As hockey coaches the only real currency we have to spend on our players is our feedback. Our knowledge. In the old days ice time was considered the best way to teach young athletes – fortunately those days are over. These days, it’s crucial to use your voice.

“Criticism from a coach for a young hockey player is the same as losing.”

That was Dave Mason, the Chief Innovation Officer at Power Player (seriously, go check out his profile photo, it’s legendary) and had some helpful advice for the coaches in attendance at The Coaches Site’s 2018 conference in Toronto. One of the powerful side effects of coach/player feedback is the creation of communication within a team as well. When the coach talks to the players, the players use that feedback and, hopefully, keep the conversation going. Criticism, on the other hand, creates the opposite of its desired effect. Again, Dave Mason from Power Player:

“Cortisol is the fight or flight chemical. If you have heightened levels of cortisol for too long, you will learn to ignore it, and thus your competitiveness is diminished. Positive feedback increases testosterone, negative feedback increases cortisol.”

As coaches, we’re in charge of willing our players to grow, develop, and improve. It’s our voice they are keyed on during practices and games, therefore we must use that voice responsibly. Even if it seems like they’re not engaged, they’re always listening. So take great care with what you say.


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The Coaches Site

The Coaches Site an online resource for hockey coaches and hosts of hockey's premiere coaching conference, TCS Live.

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