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!
But now, as Chief Technology Officer of PowerPlayer, I’m up to my eyeballs in hockey five days a week. So of course my wife and I thought it would be a good idea to go all the way and sign our six-year-old son up for hockey this year. I’d gotten some understanding of the sport during the process of developing our system with the hockey guys I work with, but I really had no idea what to expect as far as my son’s experience was concerned. Until today.
After a few months of going to the rink on Saturdays and Sundays, I’d begun to get a feel for the routine (and how all the equipment works!), but this morning during practice, my son’s hockey club gave us parents a presentation explaining all of the things the coaches are doing with our kids out there on the ice.
The methodology is USA Hockey’s American Development Model, or ADM.
They explained how kids learning the game using full-ice style games rarely touch the puck, and that in those scenarios the really little ones spend most of their time just trying to skate from one end to the other. That’s not a whole lot of fun, and hockey is supposed to be fun. To make that concept crystal clear, they showed us a pretty humorous video that featured adults trying to play hockey on oversized ice.
They went on to explain why they break the rink up into five or six sections and have the kids do a variety of exercises and drills such as playing freeze tag, skating obstacle courses, and my favorite, chariot races, where the kids take turns pulling each other around using two sticks. Simply put, the ADM is predicated on the idea that for young kids, fun contributes to the development of skating and puck skills. My son’s steady improvement coupled with the giant smile on his face when he gets off the ice confirms it’s the way to go.
So I left the rink today with a big smile on my face, too. I’m learning how to be a hockey parent from the ice up, so understanding the thinking and research that went into the ADM—and knowing that my son’s coaches and their hockey director are excited about it—made me feel even better about his adventures out there where I’ve never been. And it also made me even more confident in the future of PowerPlayer, because from this baseball guy’s side of the glass at least, the more information, feedback and understanding about my son’s progress in hockey I can get, the better.
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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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