Talk it up.

12.07.18
Dave Mason

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.