Last week was tough. The Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup marks the end of one of the most exciting years of hockey in my lifetime, and the end of my 3-month Flyers playoff beard. Maybe that’s not a bad thing since I was accused of looking over 10 years older. Although…at least I wasn’t being carded for rated-R movies!
The off-season is here. Within the next few weeks, almost all kids will be out of school and the Summer will officially be upon us. That means most of the players, if they haven’t yet, will be receiving invitations to tryouts for any of the seemingly never-ending list of “select teams”.
I could rant forever about how most of these will get you no exposure at all and are geared toward sucking as many kids as possible into an overpriced tryout…but I’ll spare you. In my lifetime, I’ve seen many qualified players get dismissed from these teams. They usually don’t take it well. Players start comparing themselves to the players that made it, wondering why they aren’t good enough and what they’re doing wrong. As with any tryout, kids that make it gain confidence and feel like they have a future in hockey. Players that get cut start to question whether or not they’ll ever realize their dreams. It’s unfortunate.
At Endeavor last week, I overheard two of our hockey players talking between sets about these select teams. One said, “I got cut every year and was told I’d never play at a high level.” The other responded, “I never even got the tryout invitation!”
The funny thing is, BOTH of these players are top NHL prospects. Yep. They weren’t quite regional select team material, but the NHL will give them a shot. Seems a little backwards.
Two Hockey Development Truths:
1) Every player develops at different rates. Many stars at the peewee level plateau shortly after and/or quit.
2) Even exceptionally great coaches make mistakes.
One of the players I mentioned above said, “I should probably thank them. Getting cut pissed me off so much it motivated me to prove them wrong.” This is the EXACT attitude you should have if you get cut from a team. Make them regret overlooking you. Put the work in to develop your skills and athleticism.
Hockey players need to stop waiting to be discovered and start making themselves impossible to ignore.
Countless players have been late bloomers and went on to have extremely successful careers. You can too.
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.