To be successful in anything, not just hockey, you need to understand which things are in your control and which things are not. We all have the same 24 hours each day, so if you are spending time worrying about things you have no control over, that is taking away time from things you DO have control over. Chances are it’s those things you do have control over that is getting in your way of reaching your goals.
You have control over your self talk or your attitude and body language, your effort, your physical fitness, your diet, and your sleep. You do not have control over which teams draft you or whether or not the ref calls that penalty.
Attitude and body language are two of the reasons many scouts and coaches prefer to watch games in person as opposed to watching film. They want to see how a player reacts when a ref makes a call they don’t agree with or how they react to a mistake. There are always mistakes made in hockey. Coaches want guys who can shake it off and hit the ice on his next shift like that last one didn’t happen. They don’t want guys who chew their teammate out for making a bad pass. An attitude like that can spread throughout the team like a cancer. Playing the blame game doesn’t win games, but team chemistry can beat skill.
Attitude is also how you treat others. That includes other players, your coaches, arena staff, school staff, everyone you come into contact with. Hockey is a small world, and if you get the reputation of being an insufferable little punk, it spreads fast and can be hard to shake, and if a coach is deciding between two players of equal skill, he’s going to take the one with the better attitude every time.
You are also in control of your effort. Even if you think no one is watching, cutting corners on a drill in practice or on shooting pucks in your driveway will show when it counts. Great players never cut corners, and no one likes playing with someone who doesn’t try. Also, ice time isn’t free, so if you’re not finishing your drills or otherwise screwing around, you’re wasting everyone’s time and money, and coaches do NOT like that.
Remember your attitude and effort with your physical fitness and diet. Cutting corners in your workouts or just going through the motions creates bad habits. Don’t worry about anyone else’s results. Focus on your own to make progress. You are better off in the long run if your form is correct even if you can’t do something well in the beginning. No excuses for not eating well either. Instead of grabbing fast food on the way to practice, plan ahead for those days and bring your own food or get up earlier in the morning so you have time to eat something nutritious.
Sleep can have a huge impact on your performance as well. It’s critical for your concentration and focus, and making a concerted effort to employ good sleep habits will pay off. That means no late night video game sessions and laying off the booze. Alcohol has a negative impact on your sleep.
I’m not going to lie. This isn’t easy because hockey schedules can get downright crazy, but focusing on these things is going to help you far more than worrying about why so-and-so made the team and you didn’t. There will always be someone working as hard or harder than you, and since we all have the same 24 hours in a day, spending time on things you can’t control means you aren’t spending time on things you can.
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