10 Questions to Help Your Player Evaluate Last Season

“Most of the time, you’re a great player on a mediocre team or a mediocre player on a great team. Only when the stars align are you a great player on a great team.” A friend told me this when I described my son’s losing hockey season one year, and I’ll never forget it. When I described coach and locker room issues to another friend, he said, “Tell him this is just one coach and one team of the many coaches and teams he’ll have through his life. Some are good and some are bad.”

What these friends have in common is age. Lifelong athletes nearing 60 and sports parents, they’d seen it all. I was gratified to see that Dr. Fred Neff, a sports psychologist, agrees with them in terms of hockey: “Hockey is not a sprint, it is a marathon. One season is a blip in the existence of your hockey career” (www.proambitions.com).

As the season ends, how can your player get the most out of this blip in his or her career? You can learn a lot from a winning team with supportive players, well-informed and encouraging coaches, and great parents. But you can also learn a lot from a losing team with infighting and screaming coaches. And you can learn from the most likely scenario, a combination of good and bad experiences with games, coaches, kids, and parents. The important thing now is to take a look back and focus on the positive before moving on.

Ask these questions:

  1. What did you learn from the coaches?
  2. What turned out to be the best way to communicate with the coaches?
  3. What did you do well this year?
  4. What did your team do well?
  5. Did you get to try anything new? (Play a different position, learn a new shot?)
  6. Was there one memorable play, game or tournament you’ll never forget?
  7. Did you make any new friends?
  8. Did you learn any strategies for getting along with everyone?
  9. What is your goal for next year?
  10. Overall, did you have fun?

Once you identify and verbalize all the positives, you’re more likely to remember those aspects of the season. If the negatives still stand out, just tell yourself: It’s over and next season you get another chance.

–Thank you to Kelly Kordes Anton with advice from Steve Rarey and John Cruise.

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