Special Guest Post…7 Ways To Play Hockey At The Next Level

Hope your week is chugging along nicely.  Is it just me or does it feel like the summer is flying by.  I cannot believe that we are quickly approaching mid-July.  Back in the winter Brian D’Accord from Stop It Goaltending phoned to ask if I would be willing to come down to run a few off-ice sessions for his Men’s Prospects Camp at Merrimack College in Massachusetts (wow never realized how hard it was to spell that word!).  I gladly volunteered to head down for a few days and at the time it seemed so far away.  Well Sunday is the day I leave.  Guess it is true – time flies when you are having fun.

Most of you have heard me mention the coach who has been working with me since February – Tyler Doig.  He has been an amazing addition to the Revolution Team and I am impressed every week with how he has fine tuned his coaching skills.  His attitude for coaching is exactly the same attitude that got him playing in the OHL (as a walk on) and ultimately playing pro hockey.

I thought it would be great for you to hear a different perspective from time to time and Tyler is keen to help any hockey player who is willing to do the work.  He is a skater, so that is his primary area of interest (so if you are a skater and have a question, just post it in the comments section below and we will get to work posting an answer for you) but his guest post today speaks to all of you who are trying to make that next step.  So check it out and be sure to “Like” it at the bottom of the post to show Tyler he did a great job.

7 Ways to Create Your Own Chances To Play At The Next Level

I know some of you found yourself clicking that refresh button on your computer impatiently waiting for your name to show up during the most recent draft.  Some of you will have to deal with the anguish of getting cut from the team all your friends are going to play for.  Your friends and even your family will not know how badly it hurts because you will not let them see it, but I know it is devastating.  I know because I have been there, and I have dealt with those feelings.

Going undrafted to the OHL I was one of those kids who was stuck in a world of my own clicking that refresh button waiting for my name to show up, it never happened. I went on to play two years of Jr B hockey before I finally got my opportunity to play in the OHL – and that is all it was – an opportunity, an invite to camp.

My story had a happy ending, after playing three years for the Guelph Storm I signed my first professional contract with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. I played four years professional hockey before deciding it was time to take on new challenges in my life.  As a strength and conditioning coach my new challenge is helping athletes get to their highest level.

My story is probably exactly the same as many of you – you think your dreams are crushed at a young age but let me tell you about how you can create your own second chance. I can sympathize with many of you who have went through (or will go through) this experience and I am going to give you a few secrets that will help you overcome this type of distress, disillusion and despair.  I am going to show you how to create YOUR own chance to get to the next level.

  1. Train Like A Hockey Player – Get on a hockey specific workout program. Either through your own coach/trainer or, through a proven coach/trainer who provides one online.
  2. Quality not Quantity- Working out 7 days a week for 5 hours at a time is not going to be beneficial. The body needs rest and time to recover, find that happy medium where your output in the gym is quality work.
  3. Get on the Ice- Every city or every town has quality hockey players skating together at all ages. Find out where those skates are and get involved. Practicing and skating at a high level during the off season will only lead to success as pre season camps roll around.  You should be on the ice 1-2 times per week and don’t waste your time just scrimmaging with your buddies, work on your skating skills, passing skills and shooting skills too.
  4. Positivity- Every athlete is going to have a few bumps in the road. Use rejection as motivation. Work as hard as you can to prove everyone who doubted you and your ability wrong.
  5. Go the extra inch- No matter what level you want to get to; JrB, OHL, AHL, NHL, every player is working hard to make that jump just like you are. What is going to set you apart from everyone else is going the extra inch. Doing those 8am hill runs and shuttle sprints, even when you are having a day when your motivation is suffering will pay off.  Everyone has days when they don’t feel like doing the work – EVERYONE, the athletes who distinguish themselves are the ones who do it anyway.
  6. Five P’s- Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance- Preparing yourself to the best of your ability is going to give you the best opportunity to make that jump to the next level, and help you stay there.
  7. Don’t Waste Time- You don’t want to waste your time and money playing on summer select teams or summer all-star teams. Stick to the plan, and that is preparing yourself for the level you want to play at. Stay consistent in your hockey specific workouts, stay on the ice and don’t stray away from what is going to give you the BEST chance to get to the next level.

Coaches, teammates, friends and parents can all have an impact on your hockey career, but ultimately you are the one who is responsible for your successes.  So control what you can control and let the rest take care of itself.