It’s time to visit an age-old question in the sport of hockey. Which is better, private training or group training?
Some people say private training is always the best choice because the instructor is focused solely on you, with no outside distractions. Others argue that group training in the clear winner because it’s more cost effective and you’ll have peers to talk to and improve with.
In truth, the answer depends on a few important factors, such as your financial situation, the type of hockey player you are, and what you’re looking to get from the specific training/clinic you want to sign up for.
Here are five important considerations when choosing between private and group sessions.
One of the main benefits of individual training sessions over group sessions is that the instructor’s attention is always on you. If you do something well, they’ll notice it and compliment you right away. If you make a mistake, they’ll notice it and attempt to fix it right away. If you have a question, it will get asked and answered right away. Nothing will slip past the focus of the coach because you, as the student, are the only thing to focus on!
Some players, however, don’t like the non-stop attention because they feel it adds unnecessary and distracting pressure to their performance in practice. Others love the fact that their instructor is focused only on them; it allows them to relax in practice because they’re certain they’ll get the help they need. Figuring out whether the attention is a help or a hinderance comes down to knowing the type of person you are and how you learn best.
Another benefit of private hockey training is the element of personalization available. In a private lesson, if you’re struggling with a certain skill, you can just tell the instructor and they’ll mould their teaching and drills to suit your exact need. With private lessons, you can always be sure that you’re working on the most important skill for your development as a hockey player.
Of course, even group lessons can be personalized to an extent. There are many more limitations, however, because the instructor needs to divide their time and energy among meeting the needs of every single player. So, if you’re really craving the element of control and customization of your hockey training, then private sessions might be the way to go.
Perhaps the most obvious perk of group training rather than private training is the cost. Private sessions can cost a pretty penny because there’s only one student to field the entire price of the instructor and the ice time. With a group, however, there are more students to split the cost, which makes the training sessions much more affordable for everyone.
It’s true that the price of instructors and hockey clinics often increases with more people in attendance. However, the rate at which the price increases per extra student doesn’t come close to matching the money saved per extra student.
So, if money is tight, it might be your best bet to look for or organize group training. But don’t worry! You may be sacrificing some attention and personalization by choosing group hockey training, but training with other people has its perks, too.
One of the biggest benefits of group hockey training is the ability for a peer group to observe each other, ask questions and discuss the training with.
If you’re training by yourself, it’s entirely your own responsibility to ask questions of your instructor for more information. In a group, however, you get to hear everyone else’s questions in addition to your own. Often, they’ll be helpful questions you just hadn’t thought of, and everyone in the training group will benefit.
Training with a group also allows everyone to discuss the session afterward. You’ll have friends to talk about what you learned, filter out uncertainties about the information and techniques, and create a plan to practice before the next session. Plus, the relationships you form through training with a group and discussing techniques outside the rink will often last well into the future. In that way, group hockey training also helps you network within the hockey community.
Another benefit of training with a group is the positive peer pressure that comes with it. If everyone around you is learning the same things you are and striving to improve alongside you, then you’ll be motivated to improve, too.
Training with a group will make you feel accountable. You’ll want to pay attention, learn as much as you can, and practice your hockey skills so that you can keep up with your peers and show off your improvement. This accountability isn’t something you get with private sessions. Sure, you may still feel accountable to your coach, your parents, or yourself (difficult and rare), but having a group of friends you train with often provides the extra kick necessary to stay motivated to enhance your skills.
Those are the five most important factors to consider when choosing between private and group hockey training. Unfortunately, they’re not black and white elements; the answer may still be unclear even after thinking each one through.
If you’ve run through the list and are still having trouble deciding which form of training is best for you, then try both! Sign up for a few individual sessions and a few group sessions and then compare the experiences. It can be difficult to determine whether you value the attention and personalization of individual sessions over having a group of peers to train with if you haven’t experienced one or both styles.
Once you find your preferred style of training, all that’s left to do is focus on improving and becoming the best hockey player you can be.