We’ve all read or heard about ‘sports parents’ — more specifically those intense / helicopter sports parents. In the hockey world there are countless anecdotes that detail how some mom or dad relentlessly emailed, called, texted, or otherwise pursued a coach about their kid’s ice time, special teams opportunities, line assignment, or whatever. Extreme examples abound, and if you read enough comment boards, you might assume that parent-coach interactions are basically thought of by coaches as problematic and to be avoided.
If you’re a parent, maybe you’ve experienced the effects of that kind of thinking?
When one of my kids was maybe 11 or 12, what I’d consider to be an over-the-top intense coach told all of us parents at a post-tryout, pre-season meeting that he’d be communicating only with our kids, not with us. Say what?
By instituting that ‘no talking with parents’ rule, I’m sure that coach felt he’d be helping our kids to ‘grow up’, advocate for themselves, learn tough life lessons, etc. Really?
Setting aside the somewhat questionable judgement behind intentionally excluding parents from a non-parent adult-minor relationship, it takes a pretty special kid to confront and self-advocate with an authority figure who has absolute power over their participation in an activity they love. And what parent who sees their child become frustrated or down about something they know that kid absolutely loves isn’t going to wonder what’s going on, and then try to fix the problem? Imagine a sixth or seventh grade teacher adopting a ‘no communicating with parents’ policy and it’s easy to understand why that approach might not go over too well with some people.
The reality is, 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, of course, is time.
Coaching from the couch.
Given the time constraints in most sports — but, it seems, especially in hockey — communicating meaningful information one-on-one to players happens infrequently. Communicating meaningful information one-on-one to parents happens way less than infrequently.
We created PowerPlayer to make it quick and easy for coaches to provide meaningful and helpful information privately to players, and for that information to be automatically made available to their parents. Whether you’re coaching a team for an entire season, or are working with kids in a camp or skills clinic scenario, PowerPlayer removes the time constraints around providing feedback. No need to take up valuable ice time or hang around the rink when you can effectively coach from your couch.
PowerPlayer offers coaches the ability to provide both quantitative (measurable) and qualitative (subjective) data that helps players and their parents gain a realistic understanding of personal strengths and challenges, and of their capabilities relative to an anonymized peer group such as their own team. It’s also designed to make it easy to deliver instructional or motivational feedback via comments, video, attachments like PDFs, or links.
PowerPlayer feedback doesn’t just help players improve. It shines a light into the coach-player relationship, allowing parents to actually see what’s going on between the kids they love and the adults they’ve entrusted them to. That helps build that all-important level of trust and eliminates the dreaded coach-player-parent Bermuda triangle of silence. Nothing good ever happens in there.
We created PowerPlayer because we love our kids, and we love the game. We’d love to help make playing, coaching, and parenting in youth hockey a better experience for everyone.
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
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
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Apparently Jamie Benn was in a bit of a slump.Read Post
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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
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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
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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
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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
For millions of kids (and their parents), September means two things: back to school and back to the rink.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