By Brandon Naurato –
What are you doing to separate yourself from the pack?
Over the month of March, state champions have been crowned from mites to midgets and at the end of the day, there are only a select few teams that can call themselves champions. Some players are experiencing feelings of disappointment while others are raising banners, and now is the time to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself one question:
What am I doing daily to prepare myself for success in the game of hockey?
Elite players at every level of hockey do not simply “turn it on” during playoff time. Instead, they possess a mindset all year round that separates them from the rest of the pack. They live a hockey lifestyle each and every day. Every day that you wake up is another opportunity to become a better player. Playing at an elite level of hockey is not for part-timers. Every young player in Detroit has dreams of playing Major Junior Hockey, College Hockey, and in the National Hockey League one day and that is what continues to drive me back to the same question I asked above. What are you doing to separate yourself from the rest of the pack? Start to change your mindset right now by adopting lifelong character traits that will almost guarantee success on the ice as well as off of it such as preparation, repetition and confidence.
Prepare for success. Now is the time to set up your spring/summer training schedule. Plan out your meals each day so that you are fueling your body with the nutrition that it needs to compete at the highest level possible. Schedule a time to work with an off-ice trainer or find a hockey-specific workout routine that you can do by yourself with the goal of increasing your overall strength and athleticism going into next season. If you don’t have a plan, then you don’t have a chance! Put together a schedule that fits what you need as a player to improve your overall development going forward.
First things first, identify yourself as a hockey player. You need to ask yourself what type of player you are right now, and what type of player you want to be in the future. Correct your weaknesses and expose your strengths! The spring/summer months are the perfect time to get the repetitions through training on and off the ice to improve your overall development as a player. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” he talks about the “10,000 hour rule”. According to the rule, it takes 10,000 hours of repetitions and practicing a skill to master it. Are you prepared to spend 10,000 hours to turn your dreams into reality? You should be.
Through preparation and repetition you will gain confidence that this hockey lifestyle is something attainable for you. You can make that team! You can win this game! You can prove to the coaches and scouts sitting in the stands that you belong at this level! By creating a plan and putting in the work, you will start to gain an unbelievable confidence in yourself. You have earned that confidence through hard work and dedication and no one will ever be able to take that away from you. Next time you go into the corner with a guy who is 40 pounds heavier then you, you will be confident that you’re going to win that battle and come out with the puck. When you get a pass in the slot in a tie-game with under a minute left to play in the third period, you know you’re going to score because you shot 200 pucks a day for four months during the off-season. Through that type of repetition you have prepared yourself to have confidence in high pressure situations.
The best analogy I can think of when it comes to the three concepts I mentioned above would be to relate it to a test in school. Students with consistent good grades do not slack-off all semester and cram one night for 12 hours before the final exam. They do a little bit each day by studying for 1-2 hours per night in order to be fully prepared for their final exam. When they walk into that exam they are confident that they will have success because they have put the work in all semester long. The student who crammed is nervous and second guessing themselves because they know that they haven’t put the time in to get an A on that test. Hey, you might get lucky by cramming and get an A on one test. You might ignore the three character traits mentioned above and have a great game here or there. This is called luck. Winning teams and successful players do not rely on luck. They rely on preparation, repetition and confidence – the three most important principles when building a hockey lifestyle.