For a lot of you, the season is winding down or has just finished.
Do you have any regrets about the season?
I know that's a blunt question just thrown out there but I don't think there's much benefit in tiptoeing around the subject.
The end of a season is an awesome time to do some self reflection and really look back and see what went well, and what didn't go so well. You should be looking at it from an individual standpoint and a team standpoint. Both will probably have different answers and both scenarios will provide opportunities to learn and grow for the future.
I want you to take a quick break from this post and just think about the answers to those questions...
I wanted you to think about that first before I went any further because I want to talk a bit about the difference between having regret and disappointment.
While they may seem, and even feel, the same at times, they are incredibly different.
Disappointment is losing a game, having a bad game or practice, or missing a backdoor pass that most of the time would be an easy goal...
Regret, on the other hand, is a missed opportunity because of your own doing. In nearly all situations, regret boils down to things that you can completely control, whereas, disappointment is a lot of times caused by things that are not fully in your control.
You can play your heart out and still lose a game... that's disappointing. But after that disappointment resides you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you did everything in your power to help get a different result, but it just wasn't meant to be on that day. On the flip side, regret is when you lose a game and you know that you stayed out to late the night before, or didn't get enough rest, or didn't eat a quality pregame meal, or weren't focused in warm ups, or weren't a good teammate in the locker room and on the bench... that is regret.
Your team ultimately gets the same end result, a loss, but how you feel about it probably feels drastically different if you think about the game the next day.
There's honestly nothing worse than having regrets.
That feeling of KNOWING that you could have, and should have, done more.
I honestly think it's a hard lesson that every player has to go through. Really, it's a lesson that everyone has to go through with life in general.
I think having the ability to take a step back and have some perspective on how things are going will really help players become more consistent. And, as I've said before, the best trait any hockey player can have is consistency.
If you can learn that it's OK to be disappointed, and try to limit any regrets that you may have, I guarantee you'll find that you're growing more as a person and teammate.
It's also been my observation that players that play on teams that struggle a lot tend to have a lot of regrets if they are truly being honest with themselves. This happens because it's easy to turn on your teammates and coaches when times get tough. It's also easy to skimp on your preparation and start to let phrases like "does it even really matter" creep into your repertoire.
This is where it becomes even more important to remember WHY you are playing the game and to also remember what you're trying to get out of the situation. If there is anything that I've learned in my life it's that everyone is going to face obstacles at one point or another in life. How we respond and grow from those obstacles is what is going to help define us as people and hockey players. The ones that can learn to rise above and find a positive in the hardship are the ones that will truly be successful.
The beauty of all this is that the choice is yours. Sure, you can't always predict the outcome, but you can control your attitude and your work ethic. And that should excite you.
For me personally, this has been a big area of focus in my own life the past few years. Regardless of outcomes, I don't want to have regrets.
And I love the fact that if I remember that I have control over the things that matter most (my work ethic, attitude...) that I ultimately will control my destiny.
I hope you all think about things a little different and don't stress the disappointments, just learn to avoid the regrets.
Remember, everyday is an opportunity to keep getting a little better so keep grinding.