What Are They Doing Wrong?

Coaches, parents and teachers alike are quick to correct, but are they as quick to praise?

Of course not. We are all guilty of it.

Obviously, we don’t want to ignore a behaviour or a mistake, but when it comes providing feedback we have to be consciously aware that they are just kids. Words can be powerful and impactful both positively and negatively.

In this day and age within the game of hockey why are we so focused on the negative aspects of a player’s performance?

With video reinforcement coaches have an opportunity to praise and showcase all the positive attributes a player has to offer, but in many cases that never happens. It’s all about correcting the players deficiencies, it’s all about focusing on what’s wrong.

I guess the million-dollar question is how important is positive reinforcement and do today’s athletes respond to that philosophy better to than athletes in the past with regards to negative reinforcement?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

People always talk about how young players have to earn the trust of the coach. More often then not, it’s the coach that has to trust their players. Coaches have their players best interest in mind when they constantly correct mistakes, but at what cost?

What’s more important winning, developing or trusting all of your players and setting them up for success?

Organizations draft players because they see something in the player. Then they try to develop and mold that player, that’s what it’s all about, but at what cost?

There’s one variable in all of this that can’t be ignored. In my opinion, it’s all about setting the player up for success, observing how they handle their role and then communicating that and working on developing the player in all facets of their game. It all starts with trust, but in many ways trust equals confidence.

The one variable that can’t be ignored in all of this is the players confidence and we all know how important that can be in any sporting venture and the grand scheme of life.

Nowadays people are driven to know what’s wrong and how they can fix it rather than looking big picture and focusing on the good things while putting the work in on the few minor changes or adjustments that have to be made to improve the players overall performance.

The finite focus on the negative aspects of a player’s game and style of play might be meant to increase performance and progression, but in many cases, it’s having the reverse effect.

I will never forget one player development coach’s perspective on confidence. “The players hand me their confidence and work with it and hand it back to them in a better place.”

Confidence is everything when it comes to any sport, but especially the game of the hockey. The intention to correct and improve the players chances to play at the next level should be any organizations main objective.

Dissecting a player’s performance should never tear down their confidence. What they are doing wrong should never be, the be all end all of a player’s development.

The environment and culture of any organization’s developmental process is ultimately the pivot point for individual and team success.

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