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The Six Areas of Focus in Player Evaluations

By TeamGenius, 09/19/20, 9:45AM EDT


Evaluations should form groups that maintain balanced competitive play

Photo Credit: Picture Day Photography

As we move through stages of return to play, associations and coaches will be challenged to ensure players are grouped with other players of similar skill level. In most cases, player evaluation can be the most effective way of identifying groups of like skilled players.  

Evaluations should be used as a tool for associations and coaches to group players but also to create a development framework based on the individual skills of the players. The goal of all evaluations should be to form groups of players that maintain balanced competitive play in an environment where players can develop and have fun during the hockey season. 

There are many drills and resources available to coaches that can assist them with player evaluations. It’s up to each association and coach to determine how they want to evaluate players. The same tools used during the evaluation process can be used throughout the hockey season to track successful growth and development of athletes.   

Some of the key areas to focus on when evaluating players include; skating, passing, puck control, shooting and positional play. The following should be used as a guideline for evaluation each skill:

SKATING - Speed, quickness, technique

  • Ability to skate forward and backward
  • Can the player turn in both directions
  • Can the player stop in both directions
  • Are they in a good position for stability and strength

PASSING – technique, control, vision

  • Forehand and backhand passing
  • Passing to a moving and stationary target
  • Vision – does the player take a look and select the best option
  • Advanced passing – board passes, chips, saucer passes
  • Presents a good target, receives and retains with control

PUCK CONTROL – technique, open ice, confined space

  • Open carry with speed
  • Execute dekes and fakes in 1-on-1 situations
  • Can the player handle the puck in traffic and in tight space
  • Is the player ability to maintain control while being checked

SHOOTING – technique, accuracy, velocity

  • Forehand and backhand shots
  • Wrist shot, snap shot, slap shot
  • Velocity
  • Accuracy
  • Shot selection – does the player select the best shot for the opportunity?

Photo Credit: Heather Pollock Photography

POSITIONAL PLAY – principles of offence and defence

  • Player supports the puck on the defensive and offensive side of the puck
  • Player communicates with teammates
  • Players has the ability to read and react

GOALTENDING – technique, positioning, mobility

  • Basic skating skills
  • Position-specific movement skills
  • Positional/save movement skills
  • Rebound – control/recovery/tactical
  • Transitional play
  • Advanced positioning

There are a number of player evaluation drills and resources to support coaches and also ensure proper physical distancing while on the ice. Examples of these can be found through the Hockey Canada Return to Hockey Player Evaluation document and the Hockey Canada Network App.


TeamGenius is the leading hockey evaluation software provider for minor hockey associations. Founded in 2015, TeamGenius serves thousands of youth athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers with an easy-to-use platform for managing tryouts, clinics, coach & player development programs. TeamGenius is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Click here for more information.

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