Development. Every program talks about it. Only a few really deliver. The problem for you parents and players is distinguishing between real development and “hype”.
As a Family Adviser, its my job to put players in the best position possible to develop into the best athlete they can become. In doing that, the goal through development is to obtain an NCAA scholarship.
So, what really is “Development”?
Lets start by defining what “Development” is NOT.
Development is NOT about winning games or championships. It is not about getting fans in the seats. It is not about the “cool dressing room”. It is not about the “cool jerseys” or the “player apparel package”.
Development is NOT about what any coach can do with his top line players who are so naturally gifted that they are going to continue up the development ladder unless they screw up so bad it ruins their career. A rookie coach can coach top line players already on the recruiting radar because they are just that good.
“Development” real “Development” is seen in what an organization does with its third and fourth line players. It is seen from the team perspective of how large a percentage of every team moves on to higher levels, and not just the supremely gifted players.
The US NTDP, proves this “Development” definition. Yes, they are all very talented. But there is a difference between the top lines and the third an fourth lines that is noticeable. This is where the definition still holds true.
When you are looking at teams this year when deciding where to sign, take this team depth development definition into your thought process.
Look at the actual number of practices and games. Twice as much practice as games is the recipe for successful development.
If you are practicing twice a week maybe three times a week, this is not serious development.
If you do not have required gym and film time, this is not development.
You get one shot at this. Right now many of you think that your 21st birthday is a long ways away. Its not. This opportunity you have to develop will be over in the blink of an eye.
Start thinking. Stop reacting to pressure to sign or pressure to go to a certain program. If you are on a big time program and you are a third or fourth liner, you better have a great track record of team development depth.
Pay attention to details. Stop thinking about the prestige of being a fourth line player on a big name program. Start thinking about what it would be like to get a chance at first or second line minutes. Start thinking about how much better you will get with a highly structured program environment.
This time in your life is precious. Your development and your chance at a successful result in your hockey career is also sudden death over time. Make the right choices, don’t fall for the hype.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser