So That’s Development?

Now more than ever player development is at the forefront of the game of hockey and rightfully so.

As we all know player development is everything, without it you really have nothing.

Like everything else in the game, everyone has their opinion or perspective in the definition and delivery of “player development.”

From video reinforcement, to skills delivery, to the mental side of the game and performance, player development falls under a wide range of aspects of the game.

In many cases “player development” it’s falling short.

Can hockey’s new buzz word being falling short when so many people are proclaiming to deliver and be experts in the area?

You see more and more coaches and outside agencies are promoting player development, that’s their mission statement, that’s their ultimate selling point, but are they really delivering on their promises?

What does their development model really look like?

“Oh well development takes time, we won’t know if our strategies are working until the end of the season or on draft day.”

Quite honestly that take is bull shit.

The real question that should be asked is, are these young players getting better every day?

We all know that every player and person develops at their own unique time and pace.

You can say you’re all about player development, but have you legitimately sat down with the player and looked at the tape?

One would assume coaches all over the hockey world would be reviewing and breaking down game tape with individual players on a weekly basis. One would assume that with coaching staffs that consist of four or five coaches that each coach would be assigned to three players to do just that.

Well as everyone knows when you assume something it makes an ass out of you and me. (Ass/u/me)

Everyone assumes that player development is top priority and that it’s happening across the board, but clearly it’s not.

With all the video and all the expensive programs being purchased, one could say some coaches and programs are falling way short.

Sure they might have some team video sessions, but are coaches sitting down one on one with players and providing positive and constructive feedback and reinforcement?

Wouldn’t that be the best form of development?

Countless organizations and leagues now have InStat, which is

a wonderful tool that’s extremely valuable when used properly.

I realize coaches are doing the best they can, I realize they have lives outside of the rink, but what’s stopping them from sitting a player down and watching 15 mins of their shifts on InStat after each practice?

Most teams practice three times a week. Let’s say each coach is assigned to three players and they watch shifts and feedback is provided and then reinforced in game and practice scenarios. Wouldn’t that be the best form of development, especially given the percentage of players that are visual learners today.

Wouldn’t that be the best bang for a teams buck, if they used InStat in that manner?

You can make all the excuses in the world to why this type of “development” isn’t happening, but if a program is bragging about their development and draft history success, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to sit down with every player at least once a week and provide them quality analysis and feedback?

Isn’t that teaching? I

Isn’t that the coaches job in the first place, to teach?

Again you can make excuses that “players these days don’t have the attention span” or “even if we show it to them they still won’t get it” or you can step up and change the mindset and change the way one teaches and coaches the game.

One would argue if the coach asks quality questions like, “what was going through your mind when that happened,” wouldn’t that improve their coaching strategies and approach to better understand the player and person?

I guess it all comes back to the definition and delivery of what each coach or organization calls “player development”

You can have all the technology and bells and whistles in the world, and you can talk a big game with development and past successes, but you can’t pull the wool over people’s or players eyes when it comes to true development.

Are young players getting better while they wear your team’s logo?

Are you developing players for the next level?

Are you teaching players how to think the game and read and react to different situations within it?

Are you meeting with players consistently on one on one basis to discuss their development and progress?

Are your players enjoying the game?

Do your players feel challenged and do they enjoy practice?

What do your practices look like, are they designed for the team success or individual skill development?

Are you as a coach and organization approachable when it comes to young draft eligible players and their families to discuss their progress and development?

How often do you meet with players to discuss expectations and pressures that come with their draft year?

I realize coaches and organizations are dealing with a lot of different variables when it comes to “today’s player” but perhaps if they reinvented their delivery model and emphasized development in practice as much as they outwardly talk about or promote it perhaps they wouldn’t have as many issues or variables arise.

Is it about development or winning?

Isn’t that the biggest question of them all these days?

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