It is that time of the year that players and parents are planning the tryout camps and summer showcase schedule. The scouts have been active, the coaches have been recruiting and many players are signing and committing to the programs at many levels.
So when I see the player who is recruited by the AAA, junior and sometimes the college programs, look at the program like they deserve better I have to ask myself why?
This weekend I see several examples of players looking down on a program as if he deserves better when he really does not.
I watch as the NCAA D-3 coach talks to a player about his program and the player is not enthused or excited because he thinks he is a D-1 player. I hear him when he walks away from the coach, and the coach hears him too say to his father “I don’t want to play there, I will wait for something better.”
This player is not a D-1 player and will not be. What happens when no D-1 offer comes? What happens if no other D-3 offers come? Can he look in the mirror then and say he screwed up? Probably not.
I see another player being recruited by a very good Tier III team. Player says he wants to play NAHL when he is not NAHL ready and probably wont ever be an NAHL player. Tier III coach is honest and says he is probably second line player for him, and then parent says “we want top line minutes”.
I recently watched a player recruited by an OHL team say he wants top minutes when he was not even a draft pick. He is a third or fourth line role player at best this season. He turns down coach to play last year of midget instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to get an extra year of university paid for. This player might be a second line player in a year or two and is not on the NHL radar. His parents work on a farm and do not have a lot of money to pay for university, so was this the good decision?
I watched other players turn down a great opportunity to play AAA hockey because it was a “new” program. When none of these players were being recruited by established programs, why would they not take this opportunity?
Seeing yourself clearly is critical to recognizing the opportunity.
If you are the best player on the ice all the time everywhere you play, you can be more picky. If you are not, then you can not be picky, it is that simple.
Parents need to start being realistic. If your player is not the top player every season, it is not the teams fault. He is simply not the top player, not everyone can be.
Players need to stop listening to when parents say you should be at higher level. Parent in almost every case can not be objective in player assessment.
When opportunity knocks, it is usually a pretty good idea to open the door, especially at this time of year. If someone knocks on you door, will you be there to answer? Or, will you keep waiting for the “better opportunity”?