Highlight Reels, Scouting and Recruitment

When a trusted, well respected, coach, hockey lifer and mentor posts something on social media I tend to listen. It really doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree one should still listen because that’s how we grow, develop and learn.

Two days ago, longtime goaltending coach, John Alexander posted an incredibly important message especially given the circumstances surrounding the game. His post was specifically geared towards netminders, but it can apply to other players as well.

Here is his post:

“Just saw a highlight video of a goaltender which showed a continuous reel of him making saves (mostly routine). I’m a goaltending coach/scout/recruiter, don’t waste my time.”

I want to see goals to. I want to see how goals go in, why they go in. I want to see you get beat on the 2nd rebound & understand why you gave up the first rebound. I want to see your reaction to getting deked out of your socks. DON’T WASTE MY TIME. (and yours)”

In my opinion Alexander’s take on this aspect of the game is bang on.

John Alexander makes posts on social media to educate, to draw attention to certain aspects of the game that many overlook. Alexander posts things to help bring attention to the culture of the game and culture of the position in hopes of potentially changing it for the better.

You see that’s why there is value when certain people post, talk or discuss the game on social media.

I wrote something in May of last year on the very topic of highlight reels, called “Showcase and Promoting”

With so much uncertainty given COVID restrictions and the lack of game play over the last two years, countless people have taken the promotional side of the game into their own hands. In this day and age, it seems like everyone has a highlight reel. Like anything in the game some have taken it to the extreme. Numerous times over the past two years I’ve had several people reach out asking me about how to and what to look for when building a recruitment tape. Obviously, with all the technology that’s involved within the game especially with so many games being livestreamed and uploaded on InStat every coach or program should accurately drill down on a player.

“A video doesn’t lie” mentality is essential for accurate player assessment, projection and trajectory when it comes to goaltending or any position, but it just can’t be a highlight reel. Clearly every coach, scout or recruiter will always trust the eye test or multiple eye tests. That’s where programs like InStat are so beneficial because it’s a one stop shop on individual player performance.

Sadly, as I wrote late in 2021, video reinforcement isn’t being conducted near enough and it’s really hurting player development. You see Alexander’s main point in all of this isn’t that doesn’t believe in video, he wants to see it all. The good, the bad and the ugly to provide a valid depiction of a netminders full compliment. The same approach should be taken and followed for any position.

From a scouting perspective, I want to see what the player does away from the puck, how they forecheck, how they track back to their own zone, how they play on the half boards, how they defend, how they go back to the bench. It’s the little things that I’m interested in. Of course, the flash and dash players get all of the attention. To each their own when it comes to the scouting and recruiting process, but what’s the best way for players to get noticed? That’s what parents of any up and coming aspiring player is asking these days.

You see, there’s a big difference between showcasing and promoting.

There’s a big difference between purely scouting a player to rank them or scouting them to draft or recruit them.

We always have to be mindful of how we approach the process of scouting, drafting and recruiting.

A “surface area” approach will only end in disappointment and confusion for everyone involved. Highlight reels are just that, highlight reels, they don’t always tell the full story.

InStat provides the full package when it comes to breaking down player performance, but it’s still not as valuable as the eye test.

Hockey parents just want the best for their child. Scouts just want to project players they think can excel at the next level and draft them. Recruiters just want the best players down the road.

Everyone is searching for the same thing; they just go about it differently.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the player, their skill, the intangibles they possess and opportunity.

Let’s not lose sight of showcasing and promoting the right aspects in the game.

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