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An Advisers Life – The Right Approach To Camp Participation – According To Scouts

I want to thank a long time OHL and OJHL Scout, and AAA Head Coach for reaching out and inspiring me to write this piece. I would also like to thank the other scouts who, when contacted, replied with their thoughts on this very important topic.

As players head to camps this summer, whether they are main camps, or identification camps, or any other type of camp, it is important to understand what scouts are looking for, and why.

Before you arrive at check in, make sure to make a good first impression. Don’t show up looking like you just rolled out of bed, or couldn’t have bothered to take a shower and comb your hair. Players who look like homeless people attract the wrong kind of attention. Players who look like they are ready to go to work, attract the right kind of attention. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure you make the most of your opportunities.

One scout said this about what to do when camp begins;

“The players need to remember, invited or not, they need to do things to get noticed and play with a lot more urgency and intensity with no fear of penalties or suspensions – there are likely no suspensions for anything you do in a rookie/development camp anyway – the referees are not likely to be in a situation where they are being evaluated so they will not be as sharp or calling the game as tightly, and development camp coaches, are not going to short anyone any ice for having taken a penalty.  Now, while we are teaching kids respect for one another and to never do anything with an intent to injure another athlete and I fully condone that new found respectful approach in our game, players absolutely need to play with an intensity that will show their desire to play at that next level.”

In short, get noticed. Find a way to make something happen.

Another scout made this comment;

“Players need to think about how they interact with coaches and other players. How you communicate and how you are open to suggestions can show you are intelligent and coachable. No one wants players who can not communicate effectively.”

In short, act like and adult, and you will be treated like an adult.

Also along these lines, I would add, be aware of your body language. Coaches are very observant of body language on and off the ice. Smashing sticks on the ice, showing visible frustration, and being negative are huge red flags. Any of these behaviors observed by scouts will likely get you eliminated from making the team. Far too much money is being spent on teams today to risk having a player with a bad attitude infecting the room, regardless of how talented that player may or may not be.

Finally, come prepared. Make sure you have extra sticks, tape, wax, extra laces, extra steel, and anything else you could possibly need. Scouts get very upset when a player has to leave the ice for an extended period of time, or has to leave camp because they did not com prepared for an emergency equipment issue.

Once you begin to become more aware of yourself and your surroundings, you will begin to see how everything impacts your opportunities to advance. Everything matters. So the next time you show up to a camp make sure you are ready for what scouts want. Not what you want, because you are not making the decisions.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser

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