Every season, many players are looking forward. Whether they are at U16 or the USHL it really makes little difference. Your current level of play is simply a label as to where you are as a developing young player. Some develop faster than others, and some simply plateau at an earlier age.
Players who look forward though, before mastering where they are in their current development position, are those players who typically become the most frustrated. They become problematic for coaches, parents and quite often for themselves.
Players who look forward with patience and understanding of the development process though are a completely different story.
Mastering your current situation and dominating in that stage of development is the only metric needed to obtain clearer vision looking forward.
If you are a U16 player who is not dominating at U16, how are you realistically envisioning playing in the USHL at 17 years of age? If you are a U18 player who is not dominating at the U18 level, how can you expect to play Tier II next season? If you are a junior player thinking you are ready to commit to an NCAA program, but you are in and out of the lineup and only 19 years old, how can you think you are ready for NCAA hockey?
The approach being taken by players, and many parents is simply not going to produce the results they aspire to achieving.
If you repeat what you did last year, how can you reasonably expect to achieve different results? If you do not change your approach to things, nothing will change.
Just in the last 48 hours I have spoken to more than a dozen families and their players. Most of them have complaints about their current situation, some of them justified. Many of them want to skip steps in the process, or do not understand the process. Several of them simply do not understand the process.
Everything begins with accepting your current position, and then creating a plan to rise from that position. If you cannot accept where you are, then you cannot move forward. Your decisions in the past are what lead you to where you are today. If those choices lead you to where you are, why would you repeat them? Accept that and move on.
Mastering, or dominating where you currently are in your career is the first key to getting to the next level. Stop whining about where you are, and just do something about it to prove you do not belong there.
If you think you deserve something, prove it. Earn it. Show people every shift that they are overlooking you or have made a mistake. Don’t sit and point fingers anymore.
Develop a plan to reach a new level and implement that plan. That begins with recognizing the past and accepting it, not by blaming others or repeating what you did last year.
It is now the end of November. Every team at the next level up is already well into preparing for next season. They are scouting and recruiting already. If you are not capitalizing on this now, then you are behind everyone else who is already positioning themselves for next season.
If you think you are going to wait for camp invites and tryouts, then you are going to be at least six months behind players and families who have a plan. Unless you are the top performer on your team, near the top of your league, you are not simply going to be seen and moved up the ladder. It takes a plan.
When you are ready to change your future, I will look forward to talking to you.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser