The Draft. All Drafts mean the same thing. Whether its the USHL, Major Junior, the NAHL, or the NHL Draft, if you are fortunate enough to get picked, your work has only just begun.
As an Adviser, I am fortunate enough, and unfortunate enough to participate in every draft with at least one client per year. Fortunate when it happens and a dream is realized, and unfortunate when it doesn’t happen for your client and they deal with disappointment.
Every draft is about preparation. It is not simply about being a good player. If it were that simple, the NHL wouldn’t do player interviews at the Combine and during the days leading up to the draft. Your athletic ability is only a part of what will or will not get you selected on any given draft day.
Every year, I get to go along for the ride. sometimes its great, sometimes its not so great. Its knowing how to deal with either destination that sets successful players apart from those that are not successful.
No matter what the case though, if you are fortunate enough to be honored with a selection, your work has only just begun. Being drafted is nothing more than what I like to call an “Enhanced Opportunity”. There is nothing guaranteed by being drafted.
The Enhanced Opportunity that being drafted provides is only enhanced incrementally based on the round in which you were selected. The enhancement of opportunity is not the same for a seventh round selection as it is for a second round selection.
Being drafted, no matter what the round, is also not a bragging opportunity. It is a humility opportunity.
It is alright to take a little alone time with family to bask in the accomplishment, but that time should not extend beyond an hour or two, and should not extend beyond the home.
The real work, the responsibility that comes with being drafted is only just beginning. It begins with how you recognize that instead of being on the phone all day talking to your friends and posting on Twitter, you could be in the gym.
Athletes are built in the summer. Teams are built in the summer based upon how those athletes accept their responsibility. Championships are won in the spring after a long season, and we have a long way to go until spring.
For those of you fortunate enough to have been drafted this year, congratulations. Now go to work.
For those of you not fortunate enough to have been drafted this year, I am sorry for your disappointment. Now go to work.
For those of you hopping to be drafted next year, I hope you have a plan to enhance that opportunity. Now go to work.
There is nothing worse than having to put the player back together who has fallen to pieces because he didn’t live up to the “hype” of his draft. These reclamation projects are only successful 50% of the time.
Not everyone is meant to be drafted at any level. Some players are never drafted at any level. Some players are drafted everywhere. The thing both the drafted and undrafted player who make it have in common is that they have a plan and they put in the work.
If you don’t have a plan, you have no one to blame for your lack of success but yourself. If you don’t do the work according to that plan, you have no one to blame for your lack of success but yourself. “Making it” is a phrase used by those who are recognizing the player who put in the work, not the ones who just got lucky.
Right now there is an undrafted player out there with a plan who is working harder than a player that was drafted, and the undrafted player is the one who is going to “make it”.
Now I am sure a few of my clients are reading this, those that will be or have been drafted and those that were not, or will not. All of you have a plan, and now, get to work.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser