Right now, nearly every player and parent is thinking about how they can take the next step, next season. Every year, a new crop of families has to figure out this process. Unfortunately, very few are successful.
Whether you are moving up from U16 to 18, from 18 to junior, or junior to college hockey, there will be challenges in front of you. It is how you prepare for those challenges that will either make a difference or not.
For those of you who have been trying to move up the ladder for a year or more and who have had no success, the advice is the same as for those that are just now making their first efforts to become a more high profile prospect.
When walking, unless walking backward, you are always leaving ground behind you. You cannot walk forward for any real distance while looking behind you. If you try this, eventually you will run into something or someone that will stop you.
This is the same in planning your career path in hockey. You cannot move forward while looking back.
The other absolute truth is that if you do what you have done in the past, following the same path, you will be walking in circles. Repeating what you have done already, will not bring a different result tomorrow.
Every year, every “off season”, your plan should be adapting to what transpired in the prior season, and then working the updated plan.
If you went to Camp A and did not have success, why would you go back to the same camp when you got the same email every other player in the country received? It makes absolutely no sense to repeat the past and expect different results.
If coaches at the next level are telling you to get bigger, faster and stronger, how will that happen if you are on the summer camp tour? It won’t, and that is just a physiological fact.
If you were a goalie splitting time with another goalie and were not the clear number one, what makes you think you will be next year? What makes you believe that attending a camp with 30 or more goalies that you will stick out enough and become the one the team chooses?
If you were a third or fourth line guy not putting up points, without scouts talking to you all season, what makes you think that suddenly those scouts at one camp will change their minds?
Lets just be realistic here for a little while. Lets take a calm and rational look at where you as a player fit in at the next level. Not over selling ourselves, or over valuing what we bring to the table. But an honest evaluation of what can be a benefit to a team at the next level, and how that can benefit you as you climb higher.
It is important to do this. It is exactly what coaches are doing when they watch and evaluate you. By going through this exercise, you save yourself a lot of time, money and disappointment.
When you look forward, and move forward, you take calculated steps. You keep an eye on the periphery, but you keep moving forward until something gets in your path. Then you recalculate, and keep moving forward. In theory it is the same way Google maps is supposed to work.
The question now becomes; how do you start moving forward?
Information. Real time, accurate information is what will allow you to move forward and plan appropriately. If you do not have that information, or are unsure, then you better find a way to get it.
A good adviser will have it. A good adviser isn’t going to be sending you on the camp circuit. A good adviser will help get you into a position when you have information and can then make educated and informed decisions that will have a much higher probability of achieving success.
When you are ready to take these steps forward, I will be interested in talking to you.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser