The biggest problem in Competitive Minor Hockey is the fact that the majority of the kids (95%+) go through their development years from PeeWee AAA to Midget AAA and never reach their potential. These players do not develop their skill level to be able to advance and play at the next level. The sad thing is some of these players had the potential to play at the next level had they received one on one mentor coaching assistance from a former player who could help them learn important skills.
This problem is not going to get fixed quickly because the parents, coaches and players out there in the youth development system don’t recognize the problem. This has been going on for years in competitive minor hockey for a number of reasons that are easy to understand. I won’t get into systemic problems in competitive minor hockey in this blog because you and I aren’t likely interested in trying to change the system nor the thinking of the people running the system.
How can a player improve if they are stuck in level one of the Skills Acquisition Hierarchy at “Unskilled and Unconscious”. If the players, coaches and parents are all stuck at level one of the Skills Acquisition Hierarchy there won’t be proper development, make sense? If you do not have the right skills and don’t know it, how do you have any chance of getting better?
What happens is the top 1% of players who are natural athletes and somewhat skilled because of their athleticissm get the chance to move up to the next level where they will receive better teaching and coaching. These players skill gaps are pointed out at the next level and the kids get the chance to work on drills that will help them to improve so they can continue to get better.
Remember if a player isn’t getting better every year they are likely going in the opposite direction. The Collegiate/University and Major Junior Hockey programs have coaches on staff who have played the pressure game and played at a “Skilled Unconscious Level” (level 4 of the hierarchy) and can teach the game. Most of these coaches can recognize the skill gaps for the most part and help the player develop.
My advice to parents out there, if your son or daughter truly loves the game and aspires to play Collegiate/University Hockey or Major Junior Hockey find them a Mentor Coach who will provide them one on one coaching. It is important to select someone you trust and someone who clearly understands the skill gaps and can teach and coach your son or daughter. A proper evaluation is the first step in finding out what the player is good at and what the player isn’t good at and needs help with to improve. The next step is an improvement plan with proper teaching and coaching with good on ice drills, off ice learning through video and possible other areas where work needs to get done.
You can’t teach or coach a player who doesn’t want to be coached. If a player is unskilled and unconscious on key parts of their game it is unlikely the player will improve enough to reach his/her potential. These same players may not even be receptive to being coached because they don’t understand their short comings as an athlete and player. The big problem is getting the player to recognize their skill gaps early enough so they are receptive to proper teaching on good skills and tactics to get better.
A good Mentor Coach will also work with your son or daughter on the importance of Education and help them exercise character muscles that may need work. Talent alone doesn’t get you very far in life. Trying to get better every day and be the best version of “YOU” every day will take them a long way in their journey through life.
See our Philosophy page for the Skills Acquisition Hierarchy and the TLPF Coaching Philosophy. Enjoy our site.