For couple years we’ve been developing the Pro Prospect Method that’s main goal is to systematically improve players and teams. Here is a quick overview of the Method, how it has developed and what kind of results we have seen so far.
Our careers as professional ice hockey players left us wondering if the current way of developing ice hockey skills is the best. Is there a room for improvement?
During our own playing careers there wasn’t any on-ice testing. Even today testing on the ice is very rare. And when you think about it, it is actually pretty weird.
We are dealing with a sport that is performed on ice wearing skates and yet, we are not testing players’ skills on the ice with their skates on. How can we (as coaches) know how to coach each player, if we don’t have the data, how they are executing on the ice? Some might say, that easily: We have our eyes and our observations as professionals form an accurate enough picture of what type of training the player needs.
But, how do you show development if there is no data available? If we trust only on scored goals or what we can visually see, the level of information isn’t anywhere near deep enough.
This is why we created the Pro Prospect Method.
On-ice testing as the basis of the Pro Prospect Method
We have created an on-ice test setup which includes several elements. Biggest focus is at different skating techniques. Each test element has straight correlation to game-like situations: forward tight turn, stop & start, acceleration, backward striding etc. The player has to use all these skating techniques (and many more) at every single game they play.
From each test element we get exact data of the player’s qualities in that specific skating technique. Our tests are simple and easy to perform. Players don’t need to focus on how the test should be done. They can focus on executing.
Pro Prospect Method and usable data for the coaches and the players
The key value from on-ice tests is the data, which both the coaches and the players get. Because all our tests have direct correlation to the game, they are easy to understand and use as a coaching tool. This type of data helps coaches to improve their training programs but also to motivate the player because the improvement opportunity is clearly shown.
Coaching after testing
When we know players’ characteristics it’s so much easier to plan coaching programs for each player or team. We can divide the team into training groups according to the techniques, which need more focus. One group can practice turns, one can focus on acceleration and one can practice extra for backward striding. Player data is a good tool for team coaches as well, not only for individuals.
Pro Prospect Method includes also on-ice and off-ice training methods which are planned to support progress at different game-like situations. When we are doing skill and skating coaching, it’s important that everything correlates to the game. Simple drills, proper teaching and explaining key points are the core for our on-ice coaching. Less is more.
On-ice tests also reveal if the players have issues with their mobility, power generation or biomechanics. Part of our method is to analyse all of these and improve those issues with training.
Data only gets better as it matures
One data point is a glimpse for the current moment. But when you have many glimpses to different moments, you start to see the bigger picture. We have thousands of test results at our database. Those results are from juniors and pro players from several countries. We follow strict test protocols and use world-class equipments. The data is validated and comparable. And that is where the true power lies. We can compare the results based on birth year, position, weight, height, gender… The more data you have on your hands, the more accurate your insights are.
And most importantly, the players and coaches can follow players’ progress during different time periods. Or the club managers can see their team’s skating performance progress, compare it with the team’s success and develop coaching system. If your organisation has made some major changes for example with junior coaching protocols, test data gives you one important key performance indicator to follow. From these values a GM for a club can compare age groups year after year. Data won’t disappear.
If you are a GM for a club for juniors or pros, this is certainly a method that could help your teams to perform better. If you are interested in our services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Testing and correct practicing are the keys to success.
Head Skill and Technique Coach