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.
Hockey Canada has created the National Skills Standards and Testing (NSST) program for minor hockey aged players with the goal of measuring and providing individual feedback throughout an entire season. The program ensures that skill development should be fun, challenging and accessible to all players. This program allows coaches to foster the development of the fundamental skills required to play the game by measuring and providing positive individual feedback on skill development.
A series of six (6) individual skill tests for players and three (3) for Goaltenders have been designed to measure the skill level of players. These tests can be administered by team coaches requiring very little equipment, expense and set up time.
It is recommended that players be tested three times per season. Testing two or three times in a season will help to establish performance levels and demonstrate the amount of improvement that takes place.
If testing were to take place three times throughout the season, the best times would be: