The Importance Of Body Language

The Importance Of Body Language In Hockey

It’s been a huge focus of mine to talk a lot about putting our time and energy into worrying only about things that are in our control. Things like your effort, attitude, preparation, and what kind of teammate you are, are just a few.

One other area that I think is vital to success is your body language.

While that may seem like an inconsequential facet to a team, or the outcome of a game, I think it’s a huge factor for a team.

If you have poor body language, (hanging your head, sulking on the bench, sitting by yourself on the bench away from your teammates…) what kind of message is that sending to your teammates and your coaches?

From a coaches perspective, I can tell you that this is one thing that drives me crazy. If you’re upset about your ice time and you choose to sit and sulk on the bench, do you really think that is going to want to make a coach put you back on the ice?

No way!

You’re not engaged and involved in the game, but rather, your mind is thinking about how things aren’t going the way YOU think they should.

The reality is that no player is ever going to fully agree with every decision a coach makes. Every player from time to time thinks they deserve more ice time, or thinks they should be used in different situations. I know it because I felt the same way as a player.

But, how you conduct yourself during those times tells a huge story about your character and commitment to your teammates.

Are you going to be a great teammate, or a distraction?

If you’re sulking on the bench, you’re not helping your teammates, but instead, only distracting them.

Think back to a time when you had a teammate sulking on the bench. What’s the first thing everyone does? They turn to their line mates and say “what’s wrong with so and so….?”

This is pulling your teammates focus away from the game. So it’s a double whammy for hurting your team. You aren’t focused and neither are your teammates.

So how do you not fall into this trap?

You suck up your pride and put your teammates first.

It’s one of the best lessons that I’ve learned in my life from hockey. Learn to put your teams needs first. I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy but I will tell you it’s worth it.

I can also tell you from a coaches perspective that I’m way more likely to give a chance to a player that’s positive, upbeat, and genuinely supporting his teammates over a guy that’s sulking in the corner.

Have the mindset of earning everything and stop expecting things to be give to you. Understand that everything is not always going to go your way, but a bad attitude is never going to help make things better.

Whether you’re in the lineup, or not, find a way to make a positive impact. Having a great attitude and body language is great place to start.

4 Life Lessons That Hockey Taught Me

4 Life Lessons That Hockey Taught Me

Hockey’s an unbelievable game.

Chances are that if you’re here reading this now, that you probably feel the same way.

I know I’ve talked about it before on here, in that most of the valuable life lessons and skills I have in my life today can be traced back to hockey.

My wife and I talk about it all the time as far as what are the most important lessons that we’ve taken away from sports. For me, I think there are four big lessons that I have taken away from hockey. And I also believe that if you can truly master these four principles, they will make you successful in not only hockey, but really anything that you decide to do.

  1. Confidence - The older I get and the more I coach, the more I realize that confidence is nearly everything. It’s something that I wish I had more consistently as a player, but is something that I see now as absolutely vital to success in whatever you want to do. Confidence and success I believe work hand in hand. The people that can find and build upon their successes are the people that are going to be building and growing their confidence. I know it can be a bit cliche but it’s totally true in that, if you don’t believe in yourself then how is anyone else supposed to? It’s something that we should all be working on everyday. Find success in the little things and constantly be building yourself up.

  2. Work Ethic - We live in a world where everyone is compared to everyone else. Where it’s easy to find excuses and want the glory without putting in the blood, sweat, and tears to get there. I think it’s become more socially acceptable to give up, or blame someone (or something) else when things don’t go your way. In reality, if you really want something in hockey, or life, you need to realize that it’s going to take a lot of work and it’s not going to be easy. The process of working to get what you want is what truly builds your character and helps define you as a person. Don’t short change yourself on that experience because you’re scared to work for something. Push through the pain and push through your limitations. That’s ultimately what will help you grow and become the person that you want to be. Just remember, there’s no short cut for hard work. If you try to find it, it will eventually catch up to you.

  3. Failure - Learning to overcome adversity is part of hockey, and more importantly, part of life. In my experience, the people that learn to deal and work through adversity are the ones that have the most success on the ice, and off. What do you do when things get tough and don’t go your way? Do you fold up and quit? Do you look for someone else to fight your battle for you? Or, do you stand in there, hold your head up high, and learn and grow from the experience. Success is not supposed to be easy and failure is part of it. In fact, I don’t think success is possible without failure. So when things don’t go your way and you get knocked down, get back up and keep grinding. If it’s something that you really want, you’ll look back and realize those moments that you kept moving forward are the ones that defined you.

  4. Teammates - A group on the same page is always more powerful than the individual. Just like hockey, in life, the successful people surround themselves with people who have different skill sets. It’s just how a hockey team can’t have 4 first line centers, but, if they have 4 lines that all know their role and work together towards the same objective they’re probably going to have a lot of success. Learning to work with a team is also a great teacher of humility and ego. The first advice I would give anyone looking to fit in with a team is to check your ego at the door. Realize that having the right attitude and putting the group goal at the foreground is the real way to create amazing success. The last bit that goes along with having teammates, is building relationships. It’s amazing the friends you can make and the opportunities that can present themselves by learning to work well with others and build relationships.

So while I know there are even more tremendous traits that hockey has taught me, I think that anyone who can master these 4 will definitely set themselves up for success in whatever they pursue.

And just like so many other things I’ve talked about on here, none of them take talent.

They all simply take an honest commitment from yourself. A desire to learn, work, and be great.

They all take work, and they all usually don’t come easy, but I can assure that they’re all worth it.

One Thing That Can Change Everything

Hockey Blog - One Thing That Can Change Everything

I was reading a book the other day and came across a very interesting question…

“What is the one goal, if completed, that would change everything?”

Now, this isn’t a book related to hockey at all, but after reading that question, my mind instantly went to hockey.

It was one of those “ah ha” moments where I started to think about players today.

I’ve talked about spring and summer training in another article, but this brought a ton of clarity to me.

Instead of worrying about a hundred different things at once, simplify the process instead.

Take a collective deep breathe and simply answer the question above.

In essence, it’s working backward from your goal.

Define what it is you want to do first, then figure out a way to get there.

It seems so simple when you see it written out, but I think we all from time to time can fall into the trap of overanalyzing and overwhelming ourselves with options and decisions that have to be made.

I know for me, that even includes a lot of things that have nothing to do with my end goal.

So take a step back and gain some perspective.

Focus on your one goal that is going to get you to where you want to be, then figure out the best way to get there.

By doing that, you’re giving yourself a purpose.

And when you know your purpose, you can develop a process to get there.

And when you can follow, and love, a process you’re much more likely to succeed and build confidence along the way.

So while this post may be short, I think it’s a good reminder.

Do you know what your number one goal is?

Are you working to achieve that one goal?

Do you have a process in place that is going to get you what you want?

Are you being efficient and direct with making sure your work and efforts are putting you closer to your number one goal?

If you ever feel stuck, take a step back and answer the questions above.

I guarantee they’ll simplify things for you and hopefully make that path to success a bit more clear.

3 Things Every Player Should Focus On

Hockey - Focus on the things you can control.

Focus on the things you can control.

If you’ve ever been coached by me, taken a camp or lesson from me, or really, just talked to me in general about life then you’ve probably heard me say this phrase.

It’s become one of the motto’s of all aspects of my life.

It doesn’t mean that I’m perfect with it, but it’s definitely something I have really focused on within the last few years.

It’s something that I struggled with for a long time as a player.

When I think about it now, I usually just shake my head.

I wasted so much time and energy worrying about things that I had no control over that it’s borderline crazy.

What’s my coach thinking? Why am I playing with this guy? Will so and so coach, or scout, think I’m a good player?

As players, we’ve all been there.

But the reality is, worrying about things that are out of your control don’t make you feel any better, and they certainly don’t make the actual situation any better.

So how do we work on that skill and truly start only focusing on the things we can control?

You’ll notice that I used the word “skill” in the sentence above because, just like stickhandling, I think training your mind to think this way is truly something you have to consistently work at to develop and become good at.

While I could honestly write for days about this subject, I want to give you three actionable items that will help in nearly every situation.

  1. Put your team first and be a great teammate. I can’t stress enough how valuable this is. If you can always have the mindset of putting your team first and checking your ego at the door, you’ll have less stress as a player because you won’t get stuck in the depressing ups and downs of worrying about things outside of your control. Never feel like you’re above doing something that puts the team first. I think you’d be surprised how far that mindset can take you in hockey and life.

  2. Don’t cut corners and look for the easy way. As my favorite saying goes, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” If you’re looking for the easy way out, you’re not there for the right reasons. Players who cut corners are often the first to make excuses. When in doubt refer to actionable item number one above.

  3. Give yourself an honest assessment. How hard are you really working? Are you fully committed and doing the best you can? I think if we’re being truly honest with ourselves there’s usually always an area that we can give a little more at. Focus on yourself and what you’re putting into the situation instead of worrying about everything else. When you have no regrets, the results are usually always much easier to handle.

The moral of this whole post is that when things get tough, which they will, go back and look at yourself and figure out how you can keep improving, instead of looking at everyone else.

I can tell you from personal experience that it helps take out the huge ups and downs with the game and allows for a more controlled even keel.

Also, remember that it’s always going to be a work in progress and that ok. As long as you’re making progress then know you’re headed in the right direction.

What Has Hockey Taught You?


I recently posted a question to our Facebook page asking what you, or your son or daughter, has learned through playing hockey.

The responses covered a lot of the same things that I talk about in this blog and things that I also completely agree with.

So often, we get wrapped up in every little situation that comes up over the course of a season that we can lose sight of all the amazing life lessons we learn from the game.

I know I’m just as guilty of it as I’m sure most of you are.

But once you get asked the question, or take a few minutes to gain some perspective and think about all that you get from the game, the results are pretty amazing.

For me personally, I think I have learned more from being a part of the game than any other aspect of my entire life.

Hockey has taught me about work ethic, commitment, working with a team and being a good teammate, resilience, discipline, leadership, winning and losing… The list could literally go on and on.

It’s honestly hard for me to reflect on any other part of my life where I have been impacted, or learned, more. Plain and simple, hockey has helped build and define my character.

Even just writing this post has forced me to have some perspective about how lucky I am to be able to still be a part of such an awesome game. And to hopefully be able to continue to pass along those same amazing lessons to the players I coach and interact with is what it's all about.

And while I learned about all those things listed above as a player, I continue to learn just as much, if not more, now as a coach.

I think the real cool thing for me is that when I was a player it was learning and trying to figure out who I was as a person and a player. And now that I’m a coach, I feel comfortable and confident about who I am as a man, but instead have the responsibility to try and help guide other players down the right path. To be a positive influence in their life and make an impact for the right reasons.

The game has taught me, especially recently, that not every decision is an easy one, in fact, most are hard. But at the end of the day, if you’re coming from the right place and can look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day then that’s all part of leading and making an impact.

I think too often we forget that making an impact in the right way involves making hard decisions and tough calls. Sometimes the biggest, and best, impact you can make is by going against the grain and being willing to take the heat to do the right thing. Hockey has taught me all of this.

It’s amazing to think that such a simple game can be so powerful and have such an impact.

I know for me I wouldn’t be the person I am today without hockey. It’s truly one of the most rewarding, and humbling, parts of my life.

How has hockey impacted you? What life lessons have you learned from the game? Feel free to comment below and keep the conversation going.

NHL Playoff Observations And What We Can Learn From Them


Isn’t this one of the best times of the year?

The NHL playoffs are incredible.

I would argue with anyone that there is nothing else like it in the world of sports.

While I haven’t watched every game, I’ve watched a lot this year and wanted to write a quick article about my observations thus far (almost 2 weeks in).

The first thing that stands out is the speed of the game. We all know that hockey is trending into a faster, more skating driven game, but the playoffs really exemplify this.

Teams and players that can skate, and play with speed, are dominating thus far. And I think this only continues to prove the point that if you want to make it as a hockey player, you need to be working on your skating and your speed.

And it’s all positions. It used to be that if you were bigger and didn’t skate as well you played defense. That just isn’t the case anymore. In fact, most of the best defenseman are now also tremendous skaters.

The next thing that stands out is team depth.

Obviously, your best players need to be your best players to be successful, but I think the team that has the best depth as a group will be the team that hosts the cup this year.

I’ve actually been a huge believer of this for a long time. I have been saying the same thing for the past few years in that, if you don’t have four lines that can play in the playoffs, you’re not going to win. Simple as that.

The last item is special teams.

The bigger the game, the more important every little advantage is.

I’m a big believer that once you get down to the playoffs, every team is good and laying it on the line each night.

Because of this, the margin of error becomes even more razor thin and things like special teams are often the real difference makers.

If your special teams struggles in the playoffs, your season is probably going to be ending pretty soon.

So what are the takeaways from all this for players and coaches?

1) Understand and realize how the game is constantly evolving. Being able to play with pace and make decisions and plays at full speed is becoming the way to have success as a player and team.

2) Remember that every role on a team is vital to its success. If you’re a fourth liner, you need to realize that your job has a purpose to the overall success of the team. Like I’ve said countless times on this blog, there’s a reason you don’t have 4 first line centers. Everyone has a job, embrace it and be the best you can be at it.

3) And lastly, don’t forget to be constantly working on your skill development. The difference between good players and great players is usually the great players are able to execute the basic fundamentals of the game at a higher level than the good players. So those things include, stickhandling, passing, shooting, and even skating. And the best part to remember about all those skills, is they can all be constantly worked on and improved.

So, Continue to go after the things you want and make sure you’re putting in the work. Taking action is always more important than trying to make sure you’re working on the perfect drill. In fact, often simple is better. And finally, build good habits and always remember that nothing worth having comes easy.

What Do I Work On In The Off Season?


“What should I be working on during the off season?”

It’s probably one of the questions that I get asked the most by players.

The reality is that every player is different so what works for one player is not going to work for another. I think that makes sense for most people, especially considering that you have players who play different positions and have entirely different skills sets.

With that in mind, I do think there are a few things that we can work on as players that are helpful across the board for players.

I’ve talked previously about how I think a big emphasis should be placed on skill development and repetition over the summer. I won’t get into that a ton since we just talked about it, but you can reference that other article here.

** One side note for something that I didn’t mention a ton in the previous article but fits along those same lines is skating. The game of hockey has truly turned into a game of skating. The reality is that if you want to be successful in hockey you have to be able to skate. The game is faster than ever and I think that every player should spend some time focusing on their skating. It’s another one of those skills that we can always improve upon, yet sometimes gets forgotten about when practicing during the season. The truth is, the better skater you are, the more opportunities you will create for yourself.

Another area that I think all players can benefit from is focusing on your work ethic.

If you ask most players, they will tell you that they work hard. In fact, as a coach, I’m yet to have a player tell me that they don’t work hard!

We all know that isn’t true and some players work a lot harder than others.

If you’re serious about getting better and want to keep improving, you need to make sure that you’re constantly trying to improve your work ethic.

Stick to a routine, figure out what you want to accomplish and work for, find an accountability partner or coach, push yourself to do things that are outside your comfort zone. These are just a few of the ways that you can improve your work ethic.

I truly believe that your work ethic is something that can be developed and trained.

I don’t believe it’s something you either have or you don’t. I completely think it is something that can be trained and instilled.

The last thing that I’ll mention for every player and the off season, is to rediscover that passion and love for the game.

We’ve all played through long seasons, or even disappointing seasons. Those years where as a team or individual it just didn’t seem to go the way that you wanted.

But, the off season is a time to refuel the batteries and refuel the passion and love that you have for the game.

This helps with both your attitude and energy at the rink.

It also helps build your confidence back up gives you that feeling of excitement every time that you get to head to the rink.

While we all have different areas that we can focus on with our off season training, I think there are a few areas that all players can count on to help get them going in the right direction for the next season coming up.

Good luck with your training this off season.

Are Private Lessons Worth It?


Have you ever thought about getting private lessons?

As a player growing up, I never really thought much about private lessons. And with the exception of some skating lessons when I was really young, I never took private lessons. 

Since becoming a coach, the value that I think they can bring to a player is amazing. 

Now, I'm sure most of you are thinking this is a shameless plug for myself since I personally give private lessons. In fact, it's one of the ways that I provide for my family. But, in reality, private lessons can be an extremely valuable tool for some players and not necessary for others. 

I decided to write a post about this subject because it's a question that I get a lot as a coach. And as with everything I write on this blog, I want to be as honest and transparent as possible. 

The first obvious benefit to getting private lessons is the one on one time you get with a coach. The ability to really break down your strengths and weaknesses on an in depth level and then work on them. To really fine tune those individual skills that don't always get the focus needed in practice. 

The reality is that practices are team oriented first and individual oriented second. Private lessons allow us to reverse this priority and focus on those little details that often don't get the time required in practice. 

For example, if you struggle with handling rebounds on your backhand in front of the net, it's not possible to spend a lot of time in a team practice focusing on this detail. Of course you will get a few opportunities possibly in practice, or even a few minutes at the beginning or end, but simply not enough to really get the work in that you need. It's just not realistic to have 19 other guys stand around while you focus on one small detail. 

Things like this are what private lessons are made for. 

To focus on those details that are so important to success, but don't fit into a team practice plan. 

The next reason that I think private lessons are so valuable is because they focus on accountability. In a private lesson there's no place to hide, or blend in. All eyes are on you, the player. 

I think this is important because it will become pretty obvious really quick who is there for the right reasons. And when I say right reasons, I mean who is there to genuinely work and get better. Believe it or not, there are plenty of players who take private lessons but don't have the right mindset to really maximize their time.

Plain and simple, your boundaries are pushed (or should be getting pushed) and you should feel challenged every time you have a lesson. 

The last reason that I think private lessons are so valuable boils down to one simple word: confidence. 

I think it's always the forgotten idea when it comes to why private lessons are so valuable, but for me, it's the most important reason behind getting lessons. 

If you've been following this blog then you know how important I think confidence is, and how it's something that we should be working on everyday. 

The reality is that great hockey players are confident. And on the flip side, players that struggle lack confidence. 

To some, that may sound like a very generalized statement, but I actually think it's true in every situation. 

I've never met a player who struggles that is genuinely confident. I've come across a few that have tried to put up a confident front, but once you start to dig a bit, the real truth comes out. 

One of the biggest components of being confident is building off of small successes.

That's precisely what private lessons are all about. 

Each drill you do, or area of your game you focus on, is really ingraining that success inside of your brain, and in the process, making you more confident. 

In other words, the repetition and focus of private lessons is not only building that individual element to your game, it's also, more importantly, building your confidence in the process. 

From a coaching perspective, I think that aspect is the most rewarding part of giving private lessons. 

To see a players confidence continue to grow week after week is simply awesome. 

While I know I have went on for a bit about the value of private lesson and why I believe in them so much, I also acknowledge that they aren't for everyone. 

First and foremost, I'm a big believer that lessons are only a good idea if the player is actually interested in them. Way to often, parents want their kids to get better more than their son or daughter really wants too. In these situations, the reality is that money is being wasted and the player isn't getting a whole lot better. It's like anything in life, if you want to be good at something YOU have to want to work for it. That's what I love about hard work, it can't be faked. So my advice is that if your kid really isn't that interested, then don't waste your time or money. 

Speaking of money, it's only fair that I bring up the elephant in the room: the cost. Plain and simple, private lessons are a financial commitment. And while I completely think they are worth it if you can afford it, I also understand that everyone's financial situation is different. And if you can't afford it, that doesn't mean that you, or your son or daughter, can't have a successful hockey career. Lessons are simply an alternative option to work on individual skills. 

My last point feeds off the previous paragraph about money. If you think that one or two lessons is going to make a difference then you're also wasting your time and money. The truth is, private lessons work because they allow the small skills to be worked on and developed. These skills don't improve in an hour. They improve over the course of weeks and months of repeatedly working on the same habits. So if you really think that spending money on "one or two lessons for a quick pick me up" are worth it, I completely disagree. Save your money. 

Like I said at the beginning of this, I am biased towards lessons because they are a big part of my life. However, I also wouldn't endorse them as much as I do if I didn't believe in them and the results they offer. 

So if you're really looking for a way to build your confidence and elevate your game to another level by focusing on the small details in an environment where your work ethic and focus is put on the spot every time, then private lessons is something I highly suggest. 

I hope you found this perspective about private lessons interesting. I know it's a subject that gets talked about a lot, and hopefully this gives some answers to questions that you might have.

If you have any thoughts about the subject please let me know. Either send me an email directly or reply here in the comment section. 

One Of My Biggest Regrets As A Player...

hockey pucks.jpg

As I’ve said before on this blog, regrets suck.

No one ever wants them, but the reality is that most people have regrets about a few things in their life.

When it comes to hockey, I (thankfully) don’t have many regrets, but there is one thing that stands out quite a bit for me.

My individual skill development.

To put it simply, I regret not putting more time, effort, and work into improving my individual skills.

When I think back to my playing days that’s the one area that I had control over and could have done a lot more, but didn’t.

That’s not to say that I was lazy or didn’t work hard, it’s just simply pointing out the fact that I didn’t have a plan for how to get better when it was outside the season, or even just outside of regular practice.

My off seasons consisted of me playing pick up hockey and trying to gain weight and get stronger for the next season. While incredibly valuable, I wish I would have done more besides focus most of my energy in the gym.

I wish I would have had a plan to focus on improving my stick handling, puck control, and shot. Looking back, I know it would have helped my playing career immensely.

The other thing that eats at me a little bit is that it was all things that I could have worked on by myself or with limited space or resources.

I know it sounds cliche, but shooting 100 pucks a day would have really helped my game. Just like working on my hands would have.

In my time being a coach, it’s given me a different perspective and angle on the game.

It’s really hammered down the point that being really good at the simple skills of the game are incredibly valuable. Not only does it help on the ice from a skill standpoint, but it also dramatically helps the mental side of the game too.

The more confident you are with the puck on your stick, the more confident you’re going to be in general when it comes to the game. And like we’ve talked about before, confidence is vital to the success of hockey players.

The other crazy part of this (and I’m guilty of this too as a coach) is that as we get older, we start to focus so much of our practice time on team development that we forget to focus our time on the skill component.

It’s crazy that all the sudden we feel like we get to the Bantam age group and above and we don’t need to worry about our skills anymore because “we already learned how to do that.”

Our skills as hockey players are improved through repetition.

It makes sense when you stop and think about it.

If you want to shoot the puck better, you need to shoot more pucks.

If you want to handle the puck better, you need to work on your stick handling and body control.

I believe players that constantly become more skilled in their craft are going to make better overall hockey players, thus help make their teams better.

My job as a skills coach has only emphasized this point even more. I joke with players all the time that I haven’t played a competitive hockey game in over 10 years but I’m 10x better now than I used to be when I played.

Most of them give me a smirk and think I’m kidding, but it’s true.

The main reason is because my individual skill is so much better now then it ever was when I actually played.

Why is that?

Because I work on it everyday.

I’m lucky that I get to coach hockey and be on the ice everyday.

With being a skills coach I get to work on my passing, stick handling, and shooting everyday with clients and in turn my individual skill and confidence with the puck has never been better.

So what’s the point of all this?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with your training to get better.

Create a plan and trust the process of becoming as efficient as you can at mastering the basic skills of the game.

Dedicate yourself to shooting pucks, stick handling, and improving your skating and I guarantee you’ll be heading in the right direction.

Players, take the advice from me that you don’t need a ton of space or guidance on what you can be working on. If you want to be better, find a way to shoot more pucks and improve your hands.

Coaches, don’t forget about the skill development component of the game. We all get wrapped up in working on things like 2 on 1’s, but would it help your team more in long run if you had players that could handle the puck better, make better passes, and finish with better shots? Remember that hockey is a simple game, and the teams that can be the best at the simple habits are usually the most successful.

Keep working hard and focusing on the things you can control.

How To Deal With Not Getting Enough Ice Time


It’s probably one of the questions that I get asked the most as a coach, why don’t I get more playing time?

The reality is that most players at some point in their hockey career are going to feel this way.

I dealt with this as a player, and the truth is, it’s never an easy hurdle to overcome.

But, over the years I’ve learned a lot (from being a player and now a coach) about the topic and I wanted to put something together that I wish I had when I was a player.

The truth is that most players when faced with this situation start down the path of playing the ‘pity game’. Coach doesn’t like me… Coach doesn’t know what he’s doing… Coach is unfair…

If we’re being honest with ourselves, we’ve all had those thoughts.

I know I did.

I got so wrapped up in worrying about that stuff that I’m sure it took away from my game. My attitude wasn’t great and I was wandering down a path of only worrying about me instead of the ‘we’ of my team.

So if you catch yourself going down this path, what should you do?

  1. Focus on the things you can control. I know this gets talked about a lot on this blog but I think this has been one of the biggest lessons I have learned in hockey, and life. Stop wasting time, and valuable energy, on things that don’t matter. Stop trying to analyze what’s going on in your coaches head and second guessing every decision that they make. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to like, agree, or understand everything that they do, but, it simply means that you shouldn’t be distracting yourself and wasting energy on things that you don’t have direct control over.

  2. How’s your attitude? Like I said up above, it’s easy to start spiraling down the path of negativity. But honestly, what’s that going to get you? Nothing. If you bring a bad attitude to the rink, do you honestly think that is going to help your team? Or, do you think bringing a negative attitude to the rink is going to make you’re coach think… “hey, this player has a really bad attitude, I think I should play him/her more…” It almost sounds funny when you read it, but think of about the last time you were frustrated with a coach or situation and how your attitude was. Was your attitude helping or hindering the success of your team?

  3. Are you putting in any extra work? If you’re unhappy with your ice time, are you willing to work harder and do the extra work to get better, or are you satisfied with simply complaining about the issue? We all want to think that we’re going the extra mile to get better, but the reality is that most players are not. To put it simply, it’s way easier to complain about a situation than actually put your head down, not complain, and work on your craft. What sort of things are you doing outside of your normal obligations (practices, workouts, meetings…) to get better? Ultimately, if it’s something that you really want then being willing to go the extra mile for it. I can guarantee you’ll never regret doing the extra work. Think about it this way, if you committed to shooting extra pucks everyday, or stickhandling for 20 minutes everyday at your house, do you think you would ever be able to go back and regret actually doing the work? No way, the only time you’re doing to have regrets is if you’re not willing to put in the work.

  4. Have a conversation with a coach. I know to some it seems daunting, but if you’re truly unhappy with your situation, then you should be willing to have a conversation about it. I’m yet to meet a coach that is unwilling to have a conversation with a player. With that being said, there are a few guidelines I would give any player going into that conversation. First, go in with the right attitude. Going in and saying “I think it’s unfair that I don’t get more ice time” is a lot different than going in and saying to a coach “I feel like I can do more to help the team be successful. What are you seeing, and what are things that I can work on to help contribute more to the team?” Ultimately, you’re saying the same thing, but option one is focused on YOU and your needs whereas option two is focused on the needs of your TEAM. That’s a big difference. The other piece of advice I have for players in this situation is to go into the conversation prepared to actually have a conversation. Trust me, I know that not every player is going to agree, or understand, the decisions that I make as a coach. And that’s ok! But if you’re genuine and truly want to help your team more, than being able to have a conversation will help you understand the situation and should hopefully leave you with a game plan of things to improve upon. Trust me, most coaches know it’s not an easy conversation for players to have, but we all respect the players that are willing to do it.

Like I said above, I’m sure at one point in your hockey career you’re going to be faced with the situation of wanting to get more ice time.

It can be a tough and frustrating time, but hopefully the advice above helps you focus on the right areas and prevents you from spiraling down the path of negativity.

Keep focusing on the things you can control and be willing to work for the things you want.