Creating Positive Learning Environments, with Kalle Väliaho

“If it’s fun to go where the coach is, you’re able to get your message through."

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In episode #230 of the Glass and Out Podcast, Kalle Väliaho, Director of Development for the IIHF, stops by.

Väliaho has a fascinating role that encompasses balancing having a pulse on the latest trends in the game, specifically when it comes to individual player development, in addition to how we design learning environments that engage with young players and foster the growth of the game. 

Listen as he shares the importance of having passionate people to grow the game, building positive learning environments for players, and how Finland has grown into one of the top nations in hockey.


  • 1:30 Evaluating the health of hockey
  • 2:45 The game growing in Asia and South America
  • 4:30 How to encourage the growth of hockey worldwide
  • 6:30 Key things coaches learn at clinics
  • 9:00 Rules for including fun in youth practice
  • 12:10 On the correct amount of drills for kids
  • 15:30 Go to drills/games at learn to play level
  • 18:15 His role with the IIHF
  • 22:10 Learning at Vierumäki
  • 24:30 Ambitions early in coaching career
  • 28:00 How long it takes for a country to be competitive at hockey
  • 33:00 His role of adapting/changing the culture of new hockey countries
  • 37:00 The Finnish coaching and development system
  • 40:00 Keys for youth hockey that lead to success in Finnish National team
  • 44:50 Learning from other sports leaders
  • 46:00 Goals for this season
  • 49:20 Evaluating if his season was a success
  • 52:30 Experience coaching in Aspen, Colorado with USA Hockey
  • 59:30 Predicting countries for 2050 World Championships
  • 1:02:00 Tips for all coaches

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