EDMONTON - When the video cameras and stopwatches came out during skating drills at Millennium Place, Oilers development camp suddenly started looking a lot like Oilers evaluation camp.
But camp director Steve Serdachny says the measurements and recordings are really part of a state-of-the-art teaching program.
“The players aren’t competing against each other,” he said. “It’s not even a formal assessment. All we’re trying to do is have an ability to focus in on what individual players need to focus on and hone in on.
“It’s 100% for education purposes for the player, to give them a baseline of where they’re at.”
And where they need to improve. Serdachny says the days of just telling a kid he needs to “become a better skater” are gone. Instead of vague blanket statements, they’re breaking down all the specific elements of skating — first steps, acceleration, backwards, edges — to see which of those needs the most work.
“We’re really honing in on each individual player and give them every possible advantage to succeed. Each of these players will have individual drills and development plans based on their individual strengths and weaknesses.”
The players will be able to access their videos, times and recommended drills from anywhere in the world, then monitor their own improvement.
“It is one of the most amazing individualized plans for players that you’ve ever seen,” said Serdachny. “The amount of resources, time and energy that have been put into this is enormous. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a first-round pick or someone who’s just been invited to camp, it’s an action plan for success.”