Youth Sports Coach Evaluation

When is the worst time to take a golf lesson? On the second tee.

(Or third, or fourth …)

That maxim applies equally well and perhaps even better to hockey. Nobody wants to hear advice or coaching directives screamed at them in the heat of the moment. Sure, in-game coaching is essential, but coaches might want to remember how receptive they are to parents bellowing strategies over the glass during shift changes in deciding when and how to further their players’ growth.

That’s why end-of-season player and coach evaluations should be built into any successful hockey program.

Evaluating a Player

Youth Hockey Player Evaluations

How to evaluate a player is as important as when to evaluate. Sitting a kid down and telling him a few points is a guarantee he’ll hear only what he wants to hear, regardless of whether that’s the one negative comment amid a bouquet of praise or the positive bone thrown in among a list of weaknesses.

Put it on paper. There’s a better chance a player will absorb the material if they can revisit it with a parent or while firing a street hockey ball off the garage door. A couple of other things to remember:

  • Keep the timing and delivery method consistent, but let the evaluations grow with the player. Basic skills should get the most attention for the youngest players. Tactics take center stage as they age.
  • Keep the parents involved, at least for younger players. It’s a good idea having them in the room as the second set of ears and to help reinforce positives.

That’s why end-of-season player and coach evaluations should be built into any successful hockey program.

USA Hockey suggests evaluations should cover the following areas:

Mind: Mental toughness, character, concentration, discipline, intensity, consistency, handling adults, and dealing with negativity. More specifically:

  • Concentration in the locker room and on the ice: What is the player’s knowledge of the game? Do they follow through on that knowledge during gameplay?
  • Self-evaluation: How does a player view their strengths and opportunities to continue to improve? What are the player’s goals?

Body: Fitness and athleticism based on the individual, along with strength, flexibility, quickness, agility, endurance and nutrition.

  • Evaluate players with physical tests at regular intervals. For example, testing at the opening of camp, the season’s midway point and at the end of the year will help players to see their improvement or lack thereof. The tests can be simple (40-yard timed sprint, number of pushups in two minutes, pull-ups) or unique to a team (timed stair runs at the practice facility).
  • What is their dry land workout plan? Does the player execute a warmup and stretching routine?

Skills: Skating, shooting, passing and stickhandling. Skills can vary, but focusing on the below can be a great place to start.

  • Edges, balance, stride, stops and starts
  • Forehand and backhand shots
  • Passing off both sides
  • Controlling the puck while still, at speed and through traffic

Tactics: Not to be confused with skills. Think “hockey sense.” Ice awareness, puck protection, finishing checks, blocking shots, etc.

  • Does the player communicate on the ice?
  • Is the player aware of and capable of creating (or if on defense, eliminating) time and space on the ice?
  • Does the player “see” outlet passes?
  • Both offensively and defensively, how is their approach in one-on-one, two-on-two and three-on-two situations?

Systems: This is tactical team play such as faceoffs, power play, penalty kill, defensive coverage, offensive play inside the blue line and in the neutral zone, forechecking, etc.

Evaluating a Coach
Youth Hockey Coach Evaluations

Self-evaluation is important, as is honesty in that process. Consider ranking your attributes or scoring them on a five or 10 point scale. For instance, you could rank or rate the following statements (and many more). As a coach, I …

  • Am a good role model
  • Encourage player input in practice and game plans
  • Spend time researching coaching trends and practices
  • Listen
  • Game plan based on scouting the opponent
  • Teach skills correctly
  • Have good communication with parents
  • Communicate goals
  • Treat officials with respect

Giving players, parents and league directors an opportunity to weigh in on your performance is equally essential. These should be scheduled opportunities — literally as much a part of the calendar as the opening of camp and the start of playoffs.

League directors should set expectations at the outset of a season, and formally address those at the midpoint and end of the year.

Parents and players might simply be given the opportunity to fill out a form as simple as assigning a score (1-5 points) for questions such as:

  • Did the coach communicate with parents?
  • Did the coach communicate with players?
  • Did the coach answer questions?
  • Were you informed about the required commitment for this team?
  • Was practice time used efficiently?
  • Was there sufficient preparation for games?
  • Did the coach behave appropriately toward officials?
  • Did the coach behave appropriately toward players?
  • Did the coach behave appropriately toward opponents?
  • Was the coach consistent with discipline?
  • Was the coach consistent with praise?
  • Was the coach consistent with criticism?

Giving players, parents and league directors an opportunity to weigh in on coaching performance is essential. These should be scheduled opportunities — literally as much a part of the calendar as the opening of camp and the start of playoffs. [Click to Tweet!]

It’s not always about numbers

Yes, a player’s performance can be measured in goals, assists, saves, penalty minutes and faceoffs won or lost. A coach’s performance can be boiled down to wins and losses. But a proper evaluation measures more than the stat sheet and thinks beyond its margins. Approach the end of the season as another opportunity to learn and grow, and with a plan to facilitate.

Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey shop that offers pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3, and hasn’t put it down yet.

coach evaluation form

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>