How coaches, players and parents should all approach this time of year.
Communication is key.
That’s the message coaches need to know heading into evaluations these coming weeks.
From sharing important deadlines, to the selection procedure to session plans, being open and transparent can help ease the evaluation process for all parties.
There’s no doubt evaluations can be stressful for everyone involved. Players feel the pressure to perform at their best in a short amount of time, parents want to be able to plan for next season and coaches want to pick a roster that fits their vision.
“The most important thing about evaluations is communication,” said Ian Taylor on Breakaway, the Minor Hockey Podcast. “So people know what’s expected, they know what’s coming, they know when you’re making selections on a certain day, or even what you’re looking at during specific sessions.”
Coaches can even meet with the parent group beforehand to answer any questions and outline the expectations. This keeps everyone on the same page heading into these important skates.
The process can begin at the conclusion of the previous season. Coaches should have an exit interview with their players, outlining the positives of the year, what skills they can still work on during the off-season and what to expect during Evaluations.
If players choose to work on their skills during the summer, Taylor suggests focusing on individual skill development.
“It’s the skills that you don’t have enough opportunity to work on during the season. Your team is focusing on team skills, for example. I think (the off-season) is the window to offer that.”
Players who want to improve and develop should ensure they are also maintaining the balance of keeping their passion and excitement to stay in the game and wanting to come back in September.
Whether it’s formally organized or pickup in your neighbourhood, there is also the option of playing other sports in the off-season. It’s been proven that multi-sport athletes see the benefits of transferrable skills from one activity to another, something that could surprise players once they hit the ice again in the new season.
Breakaway, The Minor Hockey Podcast