Picking the Team (the tough part):
Hockey Practice Guide
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Telling a player they did not make the team:
- One of the toughest jobs is telling a young player
they did not make the team.
- Step 1: develop a clear try-out plan:
- Skating: forward and backward, with and
without a puck
- Team play
Document and score each player against your
check list. Be prepared to defined and more
importantly offer suggestions on areas to
improve. There is nothing worse than letting a
player know they did not make the team and not
be able to provide positive feedback on areas
requiring further development.
Don't over complicate the process...
A simple approach... Quickly classify the players
'A' and 'C' the rest are 'B'. Focus on the number
and positions remaining once filled by the 'A'
players. Benchmark each of the 'B' players
against an 'A' player to help in the screening
process. Don't forget to have a scrimmage... One
plan would be to have the 'As' against the 'Bs'.
This will help to validate your 'A' players and also
see who can perform in your 'B' bracket.
Don't forget to inform the players and the parents
of all the details. Including an outline of your
player selection plan, evaluation criteria, general
objectives of the drills and scrimmage, time-lines
and method of communication for selection.
It would be my strong recommendation to not post
a list of names or read out a list. An easy approach
is to assign tryout numbers and post the numbers
on a known web site. If the numbers and the time
allow you should always try to meet with each
Here are suggestions for these meetings:
- be honest and straightforward: tell players why
they did not make the team, identifying strengths
and weaknesses. Accurate records during the try-
outs is critical to support.
- provide players with constructive feedback to
guide further improvement
- don’t make future promises: thank them for
their time and effort and encourage them to work
hard and improve. Let them know you look
forward to seeing how much they have improved
After letting a player go, be prepared to answer
questions from parents. Be honest and straight
forward with parents, and avoid confrontations.
Have your assistant with you...don't get into
having to justify one player against their child.
Keep the conversation focused on their child and
the areas required for improvement.
Remember, try-outs are a vehicle to place players
on teams where they will benefit most and have