Hockey coaches make decisions. Lots of decisions.
Line combinations. Defensive pairings. Powerplay and penalty kill personnel. Who plays goal against who. When to roll lines and when to shorten the bench. Who’s a healthy scratch today. Who needs to work on what aspects of their game. What the team needs to focus on as a whole. What practice plan should we go with tonight. And on, and on, and on…
But today more than ever, one of the biggest decisions a coach can make is how they choose to communicate with their players.
Feedback is fuel.
At last summer’s Coaches Site Hockey Coaches Conference in Vancouver, the subject of communication with players and parents was a recurring theme. Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan talked about how he works to improve the mental and emotional state of his players, advising attendees to “teambuild every day, not just in response to adversity, because good teams are tight teams.” And he advocated providing constant feedback for players in order to “acknowledge hard work, develop the individual, and build people up.”
Great advice for players of all ages. But the positive effects of feedback extend beyond players.
NHL veteran / broadcaster Ray Ferraro pointed out that “the way coaches talk to players is more important than almost anything else.” And he stressed the fact that for young players to be successful, “the coach-player-parent dynamic is critical,” and implored coaches to “tell players what you see and what to work on, because feedback is critical.”
PES + feedback = power.
PowerPlayer is a feedback system built around a Performance Evaluation System or PES. Designed with the help of advisors from all levels of hockey, PowerPlayer enables coaches to quickly and efficiently collect comparable, standardized performance metrics, provide evaluation ratings across a range of standardized dimensions, and offer instructional comments and video to help guide player improvement.
PowerPlayer data creates a comprehensive picture that an athlete can use to understand where they stand and what they might need to work on. But when it comes to potentially contentious issues like ice time and special teams play, it also helps make parents part of the solution.
Junior, college, and pro coaches who provide feedback to their players help them understand their strengths and challenges, give players a better understanding of their decisions, and give them direction for potential improvement. But when youth coaches provide feedback that’s visible to not only players but also to their parents, the effect is even more impactful.
Empower your whole team.
In an article posted on Psychology Today, author Frank Smoll, Ph.D., a sport psychologist at the University of Washington, explained the benefits that come from use of a PES in coaching youth athletes.
He explained that a PES is “a tremendous goal-setting / motivation tool for athletes because it provides them with objective feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. It allows a coach to say, “Here are the areas that you’ve got to work on. When you see your grades go up in this area, you’re going to see more playing time.”
“Second, the carry-over benefit with parents is that it takes the coach out of the position of being an arbitrary designator of playing time. A coach can say, “Here’s the basis of my assessment, and here’s where I’m coming from.” In a very objective way, coaches can review athletes’ abilities with parents.”
By delivering metrics, ratings, and comments directly to players and their parents, PowerPlayer helps get everyone on the same page, so they can all help kids improve specific aspects of their game, enhance their skills, and achieve their goals. For coaches, kids, and parents, that’s a win-win-win.
If you want to get PowerPlayer into your game, make an easy decision and give us a buzz.
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
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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
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
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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
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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
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
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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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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