By Responsible Sports
Victory is won on and off the ice when youth athletes strive to achieve their personal best. Encouraging kids to set individual goals and focus on maximum personal effort benefits both the player and the team in a variety of ways. In this month’s TAKE 5 series, we sat down with some of the world’s top athletes and coaches to get their take on stats, records, and personal bests.
Roger brings over 20 years of coaching experience at the high school and collegiate level to USA Hockey. He became the regional manager of the American Development Model in 2009, where he coordinates age-appropriate training methods. He was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1983 NHL draft and got into coaching as an assistant at Old Town High School in Orono, Maine.
- What role to do you think stats and records play in sports?
I think that stats are a part of the game. The key for the younger athlete is who is making a big deal out them? In my experience if the adults make too much of a big deal out of statistics then they can become a real negative. Too much focus away from just having fun and competing and focusing on the end results and not the process and journey of development is when the statistics of the game become a real problem.
- How aware do you feel young athletes are of their stats?
I think all players at all levels are very aware of their stats. At the younger ages let the players keep track of where they are and as the adults let’s not make a big deal out them. They know and most will inflate their own stats to build their confidence which is fine because in the end confidence and feeling good about your self is ultimately one of the main goals we should have for our young athletes.
- If you could encourage young hockey players to focus on one stat, what would it be and why?
The only stat I would be concerned with for young athletes would be the fun factor. Do they enjoy practice are they enjoying their experience and do they want to stay in the sport for the long haul? The only stats the parents or adults should be worried about for young athletes would be the ones in our “activity tracker” on admkids.com. how active are they in games and practices, how many touches of the puck are they getting in both areas! To me this is critical because active kids=fun and passion and development!
- What goals or benchmarks should coaches focus on at different age groups?
For me a coaches main goals are passion (fun) and development. Are your players getting better with their skill development and are they having fun doing it. Let’s remember it is a game and it is meant to be fun! Like I said above is you want to keep stats then keep the stats that really mean something and that is the amount of touches and repletion’s and quality ones, that your athletes keep every time they step on the ice for practice and games.