Posted by Greg Carter
When players sit down and think back upon the long hockey season, there are plenty of ups and downs throughout the season that can be reflected upon. There are the practices and games when everything seems to be going great, and then the times when the pucks are hitting the pipe, passes are bouncing off the stick and nothing seems to be going right.
Good players are able to fight through the ups and downs and consistently bring an effort to each practice and game. There are the times when you feel like you played well but the team loses, other times the team wins without feeling like you played your best game.
Sorting through the individual, as well as the team ups and downs is a key part of evaluating your season, and ultimately setting goals for your summer training. When starting the process of evaluating your season,it’s important to separate out team performance from individual performance. All too often personal goals get lost in the long season and players, as well as parents, start to think that if they team did well, they must have also improved individually. Unfortunately this is just not the case.
To do a thorough job evaluating a season, parents should help their son or daughter take a close look and evaluate personal strengths, and even more importantly, personal weaknesses, which are the key opportunities for positive growth and player development.
Most, if not all of the best hockey players realize early on in their career that in order to reach their full potential they have to set goals, train with those goals in mind, and try to get better each and every day. The process all starts with an honest self-evaluation of the season you just completed, not as a team, but as an individual. Once you determine the player you are today, the fun begins in mapping out the path to become a better player in the future.
To get started with your evaluation, take the time to do the following:
Break down your game into a few categories such as skating, stickhandling, shooting, passing and teamwork. For each of these areas give yourself a grade of 1-3, with the higher number representing a higher competency in that skill area. Remember to be honest in this evaluation; you can only improve if you recognize the areas that need focus.
Once you have graded yourself, start to search out opportunities to improve in these areas. There are plenty of materials to read online, including our Coaches Corner, as well as training aides, summer hockey camps and weekend clinics.
There is a great saying “if it’s going to be, it’s up to me”. Remember this throughout the summer as you work hard training to improve on the skills you have identified in your post season evaluation. There is no easy path to success, and a thorough evaluation followed by a goal setting exercise is a huge first step down the path to success.