Robbie Massimi has been on skates for almost 20 years.
When you consider the fact that he’s only 21 years old now, that’s quite a statement.
A native of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Robbie’s dad had him on the ice almost as soon as he could walk, kicking off a life-long love of hockey that saw him play goaltender for organizations including the New Jersey Colonials, Ramapo Saints, and Montclair Blues, before making the varsity squad at The Harvey School as an 8th grader.
Developing an interest in coaching as a 15 year old, Robbie has been mentoring young players and working with organizations such as Erik Nates Euro Hockey ever since. Today, he’s in his third year as a coach with the Ramapo Saints organization.
What first attracted you to PowerPlayer? Maybe it’s because I was a goaltender, but I guess I’m kind of a data guy at heart. Even as a young kid, I loved stats and numbers. I always tracked shots on goal myself to make sure they were accurate. PowerPlayer provides a super easy way for me to show my kids — and their parents — exactly how much they’re improving in virtually every aspect of hockey through the kind of data I can only wish I’d had as a kid. It’s just so organized and simple to use, it makes meaningful communication with my players so easy.
How are you integrating PowerPlayer into your program? Well, I pretty much use it for everything. 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. Kids are visual learners, so I love that I can send my kids videos or diagrams for drills that help them understand what we’re going to work on in practice. We have very limited ice time, so that really cuts down on the amount of time we need to spend explaining things, and maximizes the amount of actual on-ice hockey movement my kids get.
What’s been the reaction to PowerPlayer from your players and parents? The kids love it. Now that they’ve seen some data, they keep bugging me to do more PowerPlayer stuff. They’re totally engaged in it, and using the information to try to get better. For example, when I’ve posted comments about things like keeping their heads up or whatever, more than one player has asked me in person to help them understand what to do the next time I see them. Even the quiet kids are asking questions, and I’ve seen kids religiously checking their PowerPlayer scores right at the rink. So they really pay attention, and they care about the stuff we’re communicating to them.
Parents are also 100% engaged. As soon as I presented the concept to them pre-season they were 100% in favor, and they all jumped in to get their kids PowerPlayer accounts set up right away. Parents have told me how awesome it is to have their kids actually know what they’re going to do at the next practice, to see a rating and comment that tells them what we’re looking for them to focus on, or a video that helps them better understand a concept or drill or whatever. I’ve even sent video late at night, and at the next practice had a parent come up to me and tell me their kid watched it at breakfast!
What do you feel PowerPlayer does for you as a coach? As a coach, I always want to be organized and communicative, and PowerPlayer is a huge help with that. Besides helping me with ice time and building better relationships with my players and parents, it’s is almost like a coaching journal for me. It helps me actually focus on and basically record things I’m seeing in my kids — their intangibles as well as their physical capabilities like skating and puck skills. And I love having the ability to send individual messages — especially encouraging stuff — so the kids will take the instructional comments along with that positive feedback and just run with it.
Have you seen improvements in your players as a result of the feedback you’re giving them? Absolutely. Kids know they’re improving because they can actually see it. And, maybe more importantly, the kids (and parents) know that the coaches are actually watching them. We’re already seeing a paradigm shift with players changing their behavior based on the feedback. We’ve even seen stronger back checking!
Like any group of developing players, we have kids who lead in our team’s PowerPlayer scores in a few categories, but we’ve also noticed (and they have too!) that they’re not leading in all of them. We’ve run a dryland combine for fitness, and we’re focusing on intangibles like listening skills and effort in practice, and that lets the kids know how much that stuff matters. There’s a lot more to hockey than just being a good skater. For example: some of our kids have never ice skated before this season, they’re roller hockey players, so it’s taking some time for the adjustment. But one of those kids scored the team highest on a PowerPlayer puck skills drill!
And we’ve noticed that some less skilled players are leading the team in intangibles ratings, because they’re always working super hard in games and practices. Their scores in those areas let them know we see their effort and that we value it. Their skills will improve so much faster because of that.
These kids are all super competitive and they all want to find out exactly what they need to do to be better. So the kids are definitely paying attention. Because they can see their own scores relative to the team average, team high, and team low score, they have a better idea what they need to do. And by looking at PowerPlayer data, as coaches we can focus on teaching skills that individual players need. We’re sure to keep it fun too, by giving them positive feedback along with the constructive stuff.
Any other thoughts you’d like to share? When I think about it, I’ve really only had one or two good coaches in my career — coaches who took the time to get to know me and talk to me as an individual, and to teach me the things that I personally needed to learn. PowerPlayer lets me do that for every single one of my players.
I think that makes kids feel respected. For a player at any age, that’s the best feeling of all.
Ramapo Saints Hockey
I want my players to know they’ve been seen and that they’re valued. That really matters—to me and to my players.Read Post
“For me, a coach’s job—a parent or teacher’s job—comes down to just two words: transmit belief. You’ve got to transmit belief, because if someone in your care believes they can succeed, well, they’ve got a much better chance of succeeding.”Read Post
Saana Koljonen knows that success in sport begins and ends inside an athlete’s head.Read Post
Feedback: Jacob Thayer / Juneau, AlaskaRead Post
Everyone we know is looking forward to safely resuming all of the activities they love. We sure as heck are! And we’re optimistic about the ‘new normal’.Read Post
The reaction from parents is most rewarding. They’re wide-eyed in amazement that we pay such close attention to their children.Read Post
“Anyone who wants to be good at something wants and needs feedback.”Read Post
Everyone involved was already following Bruce Boudreau’s advice for anyone who wants to succeed in the game of hockey — or the game of life: “If you don’t change, you don’t last.”Read Post
Brian Walsh and the Western Jr. Colonials are changing the coach-player-parent conversation for the better.Read Post
Looking for a fun new way to challenge your players, create team unity, and raise a few bucks? Look here.Read Post
The Covid 19 lockdown has been a challenge in many ways, but it’s also given us something that hockey people clearly value: time and space.Read Post
Small areas games just got huge.Read Post
Right now, we’re not Sabres or Jets or Blackhawks or Kings, we’re human beings. And we’re all on the same team.Read Post
Why not give kids and parents the same level of insight into the sport process that they get into the academic process?Read Post
Every player has personal strengths and positives that can be identified and encouraged and every player can improve somewhere if they’re given the knowledge and support they need.Read Post
If I coach the way I was coached, and my coaches were coached the way they were coached, and so on, then I’m coaching like someone from the 1800s.Read Post
There’s no question that baseball is a numbers game. So when we hear coaches and managers get excited about bringing PowerPlayer Baseball to their athletes, we know we’re onto something.Read Post
For the last 19 years, I was a competitive hockey player, so I haven’t really looked at the sport through a purely coaching lens too often. But I’ve seen a lot of coaches.Read Post
“We thought we couldn’t ask for anything more, but then the club really out-did themselves by adding PowerPlayer. We’re extremely excited that Pineville Ice House is implementing this. To me it really proves that they have the players’ best interests at heart.”Read Post
It was 92 degrees F / 33 degrees C in Toronto last weekend, so naturally hundreds of hockey coaches converged on Ryerson University to immerse themselves in three days of knowledge, insight, innovation, and storytelling at the 2019 TeamSnap Coaches Site Hockey Coaches Conference.Read Post
It must be that time of year. Hockey-centric social media is jammed with posts exhorting people to ‘do the work,’ ‘embrace the grind,’ and to be sure to take ‘no days off.’Read Post
Kids do best when they instinctively know that the adults they rely on to guide them through life are in alignment. A coach who is backed up by a parent is a more effective coach, and frequent communication goes a long way toward making that possible.Read Post
Video + PowerPlayer data and comments = power tools for coaching.Read Post
First, if you want to make your life better as a coach, focus on becoming a better communicator. PowerPlayer definitely helps with that. And second, PowerPlayer ignites kids. It just fires them up.Read Post
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
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
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