A hockey skating / skills instructor and coach for more than 30 years, Simcoe, Ontario-based Stan Kondrotas is an early adopter of PowerPlayer.
With a technical background in figure skating, Stan has worked with thousands of young hockey players to help them hone their skating technique, and countless students of his Power Skating 101 program and PS101 Prospects spring teams have been drafted to the OHL and NHL, most recently Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames. Stan has served as a skating instructor for organizations including the Barrie Colts AAA, NCOP AAA, BMHA, IMHA and NMRA Ringette, and as a coach with, among others, the OMHA Champion Barrie Colts Bantam AAA 2014-15, Barrie Colts Major Bantam AAA 2015-16, and Midland Flyers Jr. C 2015-16. Stan will serve as head coach of the Caledon Golden Hawks Jr C club in the upcoming 2016-17 season.
We sat down with Stan to get his impressions of PowerPlayer following his first season as a ‘power user’ with the Barrie Colts Major Bantam AAA team.
You and your fellow coaches were heavy users of PowerPlayer this past season. Why? As a development instructor I saw great promise in this tool right from the start. It allowed us to track the progress of each player’s development and showed us areas that needed to be worked on as a team. The Game Play data allowed us to address key aspects of individual performances, make comments and try to help players improve specific parts of their games.
How much time do you think you personally spent inputting PowerPlayer data on your players over the course of the past season? We relied heavily on Game Play ratings. I’d estimate that I spent about 40 to 45 minutes inputting information for each of 33 individual games. Couple that with on-ice and off-ice metrics sessions and I’d have to guess I personally spent about 40 hours inputting data over the course of the season. That works out to maybe 60 to 90 minutes per week depending on our game schedule.
Was the effort worth it? Absolutely yes! Looking back now I actually wish we had collected more data, especially on fitness and skating.
What aspects of the system were most important to you as a coach at the Major Bantam AAA level? The Game Play category was significant for me. I was able to see how individual players performed from game to game to see improvement and growth. It also made me more clearly aware of the areas each player needed to work on in practice to improve.
What do you see as the main benefits of the system for coaches? Coaches can clearly measure and see a player’s development in all aspects — fitness, skating and puck skills, and game play. The system reveals physical, skill and hockey sense growth — or lack of it — and shows the commitment and coachability level of each player.
What do you see as the main benefits of the system for your players and their parents? The players get to see where they stand. They can clearly see which areas of their skill sets and intangibles need improvement, and they learn through Game Play ratings and coaches comments which aspects of their game they are doing well in and which ones they have to focus on. And the personalized video feature actually shows players exactly what a coach is seeing and commenting on. Parents get to see exactly where their player is development-wise, and they can understand what aspects coaches are trying to help their child improve through the metrics and ratings, video and comments.
What were the biggest surprises when you and your fellow coaches viewed your team’s PowerPlayer data? One of the biggest surprises to me was seeing the results of the skating metrics for a few players who I guessed would have done better. Reviewing those metrics in light of some of the game play ratings clearly showed us areas needing improvement.
How can you see PowerPlayer data impacting player development in the future? I can see PowerPlayer impacting serious players in a big way. The data will help them to understand their own progress and, through the video, actually see what needs to be done to improve. That should be self-motivating for them. PowerPlayer data will also help a team’s coaches assess players based on their prior year, to see just how much a player might have moved up or down the chart.
What’s the biggest value in PowerPlayer data from your perspective as a coach? From a coaching perspective, the biggest thing about the system is the ability to show the players and their parents where they stand, so they have a factual guideline as to what needs to be done to improve.
Any other comments? Looking at our team and player’s PowerPlayer reports now, after the end of the season, my only thought is I wish we had collected more data! The value of seeing how they did over time based on the collective input of multiple coaches is huge and only confirms my initial thoughts. I see PowerPlayer as the future of serious player development. It’ll help everyone from players and parents to coaches and organizations.
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
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
For millions of kids (and their parents), September means two things: back to school and back to the rink.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