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: blog.alaskananooks.com

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...

Featured Videos

Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 198,828
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 399,142
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 77,649
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,321
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,224,126
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,467
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,921,007
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,202,163

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

You can't win if you don't score goals in soccer. Scoring chances come very rarely throughout the game it is important to capitalize on the few that do....

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

Fastpitch Softball Hitting Drills for Beginners

Fastpitch Softball Hitting Drills for Beginners

'Squash the Bug' and Other Softball Batting Tips That Don't Work

'Squash the Bug' and Other Softball Batting Tips That Don't Work

Learn from Steph Curry: Stay the Course to Beat the Defense

Learn from Steph Curry: Stay the Course to Beat the Defense

How to Improve Your Basketball Skills in the Weight Room

How to Improve Your Basketball Skills in the Weight Room

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

How Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher Chris Archer Got in All-Star Shape

How Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher Chris Archer Got in All-Star Shape

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

How Stephen Curry Became the Best Shooter in the NBA

How Stephen Curry Became the Best Shooter in the NBA

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Basketball Speed Drills for Offense

Basketball Speed Drills for Offense

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

The Football Route Tree, Explained

The Football Route Tree, Explained

4 Tips for Coaching Low-Velocity Softball Pitchers

4 Tips for Coaching Low-Velocity Softball Pitchers

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

How to Punt a Football: A Step-by-Step Photo Guide

How to Punt a Football: A Step-by-Step Photo Guide

Learn How to Shoot a Basketball with the BEEF Method

Learn How to Shoot a Basketball with the BEEF Method

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

Train for Hockey Off the Ice This Summer

Train for Hockey Off the Ice This Summer

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

How to Shoot a Basketball Better

How to Shoot a Basketball Better

Never Fumble Again: How to Carry a Football

Never Fumble Again: How to Carry a Football

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Become a Better Baserunner With This Agility Drill

Become a Better Baserunner With This Agility Drill

How to Dribble a Basketball

How to Dribble a Basketball

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

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

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

YardBarker