Patience. It is a word that few hockey players want to hear, and in many if not most cases, it is a word they do not want to understand.
Even my own clients need to be reminded from time to time. But yesterday I had a potential client call, and he is a fantastic player at 16 years old, a very nice D-1 prospect playing AAA right now. He was also a very angry young player because he was not getting the same opportunity that an 18 year old team mate is getting.
I understood his frustration, yet, he still didn’t want to hear the truths about hockey development time lines that most coaches will not talk about publicly.
Being a parent, or coach, in the internet age is a difficult thing. For many young people the definition of being patient is for them to wait for a video game to download. Some young people cant even stand a slow internet speed.
While the internet has been great for many things, it has not been good for teaching young people the benefits of being patient.
In hockey, patience is critical. There are many types of patience in this game. Patience with the puck, patience without the puck in letting the play develop, and patience with how your career develops as a player.
Over the years I have helped more than 500 players move on to junior, NCAA, or professional hockey. The best ones always understood what it meant to be patient.
Many times as an Adviser, Coach, General Manager, Scout, or in another decision making position, we hear players being frustrated by not getting to a certain position or level when they feel they are ready to be at that level.
The one thing all players need to understand is that you will get to the next level when the decision makers say you are ready. Not when you, or your parents think you are ready.
To put it bluntly, your opinion doesn’t count. Your parents opinion doesn’t count. No one cares who you played with last year. It doesn’t matter if you think you are better or just as good as a player who made the team or moved to the next level.
Was what I said mean? Did it hurt your feelings? Are you angry at me for telling you the truth? If you are, then you may as well prepare yourself for more frustration, and to be angry with a lot more people who make decisions in this game.
You will make the next level when someone else decides you are ready. Prepare yourself to wait for that to happen. Be patient.
If you are 18 and complaining that you didn’t make Tier I or Tier II but you were just as good as the 20 year old who did, stop your complaining. The 20 year old player waited his turn to move up, and now its time for you to wait for yours.
The next level is not just about how good you are as a player. Unless you are one of the top players in the world in your age group, you are going to have to wait your turn. Be patient.
Why would any coach take an 18 year old over a 19 or 20 year old who has waited his turn if all other things are equal? Because he is more mentally mature, and he has waited his turn. He has paid his dues, and he has been patient.
When people in decision making positions hear you complaining about these things, you are simply proving them right. Its the impatient, younger players who simply don’t understand that they have to wait and that they are not in control of their upward mobility.
Its time for parents to be patient and understand as well. When your child gets cut from six different Tier I or Tier II teams, get a clue and understand he is not ready. Don’t take him to a seventh camp.
Stop trying to force things to happen. If you are working with the right people, you will be put in positions where things will naturally happen.
Be patient. Put yourself in a position to make the best of this season to use it as a building block for the next season. When you understand that patience is critical, planning is vital, and accepting how the process works, you will be less frustrated.
For more information on the process feel free to email
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser