Tough Season? No Problem!
Posted by Greg Carter
Mid-season can be a challenging time of year for players, coaches and parents. It’s that in between time when the hype and anticipation of the new season has worn off, and although the playoffs are on the horizon, the next few weeks can be a bit of a grind. This can be especially true for players who just aren’t quite having the season they expected.
We have written about the importance of setting goals at the start of the season, and that development is a marathon, not a sprint. This is the time of year to remind yourself of these goals and that this is one season and one moment in time when regardless of how good, bad or average things are going, there is a ton of opportunity down the road, be it the next game, tournament or season!
Many coaches take the opportunity at this juncture to provide mid-season evaluations that should give players some specific examples of successes, as well as areas that need improvement. This feedback should be the motivation for players to refocus and get energized for the homestretch of the season and beyond.
Every team needs positive players who work hard and bring energy to practices and games. As the old saying goes, there is no substitute for hard work, and the best way to get the results that you want is exactly that, working as hard as you possibly can during each and every practice.
Changing the way things are going on the ice can also start with changing habits off of the ice. For example, if you aren’t scoring as many goals as you anticipated, try shooting pucks for 30 minutes prior to going to the rink. If you don’t feel like you have the energy or quickness you need during the game, try changing your warm up routine and pay attention to the types of food and drink you are consuming prior to the game.
Finally, I like to tell the story of a very successful coach who addressed our team prior to a big game by saying “In order to be good, you first have to believe that you are good.” While that is a relatively simple statement, it’s extremely meaningful in that players who enter games and practices with a positive mindset are well positioned to achieve the success they anticipate.
So as you start to enter the final stretch of your season, bring a great ‘can-do’ attitude with an excellent work ethic and you will help your team skate home with the hardware!