There are 5 questions that every young hockey player looking to reach the highest level of their sport must ask themselves. The answers to these questions will reveal whether a player has what it takes to be great or if they are just satisfied with being good.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing for "the love of the game" only, that isn't what this is about. This is about having your best hockey season ever and taking your game to the next level.
If you are the coach or parent of an aspiring young hockey player, pass these questions along to your players. Their answers will tell both you and them a lot and help you focus your efforts and energy appropriately.
How badly do you really want to be great? Do you just talk about it or are you doing what it takes on a daily basis to be great? Are you warming-up before every ice session? Are you taking the time to work on your mental game? Are you eating the right kinds of food to fuel your best performance? Some players want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others MAKE it happen by doing all of the "little" things on a consistent basis.
What are you willing to do until you get it? What are you willing to sacrifice? Many players say they want to make the NHL or play for the National Team, and that's great. But do you know what steps you are going to take in order to get there? Do you know what you need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, annual basis to reach that ultimate goal?
In order to become a great player, you have to make the choice to be great. You may have to go to bed early when your friends are out at a movie. You may have to tell your friends that you can't hang out because you need to train. Are you willing to make those choices?
How much time and effort do you really want to invest into it? To be great at anything takes time. How much time do you put into working on your game away from the rink? Be honest with yourself. Are you really ready to invest the time necessary to be a great player? There is no substitute for hard work. Are you willing to do that work?
Why do you want it? Do you want to be great so people notice you? Do you want to be great to be famous? Do you want to be great to make money? Do you want to be great so that you can help others? Whatever it is, you need to know why. Why do you do what you do on a daily basis to be great? What is it that motivates you?
This might be the most important question of all. Is hockey your true passion? Because it is your passion that is going to drive you. It is what keeps you going when times get tough. Things will not always be easy. The road is going to get rocky, and if you do not love what you are doing, you will quit. If you do not have a passion for becoming the best, you will throw in the towel. You really need to ask yourself, "Is this what I truly love to do?"
The road to becoming the next "great one" is not easy. By answering these 5 questions, aspiring young hockey players can make sure that they are on the right path from the start.
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