Staff Spotlight – Zach Martin

Staff Spotlight – Zach Martin

Ed Snider Youth Hockey & Education is proud of the work that our staff do on and off the ice. In order to spotlight the outstanding effort they put into the organization, we will regularly interview a staff member about their time with Snider. The first staff spotlight is Zach Martin, alumni coach of the 12AA travel team.

What made you want to get into hockey in the first place?

My history with hockey started in 2008, when Snider was first introduced to my family. At the time, hockey was just my third sport,behind baseball and soccer, until I had a hockey stick in my hand. Ever since then, it has been ice hockey all the way.

How did you get involved with Snider?

I was introduced to Snider originally through a school initiative, and joined the program shortly after with my older brothers at the Flyers SkateZone in Pennsauken. Unknowingly at the time, me and my family were becoming lifetime members of an incredible organization that was just beginning.

Were there any coaches that inspired you to coach today?

Throughout the stages of my life, I have had many coaches inspire me. As a young player, the coaches I had built my eternal love for the game. As a high schooler and young adult, coaches became mentors, as I spent time in groups led by Gil Schaffer, learning how to not only become a better player, but to also become a leader among my peers and use these leadership skills to navigate my adult/professional life after high school. I gladly credit Coach Gil for teaching me the skills needed to coach, while constantly encouraging me to take the coaching role.

What is your favorite part about coaching?

One of my favorite parts of being a coach is knowing I am a part of something bigger than myself.  As I actively help in guiding and building the stories of Snider students, I can only think back to myself as a player, and the difference Snider has made in my life.

Talk about a success story you’ve had while coaching a student-athlete.

I have many success stories as a coach working with student-athletes, the most memorable stories would be getting to help a player learn to skate for the first time, and over the course of the first hour their tears turn to smiles and I am able to see the excitement I had when I first started. Another thing that I count as a success is when older players ask for my advice on a variety of subjects such as my experiences with different opportunities through Snider, looking and applying to colleges, and getting a first job. These conversations are the same ones I was able to have with my mentors of Snider just a few years ago.

Do you have any specific coaching mantra or philosophy that you try to follow?

There are a lot of good philosophies and mantras to live by as a coach and role model to young athletes and students. The most important thing that I keep in mind is that a very small fraction of my impact is made during practice and the rest is made off the ice. From being the first greeting face as families walk into the rink, to conversations while helping with equipment and always listening to how school days went is just a portion of the invisible impact you make in someone’s life. Besides that, I just make sure to keep everything fun, since at the end of the day, if an athlete is not having fun and does not enjoy being around the rink, my job has not been done properly.

What advice do you have for a coach just starting out?

As a coach starting out, do not be afraid to use your resources. You are surrounded by an endless supply of experience and knowledge by your fellow coaches. As I first started coaching, I struggled to find my own voice as a leader. From accepting feedback and asking for help from more experienced coaches, I was able to quickly develop my own style while also helping younger coaches with theirs. Just like anything else, you will get back what you put into it. The efforts you put into being a good coach and positive role model pays off when you get to witness players achieve things you helped them reach.

What is your favorite memory as a coach at Snider?

As of recently, one of my favorite coaching memories would be helping to bring a Snider team to the Flyers Alumni game, to play Mites on Ice. It was not only exciting to watch a group get to play in front of thousands of spectators, but also to be a part of a memory that those players and their families will get to cherish.