For millions of kids, September means two things: back to school and back to the rink.
At school, they’re challenged with understanding new concepts and ideas, and with developing new interpersonal and coping skills.
At the rink, they’re challenged with understanding new concepts and ideas, and with developing new interpersonal and coping skills. But they also have the pressure of trying to develop ever greater physical capabilities.
At school, they’re assessed and informed of their progress at every step. The reasons for that are many. First, continuous assessment lets teachers and parents know if a student needs extra focus in any area. Second, it helps identify macro trends in the population so that curricula and teaching techniques can be improved. And third, continuous feedback in the form of quiz and test scores, homework grades, report cards and parent teacher conferences provides kids and their parents with insight into academic and social progress. It all helps teachers teach, helps students learn, grow and succeed, and helps parents stay informed about the people they care about most.
But when it comes to hockey, unfortunately, for most young players (and their parents), formal, continuous assessment and feedback are virtually nonexistent.
I’ve had great coaches in my life, positive people who wanted me to succeed, provided constructive feedback, offered technical know-how, and pushed me to improve while giving me the confidence to try harder after I’d failed. I remember them with respect and smiles. My kids have had great coaches in their lives too, but from time to time I’ve watched and tried to help them — without being ‘that’ hockey parent — battle through what should have been the most fun parts of their young lives.
When my 8 year-old asked me why Coach Blank only pointed out things he and his teammates did wrong, I tried my best to explain that coaches are supposed to look for things that need to be corrected. I couldn’t explain why Coach Blank always seemed angry and was almost never happy.
When my 12 year-old emerged from her locker room in tears after a one goal tournament loss in which she’d competed hard and been awarded the team’s hard hat for effort, I could barely hold back my anger when she told me that as he gave it to her, Coach Blank had told her entire team that they’d all sucked that day, but that she’d sucked the least.
When ‘feedback’ seems to come mostly in negative form — criticism, missed shifts, status demotions, punishment skating, yelling, or worse — it can be totally crushing for young athletes. And if it generates fear of making mistakes, it can lead to a downward spiral of more mistakes and more negative feedback. Can we really expect kids of 11 or 12 to just ‘know’ why they’re sitting, why they’ve been dropped down a line or taken off the powerplay if coaches don’t provide personal specifics? And we might expect older players to actively seek advice from their coaches, but we all remember how intimidating it can be to approach adults, and many kids just won’t do it.
PowerPlayer makes it easy to deliver constructive feedback directly to kids (and parents). Metrics to document capabilities. Comments and ratings to help explain where to focus. Video to illustrate what’s awesome and what needs work. No yelling. No confrontations. No guessing.
Kids don’t play hockey because they have to, they play because they want to, and they’re motivated by everything that’s awesome about the game. They want to shine. They want to be respected. They want to belong to and contribute to something bigger than themselves. They want to have fun. And some of them want to take it as far as they can.
We’re here for the coaches who know the value in telling players (and their parents) how they’re doing, and who recognize the power in praising kids for what they do well while helping them understand where and how they can improve. We’re here for parents who need visibility into their child’s athletic progress and happiness. And we’re here to help players gain knowledge and see the impact of their own efforts over time, and to help them acquire the self-awareness to make personal improvements that lead to success on and off the ice.
Want to put PowerPlayer to work for your organization, coaches, players and parents? Just let us know.
In case you haven’t noticed, we love feedback. So we asked a whole bunch of hockey parents — our users (parents of hockey players whose coaches use PowerPlayer) and non-users (hockey parents in general) — for their thoughts about feedback, as it pertains to them and their young athletes.Read Post
I recently posted an article to a Facebook group in which the author explores the highly divisive topic of ice time, arguing both for and against the idea that ‘shortening the bench’ is a net positive for young hockey players. As you might have guessed, the post generated a lot of comments.Read Post
In youth hockey, where development is (or should be) the focus, wins and losses only tell part of the story.Read Post
We’re excited about our numbers to date, because we know we can build on them. After all, that’s what long-term development is all about.Read Post
I want to do everything I can to get the kids I work with to the next level — whatever that means to them individually — and to give them every advantage possible.Read Post
If you’re coaching youth team sports, you’re coaching other people’s kids — which means you’re coaching parents too. In any successful relationship, communication is essential. The challenge in coaching, of course, is time.Read Post
As a player, I would have loved to get this kind of feedback. I always wanted to be first, to be the best. But how could I know what my coach was thinking about me? Not every player is ready to ask their coach questions — some people are just shy — and I’m talking about players from minor hockey all the way to pro.Read Post
I flipped on the NHL Network the other day. While I usually don’t pay too much attention to the panel discussion stuff they broadcast ahead of games, this time something got my attention.
Apparently Jamie Benn was in a bit of a slump.Read Post
I love the drills and metrics for sure, and so do the kids, but seriously, the most useful thing for me personally is the ability to coach from home.Read Post
Ever notice how people just seem to operate at higher levels when they perceive the thing they’re doing to be ‘fun’? That applies to sports, study, and whatever it is most of us do at our day jobs.Read Post
Kids who are positively reinforced by the people who surround them tend to be more confident, happy, and energetic, and are much more likely to succeed than those who may have similar skill sets, but who are less emotionally secure.Read Post
Anticipation is building as a new hockey season approaches. Maybe it’s the comfort of old gloves holding the promise of a new stick that does it? Maybe it’s the idea that a new season offers an opportunity to build on time-tested knowledge by applying new thinking? At PowerPlayer, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to build on what we learned in 2017-18 — our first full season offering a digital feedback platform for youth hockey.Read Post
“You can’t do player development without coach development. And that’s why it’s so important that you’re all here.” Dave Starman / NCAA Scout, Montreal Canadiens.Read Post
For the organizations and coaches who are adopting our platform, positivity isn’t some new age ‘everyone gets a trophy because kids want to be coddled’ concept. It’s a teaching and coaching technique rooted in science.Read Post
Strong personal intangibles and team chemistry have a multiplier effect on talent. Poor personal intangibles and team chemistry have a diminishing effect.Read Post
Because positivity is contagious, it generates a galvanizing force that supercharges skill sets and work ethics. That force is called confidence.Read Post
When we share feedback through PowerPlayer we know we’re sharing the beginning of a conversation that might never take place otherwise. How cool is that?Read Post
For young athletes—and by ‘young’ I mean anyone who is not an adult—the answer to ‘Which wolf wins?’ could easily be ‘The one their coach feeds.’Read Post
Today more than ever, one of the biggest decisions a coach can make is how they choose to communicate with their players.Read Post
For millions of kids, parents and coaches, the season is winding down. And all over the hockey world, the thought of a standard one-on-one, end of season coach/player/parent meeting is a stress-inducing prospect for many on both sides of the table.Read Post
I think we need parents to be part of the teams we’re coaching. If parents understand what I’m seeing in their child and can help me motivate them or address something that needs to be addressed, that’s hugely beneficial to their child, to me, and to the team.Read Post
Consisting of three parts, the formula involves providing feedback to young athletes at every stage of the development process as a way to help build their confidence.Read Post
“When you throw the ball, three things can happen and two of them are bad. But you’ve still got to throw the ball.”Read Post
“We’re seeing huge improvements in our kids now and we’re excited to roll PowerPlayer out to more and more of our players in a big way in 2018.”Read Post
“PowerPlayer really helps bring clarity to coaching, and I’m a big believer in communicating with players.”Read Post
“We wouldn’t accept a teacher telling us that our child had failed a grade at the end of the year without any warning or aid in helping them succeed, so why would we allow our players to go through a season without continuous feedback?”Read Post
We’ve shared PowerPlayer with countless coaches, hockey directors, and parents, and we’re working with organizations from Anchorage to Philadelphia, from Syracuse to Sweden. No one has told us they think providing meaningful feedback to kids and their parents is a bad idea.Read Post
“The coach-player-parent dynamic is critical. Always tell players what you see and what to work on, because feedback is critical.” Ray Ferraro / Coaches Site Conference 2017Read Post
Team success largely depends on mutual respect, common purpose and uncommon selflessness. In other words, team success depends on intangibles.Read Post
Before your accountant became a professional accountant, before your dentist became a professional dentist, and before the leading scorer in the NHL became a professional hockey player, they were kids.Read Post
Anyone who’s ever been part of a team—either as a player or as a coach—where things have just clicked, or conversely, have never clicked at all no matter what you did, has been subject to the power of group dynamics.Read Post
For many hockey players, a tryout or showcase camp is essentially a snapshot taken from a long, long movie. It can’t tell enough of the story to be meaningful.Read Post
For coaches, a big part of the challenge is communicating in a meaningful way with kids and parents on a regular basis. We’ve adopted PowerPlayer as an organization because it provides opportunities for coaches to share comments, thoughts, video clips, ratings and real metrics with the players and their parents more frequently.Read Post
Even though I grew up in Buffalo, where winter totally rules, my sport growing up was baseball. Sure I watched the Sabres as a casual fan, but my knowledge of hockey was limited to hating Brett Hull. Google it!Read Post
If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, or maybe even if you haven’t, you might be familiar with the 10,000 hour concept, which postulates that it takes that minimum number of hours of ‘deliberate practice’ to become ‘expert’ at something. Like chess, piano, ballet. Or hockey.Read Post
Growing up with a father who’s been a highly respected member of the Rochester NY-area hockey community for more than 40 years, Chris Collins has led a hockey life.Read Post
A while back, I connected with a friend who’d spent part of his summer sitting in a hockey rink watching his 10 year-old run through some drills. And he was frustrated. Not because of what was happening on the ice during the camp, but because of what wasn’t happening.Read Post
We sat down with coach and skating / skills instructor Stan Kondrotas to get his impressions of PowerPlayer following his first season as a ‘power user.’Read Post
We just spent a couple of weekends at The Coaches Site / TeamSnap 2016 Hockey Coaches Conferences. As sponsors, we were there to introduce PowerPlayer to the coaches in attendance, but we also learned a thing or two about the state of hockey.Read Post
In 2015, a nine-year-old BC kid quit his team with two games left in the season. Seems he’d had enough of sitting on the bench game after game, crying while he watched his teammates play. Why was he denied the opportunity to play?Read Post
Essentially, our current youth hockey measurement system prioritizes games, where effort can produce wins, and virtually ignores practices, where effort can produce winners.Read Post
I grew up with sports. And, oh yeah, of course… school! One of those things was arguably more fun than the other, and the rewards they offered differed, but for any real chance of success, both required not just attention but commitment.Read Post