The One Question We All Need To Ask Ourselves


I think there’s a simple question that gets lost in the shuffle of hockey all the time.

We become so caught up in the routine that I think we forget to take a second and stop and think.

Do you actually want to do this?

I guess when you really stop and think about it, it’s a simple question to ask but a much harder question to answer for most.

It’s just like an onion where there are many layers. We all need to keep peeling back different sections to ultimately get to our answer.

I think it’s becoming all to common that players are getting to the realization that hockey at a high level is not something they are interested in pursuing anymore.

And you know what, that’s ok.

I think so many of us get caught up in the thinking that “I’ve been playing hockey for most of my life and the goal has always been to keep getting better, and making that higher team” that we forget to keep checking in with ourselves to see if that’s really what we want.

The truth is, I think a lot of players continue to play through their adolescence and teen years because it’s “simply what they do, and have always done.” And not necessarily because the love and drive of the game is what is fueling them to go to the rink everyday.

Or, they keep telling themselves that they want to play on that high level team, when in reality, they simply enjoy playing the game but don’t have the drive or desire to put in the necessary work to truly enjoy the experience.

The truth is, the higher in hockey you go, the more commitment, time, and sacrifice that it takes to be a part of it.

I think too often we don’t ask ourselves that simple question, and instead, just keep following our old routine, or trying to make our parents happy, or continue playing because that’s what our friends are doing.

The reality is, if your heart isn’t in it, then why are you doing it?

There’s no shame in coming to the realization that you don’t want to commit a huge chunk of your time, effort, and energy into something that your heart just isn’t passionate about.

That also doesn’t mean that you don’t still enjoy the game. It simply means that different areas of your life you are prioritizing more. And like I said above, that’s ok.

So I ask all of you to take a second and ask yourself the simple question, do you actually want to do this?

And if you do, then great that’s awesome. Keep grinding away and pursuing your dreams and committing to your team and teammates.

But if you don’t, that’s ok too.

And if you want to keep playing hockey, that’s awesome and I hope you find a level and team that meets your commitment level.

Because we should never feel pressured to play on a team where our heart isn’t in it.

The game is meant to be fun.

If you don’t want to commit to multiple practices, workouts, meetings, and games every week then don’t do it.

Ultimately, figure out what you want and find a situation that’s right for you.

What You Should Focus On


Personally, I'm not a huge social media person. I have all the accounts and use them occasionally, but it's usually for finding up to date information rather than post about myself. 

This is especially true for Twitter, for me. It's a great way to follow other coaches, learn from them, and stay up to date on highlights and other current events going on in the world. 

I came across a post a few weeks back that perfectly summed up my beliefs and a lot of what I talk about on this blog, focusing only on things that you can control. 

The picture above sums this up perfectly. 

It's almost like a two step process you should be asking yourself when thinking about things.

1. Does it matter?

2. Can you have any control over it?

If you can answer "YES" to both of those questions then it's worth your time, effort, and energy. 

On the flip side, if you answer "NO" to either one of those questions, then stop wasting your energy.

I see this a lot in hockey these days. Players get so caught up in so many different things and worrying about so many different things that they lose focus of what really matters. 

Ice time is the first example that immediately comes to mind for this. 

The reality is that if you're playing, and you're competitive, that you probably want more ice time. Even the guys that are on the top line and play a ton have thoughts about how they think they should get an additional shift or two. Trust me, I've been there as a player too... 

With that being said, if we use the diagram and ask ourselves the questions above that should help us come to an answer:

Does it matter? Yes

Do we have control over it? No

So that should lead us to the conclusion that you need to stop wasting so much energy thinking about how you're being short shifted and focus on the things that you can control. 

Now, I know that there are probably people that disagree with that last paragraph and would say that as a player you do control your ice time. 

In a sense you're right, in that most decisions about ice time are earned based on merit. In other words, if you play really well, have a good attitude, are a good teammate, are effective, and are producing for your team you're probably going to play more. 

I would agree with that. However, you still don't have complete control over your shifts and your ice time. That's your coaches job. 

You may be lighting it up and having a great game, but your coach might like a specific match up later in the game and decide to use someone else for a particular situation. Ultimately, it's your coaches responsibility to do what they feel is best for your team. 

Like I said earlier, this is just an example that I see all the time as a coach. 

In my experience, the best players are the ones that are able to identify the things that really matter and focus all their energy into that. 

Use the simple process outlined in the picture above and watch yourself become a more consistent player. 

The Truth About Confidence


Confidence is another one of those terms we hear about all the time in hockey.

And rightfully so. 

It's absolutely vital for players and teams to have it in order to be successful. I mean it makes sense, if you're playing well you're playing with confidence, and on the flip side, if you're struggling you're probably lacking confidence. 

While none of that is earth shattering to any of you, there is one thing that really amazes me about people and their confidence and the way they think about it. 

Confidence, at its core, is solely individual based. 

In other words, no one can give you confidence.

As a coach, I can sit and talk with a player everyday and tell them how great I think they are, but unless they actually believe it, they won't be confident.

That doesn't mean that exterior factors (like a supportive coach) don't play into the overall building of confidence, because they do. But at the end of the day, it comes down to you as the individual to believe in yourself and your abilities. 

To back track for a minute, the exterior factors that I'm referring to are having a positive and healthy support system surrounding you. That can include teammates, coaches, family, and friends. You need people in your life who have your back and are there to support you through the good and the bad. These things help build confidence. But, just to clarify again...these things are there to help build confidence, but aren't the ultimate reason you're confident.

You are confident because you know it and believe it deep down in your heart and mind.

So what's one thing you can do today to help build your confidence?

Focus on the small successes.

To often, we only focus on huge massive victories as the only real measures of success. Now, while these are absolutely beneficial to becoming more confident, they aren't sustainable enough to help us build our confidence everyday. 

Another way to think about it is that we can't win a state championship's just not possible. 

However, we can (and we should) be working on our confidence everyday. 

It's amazing how much of a difference focusing on small things can help build your confidence up everyday. 

Things like blocking a shot, making a tape to tape pass, winning a 1 on 1 battle, taking a hit to make a play, having an active stick and breaking up a scoring opportunity... the list can go on and on but I hope this gives you a glimpse of what I'm talking about. 

Personally, I started to figure out this concept as I was getting out of high school. I used to be like most players where I solely based my 'did I play good or bad' on if I scored a goal or not. Man was that counterproductive...

I think the real turning point for me was when I got to Culver. We won a close game 3-2 where I scored a couple goals, including the game winner with only a few minutes left in the third period. 

I ended up having a conversation with our coach about the game the next day. He told me he thought I played really well. My initial gut reaction was that I agreed with him but I figured he said that just because I scored a couple goals.

But the more we talked, he never talked about either goal once. 

Instead, he talked about what he thought was a big turning point was when we were short handed late in the second period and I had a big shot block. To be honest, I had forgotten about the play until he brought it up. 

His second point that he brought up was another play that to most casual observers was lost in the mix. He talked about how on the backcheck on a play in the third period I read the play well and picked up their late third guy joining the rush and prevented him from being a scoring threat. 

Kind of crazy to think about, but those were the two things that stood out to him that I had played a good game. 

Needless to say, that conversation made an impact on the way I thought about the game, doing my job, and success in general. (I mean that conversation was 14 years ago and I still remember it...)

My perspective began to change on what was really important and what it really meant to contribute. In turn, my confidence continued to grow.

The more I started to focus on the small successes the more confident I became. Not only did it help me find more success on a consistent basis, it helped eliminate the roller coaster of emotion that sometimes plagues players who only focus on numbers. 

I really started to realize that being a good player, and more importantly a confident player, meant doing a lot more things than scoring goals. 

Once my thought process changed, it became easier to find positive things to focus on which in turn helped my confidence grow everyday. 

Hockey and life is all about making progress. If you can get 1% more confident everyday, I guarantee you'll start to notice a huge difference in your game.

So I am putting the challenge out there to all of you to start finding small little victories in everything you do...everyday. Do this in hockey and in life and your confidence will continue to grow. 

Do any of you currently do anything like this to help build your confidence?

Let me know in the comments below.

3 Ways To Prove You're A Good Teammate


Being a great teammate is an absolutely vital part of being a hockey player.

For all the coaches out there, I'm sure you've all stressed the importance of being a great teammate to your players. 

But, how many of us can honestly say that we have an entire team of great teammates?

Sadly, probably not many of us. 

With that being said, it is possible, and when it happens the results are amazing. In fact, I'm a big believer that having great teammates is often the deciding factor for the best teams. In other words, the teams that win championships are usually the teams that are filled with the best teammates. And, I'd even go as far to say that I believe this to be true even up through the highest levels of hockey. 

For me as a coach, there are three things that I look for in a player that shows what kind of teammate they are. 

I say shows because have you ever talked with a player who admitted they were a bad teammate? I've been around the game a long time as a player and coach and I'm yet to come across one... If you ask any player if they're a good teammate, they're all going to say that they are. So for me, the proof is in their actions. 

1. Do They Block Shots?

Maybe not what most of you were expecting for the first thing that I look for as a coach, but it's true. Blocking shots is simply hockey courage. It's willing to sacrifice your body for the rest of the group. It's potentially putting yourself, and your body, at risk for the betterment of the other 19 guys on the team. To me, it's the ultimate way to show your teammates how much you care. 

Besides scoring a goal, what do teams get most excited for on the bench during the game? A huge shot block. From a players perspective, it's a way to prove to your teammates that you're laying it all on the line. You'd be hard pressed to find a guy who's constantly sacrificing his body, day in and day out, that isn't highly respected by this teammates. 

On the flip side, think of how you feel when a teammate flamingos a shot, or is intentionally just a little too slow to try and get out to block that shot from the point... As a player, we all start to question where the commitment to the team really is. 

I can guarantee you this, the pain you feel from blocking a shot will never be as bad as the feeling of skating back to the bench after you had a chance to block a shot and didn't and the other team scored. 

Part of being a great teammate is putting the team first, and one of the best ways to show that is to 'eat' a few pucks from time to time. 

2. How Do You Celebrate On The Bench When A Teammate Scores?

As a coach, it's always one of the most interesting things to observe on the bench. How do guys on the bench react when your team scores?

Some of you might be surprised by this point, but if you've been around the game for a long time, and coached before, you know what I'm talking about. 

It almost seems like a crazy notion because we all naturally think that if our team scores we all should be excited and celebrate. If only that was true...

Great teammates celebrate every goal for there team. And you can tell it's a genuine excitement for the team. Because let's be honest, if you're a great teammate then it doesn't matter who scores, as long as it's someone on your team. 

Guys who aren't good teammates don't get excited for other guys when they're on the bench. They may give a subtle cheer, but usually their body language tells the real story. It's usually either a why wasn't that me or a if coach gave me that ice time I could score too... or it's something along the lines of man that was such a lucky play. 

The reality is, if you're a great teammate you don't care if it's a dangle, a rebound garbage goal, or luck. You're just excited that your team found a way to get one home. 

Once again, this is another one of those instances where body language tells a huge story. It's not only about saying the right things, but it's more about showing the right things. 

3. How Do You Respond When A Teammate Makes A Mistake On The Ice?

What's your first response when you see your teammate turn the puck over?

Are you the teammate that instantly is saying "COME ON..."or "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Or, are you that teammate who is looking around at the rest of the guys saying "we're alright" or "we'll get it back"; or at the next whistle skating over to that teammate and giving him a tap on the shin pads and saying "we're good, shake it off"?

When you read it that way, it's pretty easy to decipher who's a good teammate and who isn't. 

And now I'm sure that someone is going to comment or bring up the fact that some players only react the first way because they are competitive and care so much. 

To me, that answer (or shall I say excuse) is crap. Just because you are competitive and like to win doesn't give you the right to be a bad teammate. In fact, if that's how you react you're only hurting your team, not helping. 

If you're a good teammate, you realize that no one is perfect and mistakes happen. Hockey is a game built on mistakes. The team that can stick together through those mistakes, and pick each other up, is usually the team that will end up winning. 

What do you think of that list? Do you agree, or disagree?

These are just three different, or unusual, things that I look at as a coach that helps me understand who's a good teammate and who isn't. 

The other cool part to all three of these things (and that follows a trend we've been talking about in this blog) is that they take no talent to do.

I'll admit that blocking shots is definitely an art form, but the reality is that the biggest component to being great at blocking shots is simply having the hockey courage to throw your body in front of pucks and do whatever it takes for the team. 

But the truth is that all three of these points are a choice. They're a choice for each player to make. And the thing that I like most is that they are instantaneous. They aren't just asking someone a question and giving them the opportunity to make sure they say the 'right thing'. But rather, they are a gut reaction. They show the true colors and character of the individual. 

So after reading this, are you a great teammate?

Conquer Your Hockey Fears: 6 Ways To Succeed


I've talked about fear before on this blog and how everyone goes through it as a hockey player. How you react to it can really make a difference. I think this article by John Haime, a mental performance coach, is really worth the read. He brings up a ton of good points and has a lot of great advice to overcome those obstacles and be your best. 


“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” —Yoda

I think we can agree that fear isn’t fun. It makes you feel anxious, unsure of yourself and can have a significant impact on how much you enjoy the game. It also shrinks confidence—a secret weapon you need to play your best on the ice. And don’t forget, your fear can impact your hockey teammates too, so addressing your fears is important for both you and the success of your team!

What is it you’re afraid of in your game?

Well, it could be many things: like the real, tangible fear of failure, making mistakes, not reaching expectations set for you, disappointing your teammates, coaches or parents, or a rather lengthy list of reasons that can cause those uncomfortable feelings and take the enjoyment out of your game.

But fear not! There’s help on the way for you to address any fear you have and bring a more relaxed, carefree mindset to your game.

Biology Doesn’t Help

First, if you don’t feel fear you simply aren’t a human being. We all feel fear, to different degrees—it’s what makes us human. I have the privilege to work with some of the world’s leading athletes, including NHL players—and they feel fear—so it’s not surprising that you might feel fear in your game too.

To a degree, we are all prisoners of our biology. As human beings, we are built to survive and protect ourselves. The amygdala, or control center of the emotional brain, makes sure of that. This little alarm mechanism has ensured the survival of the human species for centuries. You know how it works: you perceive a threat, the alarm goes off and that uncomfortable feeling begins. We all are familiar with this feeling.

When human life was about “eat or be eaten” and our ancestors were dealing with real, life threatening challenges every day, the alarm was a must-have. But for you as a rec hockey player, the emotional brain doesn’t really know the difference between a hungry lion chasing your ancestor and your perceived threat of embarrassing yourself on the ice.

That’s important for you to know.

The What Ifs

Working with hockey players every day, the primary cause of fear that I address is a future projection of what a player believes may happen—what we call the “what ifs.” The tendency is projecting out that something negative may happen (protect mode) and that makes the athlete anxious in the moment, telling themselves things like “I can’t do it” or “Why am I doing this?”

An example for you might be... You arrive at the rink for a game, your teammates, coaches, parents and others are waiting for you to perform, and the voice inside you starts considering threats and acting up...

“WHAT IF I look dumb in front of everyone?”

“WHAT IF I screw up and let my team down?”

“WHAT IF I let my coach and supporters down?”

“WHAT IF I don’t play well?”

This creates your anxious feeling, and depending on the intensity of the feeling it can be a real distraction—and sometimes even overwhelming.

There are many “what if” scenarios that could distract you from your central purpose for playing the game: enjoying the game you love and achieving something important to you. Keep in mind that although you project out these things might happen, they almost always never do—and that’s important for you to remember.

Isolated experiences from the past can also create feelings of fear. Negative emotional memories can be brought forward to cause the anxious feelings and also distract you from the performance you’re facing. Experiences in the past are real and a part of you, but your focus must be on all of the great, positive experiences in the game (there will be many) leaving the few, negative ones behind.

So, there is nothing wrong with you for feeling fear. It is completely normal. Recognize that your emotional brain always has the antenna up to perceive threats. Remember the advice from Yoda as a first step: you must recognize your fear. Then, you must ask yourself the question of how much of a threat it really is.

Ideas & Strategies That Help Conquer Your Hockey Fears

Here are 6 simple recommendations that we might use with a player that can help you deal with your fears and put them in perspective:

1. Address your fears directly. What are you afraid of and what could be the reasons? When you understand what might be causing your fear and acknowledge it, it will help you consider ideas how on to address it.

2. Always remember your purpose for playing. “I love playing hockey because I love the speed, the competitive environment, the opportunity to show my skills and sharing an experience with my teammates.” Write your purpose down and keep it front and center—always! Your purpose will help you create perspective about what’s REALLY important in your game and why you are doing it.

Remember also that having a feeling of gratitude about the opportunity to play and do what you love to do can fill you with positive energy and dampen those feelings of fear.

3. Learn to manage the most important voice in your game—and your life—your own! Sometimes our own voice doesn’t help and tells you things you really don’t want to hear, building the threats into something bigger than they are.

It’s important to develop your own “emotional caddie”—a friendly, supportive voice that you might use if your best friend was having troubles. Try the same language and tone with yourself. A few suggestions might be:

“I can’t wait to test what I’ve been working on in practice.”

“Everyone watching is supporting me. I’ll treat them to some great play.”

“My best effort is all I can do. I might make a few mistakes, but being perfect doesn’t exist.”

“Pressure really gives my game meaning. This is where I want to be!

4. Confidence and constantly building it is a secret weapon to overcome fear. Creating a feeling of “knowing” you can do it in your practice and preparation will help keep those fearful “what if” thoughts from taking over. After all, you’ve done great work with the team and on your own. You know you can do it, so bring the same feelings and approach to the game ice.

5. Practice mindfulness to enjoy playing hockey and stay in the moment. The future is where your goals are, but you don’t achieve them without staying in the moment and paying attention to the steps that will get you to those goals. Choose to bring the positive experiences from the past forward to support your confidence—and choose to leave the few negative ones where they belong—behind you!

6. Know the difference between prove vs. improve. The goal in your game should always be trying to improve all of your skills (technical, physical, strategic, mental/emotional). Sometimes, when our goal is to “prove” ourselves to others, fear will creep in—the fear of the “what ifs” and trying to meet others’ expectations of you. Winning is great, but it will only come if you are doing the right things—enjoying yourself and trying to become a better player each and every day.

The Bottom Line: If fear is holding you back from really enjoying playing hockey and using all your abilities, fear not! Remember that you are in control of your fears and there are practical actions that can help you douse the flames, helping you to be a more confident, proactive player.

Follow these steps and you are well on your way to your Pursuit of Greatness!

John Haime is a Human Performance Coach who prepares performers to be their very best. He is passionate about helping others prepare, think and perform like a world-class athlete. This article appears on—For the Recreational Hockey Player, courtesy of

How To Deal With Critics


"You don't know what you're doing..."

I'm sure all the coaches out there who are reading this have heard this line before. 

I know I have.

In fact, if people are really being honest with themselves, there's probably a few parents reading this right now who have said those exact words about a coach. 

Unfortunately, it seems like it has become the norm in sports, hockey included. 

If there's one thing that I've learned over the past seven plus years being a head coach it's that it's impossible to make everyone happy. 

As crazy as it may sound, I think coming to this realization has actually helped me a ton as a coach. 

My first few years as a head coach, I wanted to make everyone happy. It made sense, I was young (24 years old) and inexperienced. 

It was like anything you do for the first time... there was definitely a learning curve. 

But, also like anything, you learn from your experiences and gain more confidence in your abilities as time goes by. Just like I tell my players, as a coach and person, I want to get 1% better everyday too. 

For players, there's always critics too.

From our peers, to scouts, to parents, to coaches... it seems like someone is always judging the way you play. 

The reality is that's the world we live in.

So as a player how do you deal with it? 

For me, it comes down to two fairly simple principles (and they actually work off of one another...)

1. Be Genuine

Now obviously that's a very wide open answer that can be taken a number of different ways. But, when I say genuine, I mean that you are truthful to yourself and your teammates. That you are honest about the work you are putting in and your commitment to the group. It's easy to say the right things to people, but what are your actions really saying? 

2. The Mirror Test

When you look at yourself in the mirror, are you proud of the person looking back at you? I said earlier that these two ideas work off of each other for a reason. If you're being honest with yourself and your teammates, you should have no problem looking in the mirror at the person who's looking back at you. You've laid it all on the line and can be proud of the effort. That doesn't always mean you get the result you, or your team, wanted, but you can be proud of the effort. 

Speaking personally, it's amazing how much these ideas have helped me grow as a person, player, and coach. 

The way I look at things is that if you can follow these two guidelines then no one has any sort of real justification to be critical of you. You worked as hard as you could and you did the best job that you could... it's pretty tough to argue with that. And the people that continue to be critical are simply just noise. They're the people that aren't going to be productive in your development and aren't going to bring you any value anyway, so why let them and their comments bother you?

That doesn't mean that it always makes things easier. Being told that you're an idiot or that you have no idea what you're doing never feels good. But, the reality is there's always going to be someone out there who doesn't like the job you do or the answer you give. The same can be said with decisions. There will still be tough decisions that need to be made and not everyone will always agree with them. That's the reality of life. 

But for me, if I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the night and know that the decision that I made came from a good place with a good intention then that's all I can do. Of course mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned, but for me, they are more manageable when I know that they've come from a place of trying to do the right thing. 

Be real with yourself. Be proud of the person looking back at you. And shut out the critics. 

The Importance Of Repetition

Everyone is always looking for an advantage. 

That's the way the world works, and hockey is no different. We all want to find that little edge that will help put us over the top. 

For some players, that could mean the difference between making a team and not, continuing the play the game or hanging up the skates, or even just logging a few more minutes of ice time each game. 

Regardless, we all want to get that little extra edge. 

And for a lot of people, that can mean trying everything (and anything) to get that advantage. 

I think we all have bought into these gimmicks at one point or another. Picture a hockey player standing on a bosu ball and shooting pucks...


While I'm not trying to discredit anyone out there training players, or criticize their methods, I just don't believe in the gimmicks.

And I understand that if I asked someone who believes in it they would tell me that it works on balance and core strength, which we all know are necessary for hockey players.

But, for me, I think of a couple things, would you ever actually use this movement in a game, or on the ice?

No, of course not.

And, how is this actually making my on ice performance better? 

It's not, or it's at least not giving you any added advantage that you couldn't have gained from doing a drill that's for sure going to directly improve your game. Say something like just shooting pucks, but focusing on all the details that go into doing it the right way... 

The longer that I have been around the game, and the more that I continue to learn about it, the more I realize that simple is often times still better. 

Great players do the simple things incredibly well and consistent. I truly believe that's one of the biggest differentiating factors between a great player and a good player. 

So for me, repetition is one of the most valuable training tools for hockey players. 

And when I say repetition, I mean repetition of the simple things; shooting, stickhandling, passing, and skating. 

There obviously is the hockey sense and mental component that go along the game as well, but I'm talking about strictly from a skill standpoint. 

In believing this so strongly, I've adjusted the way that I coach and train players. Instead of focusing on gimmicks, I focus on habits and being incredibly good at the little things. 

I also believe in this so much because as we get older, and play the game longer, those simple skills are the ones that get forgotten about the most. 

If you think about a practice, (and I'm guilty as a coach of this too), so much time, effort and energy is placed on systems and preparation for the next game that the actual individual skill development gets forgotten about. 

It's almost like we think that since we've been playing the game so long and we know how to do those things that we can just forget about them. I have found, however, that the simple skills (shooting, passing, stickhandling, skating) can always be improved upon and need to be worked on constantly to stay sharp. It doesn't matter how long you've played, or what level you play at, your hands and feet can always get better. 

A perfect example of this is myself. I played hockey my entire life and all the way through college, and I can honestly tell you that my individual skills are ten times better now then they ever were when I was actually playing. 

Why is that?

The simple answer is the repetition. As a skill coach, I am on the ice almost everyday, and a lot of times it's for multiple hours a day, working with a multitude of players. With all this time on the ice, I am continually demonstrating and working alongside my clients, and in turn, staying sharp (and actually improving) my individual skills. My stickhandling has become smoother, my release quicker, harder, and more accurate, my touch with the puck more precise, my control with the puck more natural... truly my whole game has improved drastically just by working on the simple (foundational) aspects of the game.  

So while the bells and whistles of a new training technique may seem like the thing that can get you over the top. Focusing on the repetition of the simple foundational pieces of the game are what's actually going to take you the farthest.

Let me know what you think of this. Do you agree or disagree? Comment below.

Success Is In The Details


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. 

Plan For Success


Do you have a plan for your success?

I'm talking about an actual process that you want to stick to because you know it will give you the best opportunity to get where you want.

I'm going to say that most of you reading this don't.

That's not me being critical or negative, that's just the truth. 

It's easy to have dreams and visions for where we want to be and what we want to do. 

What gets tricky, however, is the process and path to actually get there. 

I'm a big believer in this because, like you, I'm on the same journey. The journey of figuring out the process and path to the things that I want. 

My own playing career is a perfect example of this. I knew from a young age that I wanted to play hockey as long as I could, play in college, and possibly beyond. And while I feel fortunate to have played for four years in college, if I'm being completely honest, I didn't have a plan. 

I just knew where I wanted to eventually be but never really mapped out a plan and process for how I was going to get there. 

Like I said earlier, luckily for me it worked out and I eventually worked my way into a great experience. But, if I could go back, I would definitely think about things a little different. 

That's not to say that I have regrets about my hockey career or experiences, but rather, getting older and having a different perspective makes you look at, and appreciate, things a little different. 

One example, would be my offseason training. 

Man, if only I knew then what I know now...

I trained really hard over the summer and in the offseason. Being a smaller guy, I was always trying to get as big as possible. But, if I'm being honest with myself, I had zero plan as to what I was trying to do. There was no method to my training. 

I guess I shouldn't say that there was no method... I trained really hard out of fear. Fear of losing my spot, fear of falling behind, fear of having someone say "sorry you're not good enough anymore and we don't need you." So while fear is an amazing motivator, and I have no regrets about feeling that way, I wish I would have had an actual plan for my training. 

I feel like a lot of players fall into this same trap. You train in the summer because you hear everyone say you need to be training in the summer. Same thing with skating. You skate in the summer because you hear everyone saying that you need to skate in the summer. 

But how much more productive, and valuable to your team, would you be if you had a plan that you were following and understood the purpose behind everything that you were doing? 

I think we all know the answer to that. 

If I could go back, I would have found a trainer that understood me as a player and person and really understood what I needed to work on to help make me the best version of myself. Someone that would have really helped build my foundation as an athlete and hockey player. 

The same thing when it came to on ice training. If I had to do it all over again, I would have skated with a purpose in the summer. My summer skating used to consist of a weekly drop in or adult league game. While fun, it didn't really help me get better and become a more complete player. 

I would have found a skill coach and skated with them instead (or in addition to the summer drop ins). Just working on those simple habits, and focusing on the repetition of handling and shooting the puck would have made a huge difference. 

Like I said earlier, I don't have any regrets. But, with experience and age comes perspective. 

It's also important to remember that we all have different dreams and desires and that's ok. So just because you, or your son or daughter, plays hockey doesn't mean that they should be training like that. We each need to find our own plan and process to help get us to where we want to be. 

The point of this is to not get so wrapped up in the end point that we forget to spend time on the plan to get there. Often times, the actual journey is where we are going to learn and grow the most. Having a plan is also the best way to set yourself up for success. It will help keep you accountable and pushing forward when obstacles come into your path. 

This way of thinking is not only something that we can bring with us to the rink, but, is a great way to think about life in general. Take the things that you want and instead of just hoping you get there, build a plan that ensures you'll make it.

Know your reason why, have a purpose, and work to create a plan to get the things you want. 

Now start planning...