Two of the most important elements of learning in sports are repetition and feedback. Players learn by processing feedback to help make adaptations to their play. Feedback comes in many forms. It could be from the immediate environment around them, like an opponent stealing a puck during the attempt of a new move, or it can come from a coach in the form of a verbal comment, or more subtly, with increased ice time in key playing situations.
The most effective form of verbal feedback from a coach is concise and specifically directed. A general statement like “good shift” or “good work” doesn’t really convey usable information to the athlete. An example of more actionable feedback would be, “You did a great job on the forecheck, angling that defenseman and playing him stick-on-puck.” This concise, specific style of feedback reinforces positive behavior and increases the likelihood that players will replicate it.