All the preparations, all the buildup and all the excitement surrounding tryout week has come and gone. Poof, just like that.
Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to move forward. No matter which team, which players or which coaches you’ve been paired up with, the season is here. It’s time to make the best of your situation, because just like tryouts, it’s going to go by quickly. Better enjoy it.
With the help of Christian Koelling, USA Hockey’s Coach-in-Chief of the Minnesota District, here are some key points to remember and build off of as we drop the puck on this season.
Accept the Outcome
There will be cases where players come up short or overachieve in tryouts. For the kids who are thrilled, now it’s time to work hard and prove you belong.
“That’s a good thing, but they also need to realize the journey’s just beginning,” Koelling said. “Take the opportunity and continue to progress.”
For the kids who didn’t make the team they wanted, look at the silver lining. It’s a chance to form new relationships, expand your social network and take on a more prominent role.
“If you’re a bubble player and end up on a lower team, it could be a blessing in disguise,” Koelling added. “It’s a chance to be a leader, touch the puck more, play on the power play, get more minutes – it’s a chance to take your game to the next level.”
Not only can a player further develop leadership and on-ice skills on a lower-level team, but it can also prove to be a valuable life lesson.
“If a player’s disappointed, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to deal with adversity,” Koelling said. “Sports is a lot like life. You might not always end up where you want to be.”
Kids are often resilient. Sometimes, it’s the parents that can’t get over their child’s team selection. This sets a poor example and can have a lasting negative impact on the youngster. Not good.
“That can be the most detrimental to the kids, if they feel like they’ve failed their parents and family for not making the team they wanted,” Koelling said. “The best way for them to help is to instill and encourage the love of the game. Play because you love it. The kids that play the game because they love it are often the ones who succeed.”
Set New Goals
Whichever team you’ve made, it’s time to set new goals and work hard to achieve them. Clearly define what areas you want to improve in your game, whether it’s adding a slap shot to your repertoire, working on a new move, increasing speed and quickness, scoring a specific amount of points or earning a spot on the top penalty-killing unit. Work with teammates and coaches to establish team goals as well.
Be a Team Player
As the late Herb Brooks taught us, the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back. Be a team player. You’re playing for your community. Work with your teammates and coaches to be the best you can be. In the end, your association is one large team working together to help every player to develop into the best hockey player they can be. That’s the beauty of Minnesota Hockey’s community-based structure.
And of course, most of all, HAVE FUN!