A hockey skating / skills instructor and coach for more than 30 years, Simcoe, Ontario-based Stan Kondrotas is an early adopter of PowerPlayer.
With a technical background in figure skating, Stan has worked with thousands of young hockey players to help them hone their skating technique, and countless students of his Power Skating 101 program and PS101 Prospects spring teams have been drafted to the OHL and NHL, most recently Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames. Stan has served as a skating instructor for organizations including the Barrie Colts AAA, NCOP AAA, BMHA, IMHA and NMRA Ringette, and as a coach with, among others, the OMHA Champion Barrie Colts Bantam AAA 2014-15, Barrie Colts Major Bantam AAA 2015-16, and Midland Flyers Jr. C 2015-16. Stan will serve as head coach of the Caledon Golden Hawks Jr C club in the upcoming 2016-17 season.
We sat down with Stan to get his impressions of PowerPlayer following his first season as a ‘power user’ with the Barrie Colts Major Bantam AAA team.
You and your fellow coaches were heavy users of PowerPlayer this past season. Why? As a development instructor I saw great promise in this tool right from the start. It allowed us to track the progress of each player’s development and showed us areas that needed to be worked on as a team. The Game Play data allowed us to address key aspects of individual performances, make comments and try to help players improve specific parts of their games.
How much time do you think you personally spent inputting PowerPlayer data on your players over the course of the past season? We relied heavily on Game Play ratings. I’d estimate that I spent about 40 to 45 minutes inputting information for each of 33 individual games. Couple that with on-ice and off-ice metrics sessions and I’d have to guess I personally spent about 40 hours inputting data over the course of the season. That works out to maybe 60 to 90 minutes per week depending on our game schedule.
Was the effort worth it? Absolutely yes! Looking back now I actually wish we had collected more data, especially on fitness and skating.
What aspects of the system were most important to you as a coach at the Major Bantam AAA level? The Game Play category was significant for me. I was able to see how individual players performed from game to game to see improvement and growth. It also made me more clearly aware of the areas each player needed to work on in practice to improve.
What do you see as the main benefits of the system for coaches? Coaches can clearly measure and see a player’s development in all aspects — fitness, skating and puck skills, and game play. The system reveals physical, skill and hockey sense growth — or lack of it — and shows the commitment and coachability level of each player.
What do you see as the main benefits of the system for your players and their parents? The players get to see where they stand. They can clearly see which areas of their skill sets and intangibles need improvement, and they learn through Game Play ratings and coaches comments which aspects of their game they are doing well in and which ones they have to focus on. And the personalized video feature actually shows players exactly what a coach is seeing and commenting on. Parents get to see exactly where their player is development-wise, and they can understand what aspects coaches are trying to help their child improve through the metrics and ratings, video and comments.
What were the biggest surprises when you and your fellow coaches viewed your team’s PowerPlayer data? One of the biggest surprises to me was seeing the results of the skating metrics for a few players who I guessed would have done better. Reviewing those metrics in light of some of the game play ratings clearly showed us areas needing improvement.
How can you see PowerPlayer data impacting player development in the future? I can see PowerPlayer impacting serious players in a big way. The data will help them to understand their own progress and, through the video, actually see what needs to be done to improve. That should be self-motivating for them. PowerPlayer data will also help a team’s coaches assess players based on their prior year, to see just how much a player might have moved up or down the chart.
What’s the biggest value in PowerPlayer data from your perspective as a coach? From a coaching perspective, the biggest thing about the system is the ability to show the players and their parents where they stand, so they have a factual guideline as to what needs to be done to improve.
Any other comments? Looking at our team and player’s PowerPlayer reports now, after the end of the season, my only thought is I wish we had collected more data! The value of seeing how they did over time based on the collective input of multiple coaches is huge and only confirms my initial thoughts. I see PowerPlayer as the future of serious player development. It’ll help everyone from players and parents to coaches and organizations.
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