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Why Player Evaluations Are The Foundation of Improvement

By Dan Pollard, 04/22/20, 11:15AM EDT


A method of measuring success beyond wins

Photo Credit: Heather Pollock Photography

All players, parents and coaches can agree that setting achievable goals is important to the overall success of the season. Often times those goals focus on winning a certain amount of games or making it to a certain round of the playoffs but at the minor hockey level, the focus should always be on player development and celebrating skill achievement. Having a method of measuring success beyond wins and losses is an important tool for each team.

Player evaluations can be one of the toughest parts of a coach’s job but one of the most important. It involves constant monitoring throughout the season and appropriately setting benchmarks and goals. Without proper maintenance during the year it leaves both the players and coaches unaware of where they can make improvements to their game. 

Often when we think of evaluations it is how a player stacks up against one of their peers. Evaluations should be individual based without any aspect of comparison. It is a tool used to track improvements and progress and provide feedback to players.

“As an Association, because it’s being tracked, all those scores are being kept and they can be compared,” said Aaron Wilbur, founder of The Coaches Site. “You can look back at the end of the year and say ‘you know what, we did a lot of great things this year but we’ve got to improve on our passing skills. So maybe that means we need to go talk to an expert and get some information that we can share with all of our coaches to ensure that we’ve improving in that area.’”

With consistency throughout the evaluation process, players will know what they need to work on and coaches can share their focus areas with the team. This benefits all parties – evaluations are one of the only ways that players can receive any type of feedback during the season. There are not many other opportunities for players to know what areas of their game they can improve on.

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Dan Pollard is the host of Breakaway, The Minor Hockey Podcast. His passion for hockey led him to volunteer as a coach and administrator while his professional career has allowed him to cover the game at various levels with CBC, Sportsnet, the NHL Network and TSN. You can currently hear Dan every morning on 105.5 Hits FM in Uxbridge.

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