Posted by Greg Carter
I have a friend in Minnesota, the Great State of Hockey, who loves spending time in the summer on the open water as much as he does in the winter playing hockey on the frozen ponds. Stories of catching walleyes during the months of May and June are told with as much enthusiasm as scoring goals in January and February. When the calendar turns to mid-July and August however – the dog days of summer – fishing slows down, but that is when he gets the most excited!
As the water temperature heats up in the late summer, the fish become a bit lethargic and can be difficult to find. For those who are able to find fish, that is when the real game begins, which is getting them to take the bait. As my friend tells me, for the most part, he used to buy the same bait, use a similar presentation and fish some of the same spots, regardless of the time of year. As he became a more experienced fisherman, he tried new techniques, new lures and new spots on the lake.
As he put it, most fisherman don’t really put in the time to try new things, they are sort of stuck in the same old way of doing things, and the result is very few fish finding their way into the frying pan. My friend spent many winter hours reading about tactics that he was unfamiliar with, watching YouTube videos of professionals, and studying new ways to catch fish during the ‘slow’ months. And once he invested time and energy into exploring and learning, he found a better, more productive way to fish, and now looks forward to this time of year, when the boat traffic is less, and the abundance of fish has increased.
For hockey players, this fisherman’s story is no different than the hockey season. There will be that part of the season that is the ‘grind’, when you are physically and mentally tired. You have already played a lot of games and you still have a lot to go, plus playoffs!
The question is, what are you doing now, during the off-season, to prepare for the grind, or the dog days of the season. Are you, like this fisherman, preparing yourself so that when the team needs you most, you are able to step up and bring your best effort.
Players who prepare now, trying new moves, perfecting their stride, shooting pucks on a regular basis, they are the players who will outperform the opponents during the season, just as my friend is out fishing nearly everyone on the lake. It takes dedication and commitment during the off-season to not just hit the ice this fall in great shape, but perhaps more importantly, to carry your team through the tough stretches of the season.
As my friend from the State of Hockey put it, ‘It’s amazing how many people just quit fishing this time of year, because it’s so hot, or because the fish just aren’t biting. The fish are always biting, you just have to find the right presentation.’
Work hard this summer, train with a purpose and you will be ready for the mid-season grind when, like many fishermen, many hockey players go through a slump. Train hard and be ready to take advantage of the opportunity, because when everyone else slows down, the best players speed up.
Good luck and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!
Click here for a full list of our remaining summer hockey schools.