What Did You Learn this Year?

What did you learn this year?  That should be the question posed to a lot of hockey players at this time of year. You see it’s exit meeting time and it’s time to get real about young players growth and development. Every coach at the Provincial level should have exit meetings or some sort of end of year analysis with their players and parents. These types of meetings should be a raw and brutally honest account of the year, but they should always center around the player and their upward mobility in the game and reaching their potential.

Exit meetings should provide encouragement, motivation, constructive criticism, feedback, but most importantly potential!

Kids these days, especially young hockey players tend to get down on themselves so easily especially if they perceived they have had a tough season. Young people and players need to be lifted up. I realize there’s tons of entitlement in the game nowadays, but discussing someone’s potential is critical for their progression in the game, it’s critical for their self-concept. Obviously, transparency and the lines of communication should always be open throughout the season between coach and player so the player knows exactly where they stand. Nevertheless, the exit meeting will perhaps shed entirely new light on the growth, development and potential of the player and young person.

As scouts we talk about potential all of the time. We project, that’s the job, but very seldom do we ever have a chance to talk with the player and their family and tell firsthand what we believe or the potential we see in them. The only opportunity we have to do that is on draft day when it comes to the junior ranks, but what about all the younger players out there that need a boost of confidence?

The world of hockey has a great way of putting players down or being overly critical. Like anything we all tend to dwell on the negatives or shortcomings a player possesses. Players hear what they have to work on, but there’s very little talk about what they are good at or their full potential.

You see it’s hard for the player to see their potential. It’s hard for them to envision where they are going to be, because they only see the present. You could say that about anyone really when it comes to potential.

I try to tell my Gr 9 students all the time that I see the potential in them even if they don’t. Like anything, a person’s full potential is often untapped because of their own perceptions of their performances or their negative self-concept as a person or in this case as a player. Everyone talks about passion and how bad they want it, but do people ever talk about potential and where the kid might be in a few seasons from now, if they continue to develop and grow on and off the ice?

I see the potential in you, even if you don’t.

It’s time that we shift the focus from negativity or what we perceive as positive constructive criticism to talking about untapped potential which in many cases will lead to an even deeper passion and love of the game their place within it.

What did you learn this year about yourself as a person and player?  Where do you want to go in the game?

I see the potential in you!

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