Maybe you saw the article?
In the spring of 2015, a nine-year-old British Columbia kid quit his hockey 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? No one knows.
Apparently his coach never told him. Never explained ‘why’. Never told him what he needed to focus on or try harder at. Never even spoke to his parents. Nothing. In other words, his ‘coach’ was not a coach at all.
The most successful coaches in hockey share a number of traits. They know the game, of course, and they know how to teach its mechanics, strategies and tactics. But they also know how to communicate. Because without great communication it’s really not possible to be a great teacher, motivator, or mentor.
Constructive or corrective feedback is how we learn. It’s how our parents helped us get from googoo gaga to language fluency, how our teachers helped us get from one plus one to quantum physics (well, some of us anyway). In all aspects of life, it’s feedback that lets us know where we stand, and what we might need to do in order to progress to the place we want to be.
Athletes at all levels need constructive feedback from the people they look to for advice and counsel on how to improve, but young athletes need it most of all. And beyond the technical and physical aspects of skating, puck handling or positional play, youth hockey coaches are teaching young athletes what it means to try, fail, and try again. They’re teaching them what it means to be a teammate, to compete with pride, character, energy and honor, and to work as part of a collective unit toward a common goal. That’s powerful stuff in the right hands.
The coach-parent relationship magnifies the need for transparency and forthright communication. All parents have a need and a right to know what’s going on between their children and the adults to whom they entrust their development and wellbeing. Teachers, doctors and other professionals who interact with children provide a continuous flow of transparent and open communication. They have the tools and systems in place to make that happen. Now hockey coaches do too.
PowerPlayer makes providing constructive feedback to players — and parents — easy.
By quickly and intuitively capturing quantitative and qualitative data, video and comments, the system enables coaches to focus on and communicate instructions and feedback to each player individually, giving athletes the knowledge and sense of connection they need and providing parents with a clear understanding of coach / child interaction. Coaches who can get young athletes and their parents on the same page (or iPad screen) as themselves create trust and understanding, the foundation for solid team building.
As four time University Cup winner and four time AUS Coach of the Year Gardiner MacDougall of the University of New Brunswick reminded the audience at a recent hockey coaches clinic, “We can talk tactics forever. To be great coaches, we have to be great communicators.”
So let’s talk.
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.
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“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
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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
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
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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
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
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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
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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