DAILY DISH: Player retention
It's kind of funny when we see
coaches squirm. I asked a number of pay-to-play coaches about this topic and could not get a single response. It's a tough subject that we
are talking about today.
What are some of the major reasons a prospect jumps from one
team to another (at the same level) in the off-season? In your experience, do
you have more veteran junior players moving to or from the team.
In any system of development it is
going to be difficult for any player to accept that the current level of play
is the pinnacle of the career. They are always looking for opportunities at the
next level and we can't blame them. But why would they jump from team to team
at the same level of play?
The Developmental Experience-
Teams and coaches talk about development but I have to wonder if most even know
what it means. Coaches and players both need to take hard looks at what they
are doing to elevate individual prospect skill sets and play. There is work involved
in climbing the staircase, junior hockey is not an elevator. If a prospect has
not elevated his game in the previous season, there is no use in returning to
the same team and coach. Something in that system did not work.
Exposure- This is not
going to be popular and I do not care. Teams need to stop being dishonest with players.
The internet has the power to shrink the hockey globe yet team operators and
coaches often fail in the exposure game on multiple levels. Delivering on the
promise of exposure means more than attending a showcase, calling a few
colleges and mass emails. Let's get real here. Every coach of every team needs
to sit down with each player and go over their marketing package. What are the
grades and test scores like? What are the realistic target schools that meet
first the vocational and then hockey goals? What is the coach's relationship
with those targeted schools? Does the player need to be moved up to a higher
level of play to reach those goals? What does the team actually do to market the
player to the targeted schools?
Coaches often talk a big game at the showcase events in regards to the
experience delivered each season. Every player wants to have a good time, which
goes without saying. But what is actually being delivered? What is the locker
room and fitness training facilities like? How does the team travel? What types
of special training is available? Is the team supported by a strong fan base or
just a few girlfriends and families? What about housing? Are the billets
top-notch or are we talking about hockey houses with sub-standard nutrition and
too much beer?
Why do players leave? See above.
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.