Bobby Jones has dedicated his life to growing the sport of ball hockey in the South Jersey area. Bobby is a coach, player, and referee in multiple leagues and an asset where ever he goes. Next summer he will be the Head Coach for ASHI’s U18 USA Team playing in Sheffield, UK in the World Junior Ball Hockey Championships.
1. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a coach?
My strength area as a coach is my ability (for the most part) to remain calm, not panic and stick with a plan when things don’t go well early, I also seem to have an eye for talent in a big picture, I’m not easily wowed by flashy dangles and spin moves, I seem to be able to find players with work ethic and hockey IQ, something that is not always easy to spot. My biggest weakness is leaving struggling players in positions too long and trying to give them the opportunity to get out of a funk, it has cost me.
2. What is your philosophy on coaching and discipline?
My philosophy on coaching is simple: it takes a team to win, don’t try to carry the team but try to be part of a team. I look for players who will commit to a system and no matter how tempting an opportunity may be they remain disciplined enough to stay in the system.
3. How do you deal with players and parents about concerns about playing time?Earn it…….at some point in time it’s a valuable lesson to take with you everywhere in life, on and off the rink, earn the rewards you desire….earn your playing time with hustle, discipline and heart.
4. What role do assistant coaches play in your program? Do you consider yourslf a micro or macro manager?
I believe assistant coaches see the game as well as you do, I just happened to be the guy named head coach. My assistants have 100% of my respect and say in team decisions. I’m not afraid to be questioned, and I’m not afraid to question, but they too, need to be team players free of ego, micro managing sucks in life and sucks on a hockey bench.
5. Describe a coach’s role as motivator. How do you plan on motivating players and getting them to buy in to their role on this team?
Sugar and Spice……A player has to know you believe in him, have confidence in him, and trust him before that player’s mind will even hear the corrective measures being presented, e.g. after every shift I try to point out the things that worked and the things that were good first, then talk about the questionable decision or the effort or whatever caused the play to fail….talk about it all!
6. Describe the organization of your bench area during games.
I try to set up lines and defensive pairings early, I look for players who are good for each other, after those lines are named, I have one coach on the defensive door and one coach on the offensive door, those coaches are free to make their own decisions on shift time and changes, I will chirp up if I’m looking for a certain matchup or feel we have a miss match, but in general I watch the whole game and discuss what I see as it happens, Assistant Coaches are equals to me.
7. What coaches, teacher or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how?
I had a mentor type coach as a kid named Mike D’Antonio. He coached me in football and ice hockey, he was very fair and taught me several key things as a youngster that I carried with me through life. I was also influenced at an early age by players who were my age but were advanced in talent, they never intimidated me, in fact they drove me to want and desire to be “that” good. Jaime Cooke (General Manager of ASHI’s Master Program) and one of, in my opinion, the key members of the early brigade of ball hockey warriors on the east coast, as well as Chris Caplan from a legendary team called the Force, he shaped me as a player and a leader.
8. Who is your greatest role model either personally or as a coach?
My father was a huge role model for me as a man, shaped me as a man, gave me work ethic, morals and determination, but never coached me; I grew up watching Bobby Clarke and Bobby Orr……that generation of hockey.
9. What one word or phrase do you want people to associate with your name?Respect is earned.
10. What is one word or phrase that you hope former players use to describe you?Cappy (Chris Caplan) always said I was tenacious and gritty and had a ton of heart…I’ll take it!
11. What do you believe is the proper role of parents in the program?
To support their kids when they are good and bad on the rink, don’t blame, don’t cop out and point fingers, pick your son or daughter up, dust them off, and get them back on track…..we will handle the hockey!
12. Why do you feel that you are the best person for this job?
I don’t know that I am, but I am honored to have been chosen, I know that I will give 100%, I will care and teach….If that makes me the best person for the job, then so be it.
13. How would you promote a positive energy with your team through both positive and negative situations?
There is always an upside, just the fact that these 22 kids are being given the opportunity is the upside to every negative situation that can occur, we will handle every situation that arises with the knowledge that “you belong here” Now let’s fix this!
14. What would you try to teach your players besides hockey? How would you do that?
“READ” Respect…..Effort…..Attitude and Discipline……..these are values as a dad that I’ve taught my own kids and every kid I’ve coached, I do not give up on players and will never stop pushing them in the right direction.
15. What are three things that your previous experience in coaching has taught you?
1 – Earn the respect of your opponents.
2 – Even great players have crappy games.
3 – Anything can happen but don’t stop trying.
16. How has coaching affected your life?
It made me realize that I care, I genuinely just want to help. I’m a family oriented guy, sports teams tend to function like families, sometimes functional and sometimes dysfunctional, but an extended family based on friendship, team work and comradery is as good as family gets.
17. What are your best and worst memories in coaching?
My favorite coaching moment so far was winning the U.S. Nationals in Leominster against Quebec City with a Cadet team from Marlton NJ. So far my most disappointing moment came when losing in OT to the Niagara War Pigs in the North American B finals…….Some of my favorite players played on that team for me, including this warrior defenseman with red hair and a 20 stitch gash in his head who writes for ASHI.