It is now July 25th. Many of you players and families are likely spending some time at the lake, in the mountains hiking, or wherever your summer getaways may be. Although these are important for players to get away and re-charge for the season, are you aware of how fast camp is coming? Have you honestly done everything you can this off-season up to this point to separate yourself from other players trying to earn the same spots you are?
In today’s game you will hear lots of sports psychologists talk about the “controllable” factors in your game and your training. It is not in your power to control what the or evaluators are thinking of you at try-outs. But… it is all in your power to control what you will present to them at try-outs, which will most likely directly influence what they think of you. Did they tell you in the spring that you need to lengthen your stride? You have to get quicker to be able to play at this level? You need to be able to hold onto the puck better? Character check time. There is no better test to a coach then when they tell a player what to work on- and then they see if you did or not. If you won’t do it when you are trying to make the team, why would you do it when you are on the team?
After a summer of training, if you didn’t fix what you needed to- what does it tell the coaches? You don’t care enough to work on it, you think you are too good to fix it, or you just plain and simply don’t listen. All of the above are major red flags and will result in you being cut, in which a lot of players today will justify it by saying the coach “screwed them over” or “politics played their part.” Why do we not attack our weaknesses and make sure all of our controllable factors are on point like our training, diet, skill work, etc BEFORE we start blaming the coaches? Challenge yourself and concentrate on what you need to pick up in your game. When Sidney Crosby broke into the NHL, he was quick to realize he was poor at face-offs. That summer, he practiced taking 500 face-offs every day. Wanna know why he is one of the best to ever play the game? He didn’t work on what he was already good at.
Another good example but on the other end of things was Keith Tkachuk, father of Calgary Flames winger Matt, who went to the St. Louis Blues training camp after playing multiple seasons with them and got released for coming in too poor of shape. Seasons later he said there was no worse feeling then going into camp knowing how much harder I could’ve worked and how much regret I had for not doing what I needed to too help myself and more importantly, my team, be the best they could be. Moral of the story is do not give them a reason to cut you. Is eating junk food at night going to win you a spot on a club? Partying for an entire weekend? Humans are creatures of habit- so make sure your training snowball effect is going in the right direction this summer.
Don’t make it easy for them to cut you.