As many clubs enter the most stressful time of the year – tryouts – I wanted to share a few thoughts on factors coaches consider when making decisions. The talent aspect is obvious – talented players are what coaches look for on the ice when it comes to performance, but there are other aspects coaches use to make their final decisions. Here is a list of a few:
- Coachability – can the player take direction, or does the player think he/she “knows it all”? This is arguably the most important quality of a player – even above talent.
- Work Ethic – is the player inherently lazy, or do they give you full effort every time they’re on the ice? Lazy players make coaching more difficult and decreases the efficiency of the coach – he/she will need to focus more on getting an honest effort, rather than teaching.
- Accountability – does the player have a good track record to showing up to all the practices, games, and team functions…or is there always a reason they can’t make it? When players miss practices, coaches are forced to revisit old topics instead of being able to build off them.
- Club History – has the player been in the association for an extended period of time, or are they known for jumping from club to club every season? Coaches concerned about player development want players who will likely be with them for multiple years.
- Team Fit – does the player’s style of play fit in with what the team needs? Teams don’t need 20 players who have amazing hands but will never go into a corner or finish a check. Good teams have players that fit different roles within the team. This is often where players with more talent can be passed by in favor of a player who possesses the skills needed to round out a team.
- Other Coaches Recommendations – hockey is a small world. Coaches often look to previous coaches for advice. If a player was nothing but a pain for another coach, there’s a good chance the next coach down the road will know about it as well.
- Parents – believe it or not, this can factor in to decisions. Are the player’s parents known for being a bit “crazy”? Did they openly bash the club, team, or coaching staff when things were not going well? Coaches are humans – like it or not, most coaches will take a player with a bit less talent, but a family who is supportive over a player with more talent, but has crazy parents.