Coaching Player Development Youth Hockey

Does your Player Have an In-season Personal Development Plan?

You can’t depend solely on your team coach to make you a better hockey player. There, I said it.

In my experience, I haven’t seen any team coaches work with individual players to create personal development plans. Typically, I’ve seen pre-season and mid-season reviews which discuss overall player development. And I’ve seen coaches ask players to put together a list what they need to work on. But after that, it is usually up to the player to get better at those items themselves.

During the season, almost all coaches focus on team concepts like breakouts, special teams (power play and penalty kill), defensive positioning etc. They also spend time in practice on basic skill development like passing, skating, board battles and game situations like 2-on-1s.

In reality, team coaches don’t have a lot of time in practice to work on the individual, unique needs of each player.  Of course, there is always the coach who spends extra time with one or two ‘special’ players on a team and gives them more attention. But, on average, you can’t expect a team coach to be responsible for working on your player’s highest priority development needs.

To get better as a hockey player you need to be working throughout the season on the areas in your game that will have the biggest impact on your overall improvement and success.

So if you’re team coach isn’t working directly with you or your player on a personal development plan, how do you develop one?

In a previous post, I described that I am a big believer in Darryl Belfry’s methodology of tracking high frequency events and success/failure rates to prioritize what a player should work on. After a series of 3 or 4 games, you should be able to look at the video and see which areas of your game you are repeatedly under-performing. From this analysis, you should be able to prioritize 3-5 skills or attributes that you need to work on.  This is your personal development plan.

The next step is to figure out how to get better at those areas.  Of course this will depend on what your specific needs are – but it could be anything from working on skating or shooting the puck to positioning on the ice.  Some might be easy fixes and others might take months to work on to gain the required proficiency.  The key is to find someone or somehow to help you get better and to work on those areas between games. This is easier said than done, because figuring out the right person to help or how to help yourself may take some effort.

I have had many parents complain to me that their kid’s coach isn’t helping them get better at the areas that the player really needs help on.  My response is that I have learned not to expect any team coach to make my kids better. Most youth team coaches don’t have the time or interest in going that deep with every player on a team. If the team coach does do it, that’s a bonus and an indication of a high-level coach who “gets it” – but in reality they are rare to find.

Key Takeaway: You can’t only expect team coaches to make you a better player, you need to be responsible for you own development.

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Creating Player Videos: Where to Post Your Recruiting Highlight Reels

This is the fifth and final post in a series on creating player videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.

#1 How to Create Player Videos for Recruiting
#2 What Are The 3 Types of Recruiting Videos Coaches Want to See?
#3 Sourcing Game Footage For Highlight Reels
#4 How to Edit Video for Recruiting Highlight Reels

This is the last post on creating recruiting videos and it focuses on where to upload your video to share with coaches.

There are two types of situations to share videos with coaches.  The first, is directly one-to-one with a specific  coach and the second is one-to-many.

Video Analytics

Ideally, in both situations your want to post the video in a manner where you can track some metrics about your video. This could include various attributes like who has watched you video, how many times the video has been watched. In addition, you might also be able to track location, how long users watched the video and where the user came from prior to watching your video (e.g. search, email, social media etc.)


The easiest method to upload a video to share is using YouTube.  A public YouTube video lets your video be found via search engines and within YouTube and you can easily track views and additional measurements about your video.  You can also upload the same or personalized videos for specific coaches or schools separately to track viewership by team.  In most situations, YouTube offers all of these hosting services for free.


Another similar service is Vimeo which offers both free and paid options depending on which capabilities you might want for hosting , tracking and possibly editing capabilities.

Social Media Platforms

Many student-athletes also use social media platforms, such as, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram, to share their recruiting videos. This allows coaches to view the videos at their convenience and share them with other members of their coaching staff.

You can also store video files in a private folder in the cloud using Google Drive, Dropbox or Box and share links to those files with specific teams or individuals.  Once again, using trackable links and privacy controls, you can control and specify who has access to you files and check if coaches have watched the videos.

Other Channels

It’s important to note that college coaches and recruiters may also use other resources to evaluate prospective student-athletes, such as game film, scouting services, and in-person evaluations. Therefore, it’s important for student-athletes to showcase their skills and abilities through multiple channels to increase their visibility to college coaches.

Team Website

One last category is the host the video on the same site where you publish you online hockey resume.  It can be on your team site, using a recruiting service or on your Champs App profile page. Currently Champs App only allows YouTube video links, but in the future you will be able to store your videos directly on your profile page then share and track who has watched you videos.

Feel free to share your method of hosting your highlight videos – please send us your preferred method and we can add them to this post. 

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Creating Player Videos: How to Edit Video for Recruiting Highlight Reels

This is the fourth post in a series on creating player videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.

#1 How to Create Player Videos for Recruiting
#2 What Are The 3 Types of Recruiting Videos Coaches Want to See?
#3 Sourcing Game Footage For Highlight Reels
#5 Where to Post Your Recruiting Highlight Reels

This post is not about creating professional hockey videos for teams or coaches.  Nor is it intended to help with analytics or stat tracking like Hudl or Instat. Instead it is simply just to help players and parents make simple highlight videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.  As a result, we will only cover basic tools to help edit and produce these types of videos to the exclusion of fancy stat software packages used for more sophisticated needs.

There are dozens of premium hockey-specific video editing tools out there. This post does not cover in any of them. Feel free to do an online search if you want to find some of the top names in this category. Instead, we will only discuss the common general purpose video editing tools that are most popular and relatively simple to use.

There are also many, many service providers who will be happy to make professional looking videos for you for a fee. Nothing wrong with hiring someone to make your video, but with a little effort, you can save yourself a lot of money.

Candidly, I have used very basic tools to help edit video and create graphics.  I’ve never paid for any additional software beyond what I already use either at home or at work.  There are many parents (and definitely most players) who have better media-making skills than I do.  But what matters is delivering presentable videos that meet the needs of coaches.

As for editing tools, there are many free programs and several movie editing tools which are relatively low cost. All  of them are pretty easy to use once you’ve gone up the learning curve on your first couple of videos. . These software packages include iMovie, Final Cut, Adobe, Windows Movie Maker and Microsoft Video Editor. And these days there are many browser-based video editing tools as well.

You can make your own graphics using common graphical editing and presentation tools like Keynote, Adobe, Powerpoint and Google Slides.  There are also good, either free or very inexpensive graphical design offerings like Canva and stock image sites.

What to include in all your videos

  1. An intro graphic which provides the basic information about the player. Ideally it includes most of the following:
    • Profile pic
    • Birthday
    • Height
    • Graduation Year
    • Current Team
    • Position
    • Jersey #
    • Current Coach
    • Contact Info (optional)
  2. During each clip/scene use some type of graphic (e.g. circle, arrow etc.) to identify the player
  3. Informational Graphics

Another common element I’ve seen in highlight video (not full games) is some type of on-screen graphic which communicates to the viewer what type of highlight they are about to see. It could be anything from a goal or assist, to a good defensive play or fancy pass.  If there are specific critical attributes of a player’s game that you want to emphasize, explicitly calling them out on-screen beforehand can be helpful.

Should you include music? 

That is a personal choice. Many coaches have told me they’d prefer not to listen to a soundtrack with the video, but they can always mute the sound of any video if they don’t want to hear it.

I am sure I am missing some additional editing tools and other methods of cutting video, so please feel free to send us your methods and we can add them to this post. 

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Creating Player Videos: Sourcing Game Footage For Highlight Reels

This is the third post in a series on creating player videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.

#1 How to Create Player Videos for Recruiting
#2 What Are The 3 Types of Recruiting Videos Coaches Want to See? – Champs App
#How to Edit Video for Recruiting Highlight Reels
#5 Where to Post Your Recruiting Highlight Reels

Now that you decided you want to create videos for your player the first step is to get raw game footage you can use to create the three different types of highlight reels coaches want to see.

Live Streaming Services

In both the US and Canada, LiveBarn is the most popular hockey streaming service.  What is great about LiveBarn is that you can easily download either 30 second clips or full games.  While sometimes the quality isn’t great or the camera is sometimes  not focused on the  puck,  in general it is one of the most consistent sources of footage that you can use.

The second most popular game streaming available is from HockeyTV.  Depending on the event and/or rink, the service has a very good browsing capability to find specific games and navigating within games.  The big drawback for HockeyTV is that you need to pay an extra  fee to download specific games – which makes it expensive to use for editing full games.  My trick is to just use my phone’s camera to record specific highlights from of the HockeyTV screen.

Additional Streaming Services

There are also other hockey streaming services available in specific regions or events. For example, in Minnesota there are rink-specific  feeds that you can pay to watch games. And there is also the GameOn streaming service in Canada that is available for major events and specific rinks.  Once again, the fees vary either by one-time access to events (e.g. tournament or showcase) or subscriptions.

Recoding Games Yourself (or by someone on your team)

At almost every rink, you will find at least one parent with either an iPad or video camera on a tripod recording or streaming a game.  The quality is usually very good and as long as they camera person pays attention the entire game, there is usually some great footage.

In addition, I consistently see at least one parent along the glass takes out their phone every time their kid is on the ice and start the recording their shifts.

One more method is to use GoPro cameras. This is my personal favorite source of game footage  as a supplement to LiveBarn.  It is especially good for goalies.  While you only need one camera and you can decide which end is more appropriate to record based on your player and period,  I like to use two cameras at both ends of the rink behind the goalies.  The only challenge with using GoPros is that it is a lot of work.  Beyond shelling out ~$200 or more for a camera, memory card and necessary accessories to stick it to the glass, you also need to make sure you have enough power to last the entire game.  This can be through charging the in-camera batteries or connecting an external battery pack.  And remembering to charge the batteries and empty the memory cards before/after games is another chore. However, the payoff is that the quality of the video for offensive plays and goalie footage is about as good as it gets. I can’t tell you how many goalies (and their parents) have asked me to send them video of their end when they know that I recorded their game.


Sometimes a game or a highlight is available from some third party that I have seen on social media or know about from our team chat.

Many games are live broadcast or posted to YouTube either by the opposing team or a tournament/showcase organizer (e.g. NAHA Winterhawks games and more).  You may be able to find game footage just by doing a search on YouTube.  If you have a premium YouTube subscription you can download videos with your account. There are also “free” websites to download YouTube videos, but since many of the sites are filled with suspicious ads and potential malware, I won’t link to any of them here. I would just suggest you use caution when using one of these services.

Twitch, Facebook LiveLivestream or Other Personal  Live Broadcasting  Services

Similar to YouTube, many parents live stream games using their personal social media accounts. I have used footage from Faceboook Live and SeasonCast . You may not be able to download the full game video, but you can use your phone to capture short highlights.

Social Media

Every once in a while I will find a short  highlight I want to use on Twitter or Instagram.  Usually someone else posted a great play from an angle or a shot that is better than what I have on my footage, so I find a way to capture or download it.

One more trick I use is a screen recording software (sometimes I use Screencast – but you can also just use Zoom to record your screen) to capture and download video from a 3rd party source that is not available for easy download.

I am sure I am missing some additional sources of footage and other methods of capturing game video, so please feel free to send us your methods and we can add them to this post.