How bad do you want to get to the next level? How bad do you want to improve?
I think a lot of us think about these sorts of things with everyday life, and I know I see it a lot with hockey.
Players talking about how they want to play at the next level, or how they want things to be different next year.
But that just naturally leads to the next question of, how are you going to do those things, and how bad do you really want it?
It's really easy to say all the right things. It's really hard to actually follow through.
I feel like I see this more and more, unfortunately. Players making these awesome statements about the things they are going to do but then not be willing to fully commit and go after it the way they need to.
I also see a lot of blaming going on when things don't work out the way that a player wants. It makes sense, we live in a society where it's easy to push blame off to others and not take accountability for our own success or failure.
But, the truth is, you have to be the one that drives yourself to success. Coaches, for example, are just another tool to help you get there, they can't be the sole motivating factor. Anyone who's truly successful at anything has to have a strong internal drive.
Ultimately, a big part of a coaches responsibility is to help push players to that next level and hold them accountable. But, the harsh reality is that your success or failure will not come down to a coach pushing you. In fact, the same can be said for anyone. You're not going to make it to where you want to be because of someone else, YOU will need to be the deciding factor.
Your success or failure will come down to how much you are willing to put in.
As the old saying goes, how hard are you working when no one is watching?
The players that can buy into that are the ones that will ultimately make it to the next level.
I know that looking back at my own career the things that I gained the most from were the things that no one knew I was doing.
Working out with my uncle on all those early mornings, shooting pucks in my driveway...those are some of the extra things that really helped develop my game and get me to where I wanted to be.
The point of this post is to not be discouraging at all. But rather, to remind you that it's really hard to get to the top, and that's ok. Be willing to take accountability for your goals and dreams and put the onus on yourself to make them happen. Don't rely on someone else to make your dreams come true. If you want something, YOU find a way to make it happen.
When your heart is in the right place and your mind is focused and strong you have the chance to make incredible things happen.
Believe in yourself and never be scared of some good, honest, hard work.