With summer hockey training getting into full swing, I've really started to analyze the details of what helps make successful hockey players.
Just like a player, as a coach, I'm always trying to learn more and tweak things here and there to get better.
What types of things can I do as a coach to help my players improve the most over the long haul?
That's the one question that I ask myself the most. I think it's important to mention the 'long haul' because I really believe that building habits for the long run is the way to create real success.
A fellow coach that I know talks about it all the time and uses a good analogy that's easy to relate to. He says, "are you going to retain the information and be more prepared for the test if you show up and do the homework everyday, or if you just try and cram for the test the night before?" Naturally, we all know that the right answer isn't to just try and cram the night before.
The same can be said with hockey.
It's never just a quick 'cram' session to try and get better for the season. That rarely works, and if you do scrap by, it's not sustainable and in the long run everyone else who's been sticking with the plan and training for the long haul will catch up and surpass the player who's looking for the quick fix.
The reality is, there is no quick fix, in hockey, or life.
The players that ultimately have the most success are the players that focus on the details and become passionate about perfecting the details.
Like I've talked about before, hockey doesn't need to be overly complicated. If you can focus on your habits and the details, the long term results will always outweigh the person looking for the quick fix.
So my advice to coaches reading this is to really hammer down on the details. Don't let players just slide by. Sure, it can become tiresome to repeat yourself 50 times in a matter of ten minutes reminding players of the same thing. But, at the end of the day, that's our job as coaches.
And players, don't cheat drills. Don't rush through something because everyone else is going faster, or you want to show everyone that you're done with the drill first. Instead, focus on the details. Take the extra time that you need to make sure that you're doing things the right way.
If you can change your mindset and remember that taking extra time now will reap benefits later, you'll be much better off in the long run.
Success is truly in the details. If you can buy into that, and commit to trusting the process, your future self will definitely thank you.