but, there hadn't been designated practice time to devote to working on any power play systems at all.
It was at that moment that the light bulb came on and I have done a simple but straight forward season plan every year since. It doesn't take long, it will make a big difference in your organization of the season and, to make it even easier, I am providing some good templates for you to use and modify. (Click here for an Excel example of a Season Plan. Click here for a detailed Yearly Planning Instrument.)
Here are some key pieces to think about when you are mapping out your season:
1) Set out the dates that you know right now in a calendar format (when does school start, when does the regular season start, when do the playoffs start, when is Christmas/Thanksgiving/New Years).
2) Identify the best weekends for tournament - both local and on the road.
3) Block off weekends/weeks that would be bad for hockey in general (e.g. exam week).
4) I always give the week off from Christmas to New Years. No hockey at all. Parents are always very appreciative of this but, the week can get a little long without some focus in many families. Our organization provides some shinny time during the day and it seems to be a good outlet for the team to just go and have fun.
5) Start to block out the weeks when you want to introduce systems, when you want to do stength and conditioning and what skills you want to work on.
6) What other things do you want to add to the calendar? Fitness testing? Team get togethers/team bonding? Player evaluation meetings?
7) Set out other things that might be important to the team.
Of course it will be difficult to absolutely stick to the Season Plan, it is a fluid document but, it will help in not forgetting to work on the power play until December.