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Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – The Growing Season Has Started

dressing room

Ah yes, I am back to the rinks on a daily basis.  To be sure Autumn is in the air, the nights are colder and the leaves are starting to change.

The start of the season is often like spring.  Everything is new and fresh, returning players for teams are often like the annual plants we see bloom every spring.  Of course there are the new players, much like the new plants and trees we will watch grow throughout a summer.  Unfortunately too there are the weeds.

Weeds can not be anticipated so much.  When I purchased some grass seed this past spring, the package actually said that a certain percentage of the seed would have some “unwanted” weed seed.  I found this so funny to read until I was speaking with the coach who is a friend over this weekend.

It does not take long for a person who is trained in growing players, or growing a garden to recognize weeds.  As my friend and I spoke about the team he is growing, his farming past made me think of our player growing season.

Some times as the coach you hope to have a bumper crop of the players.  Some of course will grow better than others, and some will not grow at all.  The key is in the percentage of the success in growing.  It is in the picking of the good seeds and looking out for the weeds.

My friend was telling me to about a player who had all the potential to be a dominating player, a leader on and off the ice.  But he was also telling me how that player was taken from a garden full of weeds, and that the weeds had infected his roots.  The player with bad roots had allowed some of that infection to teravel with him to the new garden and was now infecting that new garden.

This conversation went on for some time.  We discussed possible remedies, and how much potential the player had to grow if we could find a rememdy.  In the end though, the coach made the decision to remove the “weed” before the weed spread to other non infected areas.  The coach was willing to sacrifice the high potential in order to have a greater yeild in his entire crop of players.

Of course not all of us are farmers.  The moral of the story is that players need to leave bad experiences behind them.  You must look to the future by learning from the mistakes of the past, not allowing those mistakes to move forward with you.

Talent will only take you so far.  Many talented players never achieve what they could because they are considered “weeds”.  No one wants weeds in their garden.


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