Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – Truth Behind Picking Players

Yesterday, I spend the day working with the boss on the Pre Draft Combine rosters, and discussing the players.  All the time his phone be ringing with coaches looking for player for next season.  It is interesting just to sit and listen to one side of the conversation because much can be learned.

I say probably eight coach call while I am there.  Some coach ask backgrounds of the players, some ask for advance information, and some still ask thing such as how big are the players who are coming?

Stupid.  It is the dumbest question a coach can ask.  Unfortunately, if that is the first question the coach ask, it is next to impossible to change his mind.  Some people just think they need big players.  It is too bad because these same coach will miss out on some great player.

The truth behind scouting is nearly every coach start scouting with some idea of the type of player they are looking for.  Big, skilled, smart, simple, or any other phrase you can use to describe a player, the coach has some idea in mind before he see you play.

If you do not fit that idea, you have to be such a good player that the coach be willing to change his mind.  Good luck with that.

I am hopping that the new wave of analytics will help to change some of this thinking.  If a player can play and is effective, nothing else matter.

So the boss say to one coach “Can you pick out a 6’2″ player versus a 6′ player when they are bent over in the faceoff circle?”  The coach answer “no”.  So then why is the coach specifically looking for “size”?

In today hockey, size only matter when it come to reach and if that reach belong to an exceptional player to begin with.  You can not teach a pylon how to skate, and you can not make a 5’10” forward 6’2″.  But the player who has the best skill set is the one who should always make the team.

Player and parent, know and understand that coach preconceived notion on the player he looking for will impact every camp you attend.  It not fair, but, it is the fact.

Coach

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