Partner Tryout Spotlight: Skylands Ice World

hockey tryouts

Skylands Ice World was an organization that needed a hockey player evaluation app to increase its efficiencies during tryouts and the team formation process.

Located in Stockholm, NJ, Skylands Ice World is one of the area’s top youth hockey organizations. It offers hockey programs for all ages and skill levels, including competitive hockey programs for Mites through Tier III Juniors, in-house leagues, girls’ hockey teams, beginner leagues, and special needs hockey programs. It also has a travel program, Skyland Kings, that’s considered one of the top clubs in the area.

The variety of teams hosted at Skylands Ice World created a diverse youth hockey organization that welcomes players of all skill levels and abilities —  and it also meant a lot of work during tryouts.

Skylands Ice World’s Problem at Tryouts

At tryouts, Skylands Ice World had to track player registrations, athlete information, and results for each program. This became a challenge for the organization, especially since the club was manually recording scores for each player.

“We used to do pen and paper forms,” said Patrick Choules, Director of Hockey Programming at Skylands Ice World. “If we did 20 evaluations, we got 20 sheets … then we had to try to make sense of all of them.”

These forms created paperwork that Skylands Ice World administrators had to track. They then had to use those forms to tally athlete scores and rank players. This process took time, and it introduced the risk of human error as scores were being manually calculated — and players were then ranked based on those tallies.

After the scores and rankings were completed, the league administrators used that information to determine rosters. Choules said the club typically spent about two hours discussing player scores and rankings after tryouts when forming teams.

The Solution for Easier Tryouts: TeamGenius

This process worked for Skylands Ice World, but it wasn’t as efficient as it could be. Needing to make a change, the hockey organization started using TeamGenius to assist with hockey player evaluation.

The impact was felt around the organization. Instead of passing around paper forms, each athlete’s registration information was entered into the TeamGenius app. During tryouts, evaluators were able to enter each player’s marks directly into the system. This allowed club administrators to access player scores instantly during tryouts. It also removed the risk of human error. The application automatically calculated each athlete’s scores, preventing any mathematical mistakes.

TeamGenius also ranked the players automatically in the application, eliminating the need for administrators to create their own rankings.

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Using these capabilities greatly increased Skylands Ice World’s efficiencies around forming teams. Choules said their team formation process was reduced to about one hour.

“It probably cut my time in half,” Choules said. “It allowed us to focus on the evaluations instead.”

Forming the teams more quickly benefited the organization, the players and their families. Instead of waiting around anxiously for an extended amount of time while club administrators deliberated on the rosters, athletes were able to get the news much sooner.

“It allowed us to tell parents earlier,” said Choules. “Once I finalized the team, I sent out messages to each team through the software.”

Skylands Ice World was able to use TeamGenius’ communication features to instantly provide feedback and updates to each family. Instead of posting a roster on the team website, or sending out one mass email to all athletes, the club administrators sent communications to each player through the app.

This allowed the club to notify all athletes in a timely manner, and it gave the tryout administrators the ability to share athlete scores with parents and help explain why the player was placed on a particular team. This provided club administrators with data and feedback to refer to when fielding questions from parents or players.

Thinking about using a player evaluation app? This blog might help you determine if it’s right for your club.

Giving the athlete his or her scores also benefited the player. It let the athlete see how he or she performed soon after tryouts – while his or her performance was still fresh. It also gave the athlete the opportunity to look at the grades and feedback to determine what he or she needed to work on before next tryouts, or throughout the season.

With these added features and the overall ease of the hockey player evaluation and team formation process, Skylands Ice World benefited from adding TeamGenius to their organization.

“It was definitely worth the investment,” Choules said. “It’s a great program.”

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