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.
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