With my clients at Hockey Talent Management, putting them in a position to be a dominant player at their age specific level, is critical for their long and short term success.
Today, far too many players are trying to “play up”, or rush the development process because they “think” they know what is best or they know where they “should” be. The harsh reality in most cases is that players and parents really do not know what’s best or where they should be in order to advance.
Here are just a few examples of dominating players;
Phil Kessel U16 286 points in 86 games, 158 points in 71 U18 games.
John Tavares U15 187 points in 90 games, 158 points in 72 games at U16.
Sidney Crosby 193 points in 74 games at u18.
I could go on and on with probably another hundred or so modern-day examples. Yes. These are exceptionally talented players. Without exception though, each dominated in his age group. Not one of them attempted to rush the process.
So why are so many of you trying to do things differently than the most obvious successful way? Why do so many of you think you know better than the experts? Better than people who have been working with players for decades?
If you knew what you were doing, you would have already been successful.
Sorry. I know that is hard for some of you to read. Sometimes the truth hurts, and always it is best to recognize what you are doing is not working before you run out of time.
There are reasons why we have age specific programing. Every one of those reasons stems from the core belief that the best way to find and develop talented players is to see which players are dominating their peers. It really is that simple.
When I hear about 16 yr old players moving up to play Tier 3, being in and out of the lineup, not getting a lot of ice time, and not getting a lot of puck touches, I go right back to age specific programming.
What could that young player do against other players his age? How many minutes and opportunities would he get if he were not competing against players 2, 3 or 4 years older than him?
Sorry. But coaches telling players that its better to play that kind of role at Tier 3 are simply full of shit. And now the hate emails will come.
There are proven paths, proven methods, and proven ways to create the right environment for success. Not one of those includes rushing the process.
So, as we prepare to end this season, and move on to the next. What are you going to do to change and make your opportunity more realistic?
When you’re ready to get serious about taking advantage of opportunity, I will look forward to hearing from you.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser