Tuesday – Thursday 8:00 am
Volunteer work is something that too often is taken for granted, or un appreciated. In this day in age, volunteer opportunities are plentiful and can help impact the lives of people in such a way that may be hard to understand for others whom may be in a situation of fortune or prosperity.
When I heard about the ten required hours of community service for this class I was extremely excited. In my home town I volunteer as a coach of street hockey every weekend for an incredible group of children on the lower east side of Manhattan, New York. These children are growing up in the same neighborhood that I was born and raised in, facing similar struggles and temptations, I can relate very strongly to them and they can look up to me as one of the kids that “made it” out of the neighborhood. I achieved that with hard work in school, and the sport of ice hockey. As well as being blessed with a family that can afford to do so. I understand not everyone is as fortunate as me, and that’s one of the main reasons I love volunteering, especially giving back to my community.
I’ve also volunteer coached for a team in New Jersey named the Old Bridge Junior Knights. The coaching staff I worked with there was run by Rob Catello. I ran drills with the forwards of the team as a skater to demonstrate drills. I also talked to players in a one on one scenario, to further explain what they should do in certain situations, and why they should do it. An example of this would be if a player stops on the wrong foot, meaning he is facing the boards, and not the play. If a player favors stopping on a certain foot, their skating ability will not improve. I would use that one on one time to explain this so they understand why I am telling them to stop on the correct side, facing the play and not the boards. That experience was very beneficial to me and Coach Rob taught me a great deal about coaching travel ice hockey.
Naturally, when I moved to Slippery Rock, I wanted to continue coaching. I found that opportunity when my ice hockey teammate Matt invited me to coach with his old high school team. I jumped on the opportunity to help coach and get on the ice with this group of high schoolers, because high school is an ideal age to teach sports. The players seem to have a stronger desire to learn. The team consists of nineteen players. Five of which are freshmen, three sophomores, eight juniors, and three seniors. I’ve been working alongside coach Matt Vicine with the goaltenders on the team. One of the three seniors is the starting goalie, Cam. I’ve been working very close with Cam on his lateral movement and getting up and down quicker. It’s easy for me to help goalies because I used to be a goalie, and beside that I get to shoot at the goalie in specific spots, and watch his movements as a player, as opposed to a coach on the bench. Beside working with Cam, it’s also very rewarding to watch the players come together and build chemistry.
I’ve been coaching with this team since September of 2014. Unfortunately I have not been able to make it to any of the games due to my ice hockey schedule. The practices I have been at are very rewarding. I get to practice my coaching skills while at the same time helping young hockey players mature and be ready for higher levels of hockey. I myself played hockey in high school, travel hockey at the level of AA, and junior hockey at level A, tier III. I hope to continue coaching throughout my life and I will be able to own a junior hockey team one day, and be the head coach of it at the same time.