Hockey Coaching: 3 Tips on Providing Feedback to Your Players | STACK Coaches and Trainers

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Hockey Coaching: 3 Tips on Providing Feedback to Your Players

July 19, 2012

Must See Hockey Videos

As a coach, communicating with your athletes can be challenging, because you have to be at once a teacher, supporter and enforcer. A key component of coaching hockey is to give your players feedback that will help them grow individually and perform better as a team. Below are three tips to help you maximize the impact of your feedback, build relationships with your athletes and help them stay confident. Depending on your coaching style, some of them may be hard to adopt, so set small, achievable goals at first to practice giving feedback. Eventually it will become more natural.

Seek Feedback First

Before giving your players your opinion, ask them for theirs. Focus your inquiry on what they did well and what they feel they need to correct. This benefits you as a coach by providing opportunities to get to know your players and offering a gauge on whether and how your coaching is reaching them. Also it will show your players that you respect their judgment and knowledge of the game, ultimately helping them become more self-sufficient and self-aware. In the beginning, this approach can be challenging, especially with young players. You will often hear the answer, "I don't know." But this kind of appreciative inquiry can help players think more critically about their actions, ultimately improving their performance.

Less Is More

Players often need to correct more than one thing on any given play or practice; however, dishing out all of your constructive criticism at once can overwhelm, and even distract, them. Most young athletes can only focus on a few instructions while performing, so giving them one or two things to work on at a time is more effective. Also, hearing a long litany of what they did wrong can be discouraging and sap their confidence.

Balance Feedback

It's your job to give constructive criticism to your players, but some coaches fail to offer enough specific positive feedback. Positive feedback builds your athletes' confidence so they can continue improving. To help balance your feedback, try sandwiching your critical comments with positive ones. For example, "That was a good shot. Next time shoot the puck at the hash marks. Keep working hard."

Check out more coaching advice on STACK's Coaches and Trainers page.

Photo Credit:

Topics: HOCKEY
Meaghan McCarthy
- Meaghan McCarthy works with athletes of all ages, sports and skill levels as the owner and head mental performance consultant of M3 Sport Psych in...
Meaghan McCarthy
- Meaghan McCarthy works with athletes of all ages, sports and skill levels as the owner and head mental performance consultant of M3 Sport Psych in...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Top 3 Hockey Training Mistakes

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

How David Ortiz Maintains Peak Performance

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

4 Common Mistakes Made When Coaching Young Athletes

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Tony Wroten's Lethal Crossover Leaves Defender in the Dust

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Three Benefits of Being a Young, Multi-Sport Athlete

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

How to Recover After Getting Hit by a Pitch

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Matt Kemp on His Way Back to MVP Form

Does Grunting Improve Your Sports Performance?

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back