player tips

28

November

Great Advice From An Elite Athlete

Posted by Greg Carter
Hockey Camp

I was recently talking with an elite athlete who shared some important advice he had received from his parents:

To play the game is good,
To win the game is better,
To love the game is best of all.

I left the conversation thinking about all of the great players that I have had the pleasure of playing with or coached, and about those who have made it to the Division I level and beyond. Without exception, they all loved the game. Some of them are listed in our hockey camp Hall of Fame.

Youth hockey players, especially as they mature and reach the top of the pyramid, have many influences, and many people trying to give them advice. “You need to do this, and you need to do that.”

This is where one can find the defining fine line between needing to do something, and doing it because you love the game. 

For example, I can remember being at hockey school and receiving instruction on how to improve my shot. I spent many hours working on developing the best shot I possibly could. Yes, I needed to do this, but that’s not why I did it. I practiced shooting until I literally could not shoot another puck because I loved the thought of scoring the winning goal. I loved the thought of the on-ice celebration afterwards. I loved the thought of laughing and having fun in the room after a win with my buddies. And all of these feelings are why I loved the game way back then, and still today.

The encouragement that I received from people closest to me was always centered around the joys of competition, and the satisfaction of coming out on top. Things like ‘hockey is a game of ten-foot races, win the races and you stand a good chance of winning the game.” When someone said that to me, I took that as an opportunity to work hard on my speed. Again, not because someone told me that I had to, but because I wanted to win so bad, and wanted to feel the exhilaration that comes along with it. When you love something the compete level is at its greatest, as are your chances of success.

No one can teach a player to love the game, instead it has to come naturally and with positive encouragement. Teaching versus preaching is important.  Focusing on long-term development versus short-term gain is critical. Car rides home discussing the fun atmosphere of a game, the excitement of the speed and appreciation of the finesses are things that create the emotional connection with a player to the game. And once that positive emotional connection is made, and a vision of that player being in the moment is created, a great future can be built on the foundation.

As you continue down the road this winter with your son or daughter, remember that to play the game is good, to win the game is better, and to love the game is best of all.

 

16

November

Greg Carter Hockey Camp

One of my former coaches used to say that if you stay in the moment, good things can happen. I’ve always believed and preached this coaching games when my team is both leading as well as behind, but especially when we are behind by several goals. I was reminded of this former coach after watching an absolutely incredible finish to a recent high school football that made national news.

The game was between two teams from Minnesota. With one minute left in this quarterfinal state tournament game, Maple Grove High School was down by 19 points.

Game over, right?

As fans were heading for the exits, Maple Grove scored a touchdown to make it 27-16 with 59 seconds left in the game. Failed onside kick, and game over, right?

Maple Grove recovered the onside kick and had the ball at mid-field. Ok, interesting, but they still need to score a touchdown, and even if they do, they are still down by five points, and will be kicking off with little or not time remaining. A quick pass led to another touchdown, and suddenly the score was 27-22 with 46 seconds left.

Ok, at this point, it’s been a great story, but there’s no way a football team can successfully execute another onside kick, right? And even if they miraculously did, they would still need another touchdown.

Incredibly, this team recovered another onside kick, and once again had the ball around mid-field. A few pass plays got them down near the goal line, and the next play they ran in their third touchdown in a minute. Pandemonium ensued, and I’m sure sometime later that night the reality of what they had accomplished set in.

In our last blog we talked talked about the awesome baseball we saw during the World Series this year, and about the importance of believing in your own game. We asked the question about when the game is on the line, do you believe and dig down, and think of all of your time, energy and training, and confidently know that you can win.

This football game brought up another important aspect of this, which is not just believing that you have the talent to win, but also and just as importantly, staying in the moment and doing your job.

It would have been very easy for the kicker of this high school football team, down by two touchdowns and thinking the game is over, to not concentrate on the first onside kick. Instead, he executed it flawlessly, as if that kick was going to win the game. He stayed in the moment!

It would have been equally easy for the quarterback to then take the field, still knowing a comeback was nearly impossible, and to lose focus on the plays and passes.

These players stayed in the moment, and even after converting one successful onside kick into a touchdown, did it again, this time to finish a comeback like football fans had never witnessed, and may very well never see again!

Whether you are on the winning side of a game, or the losing side, this wild finish is a great reminder to never lose focus, and regardless of the score, to play hard and do your job until the final second ticks off the clock.

Great coaches leave lasting impressions, and that old coach of mine always taught me to stay in the moment, and I’ve got a feeling both of the teams that participated in this wild game will never forget that same lesson!

We hope you are off to a great start to your season. All of our 2018 summer school dates and locations will be finalized soon. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with family and friends and remember, if you stay in the moment, good things can happen!