5 MiNUTE MiNOR
Once, during a peewee game, a team mate of mine and I switched jerseys (and identities) for the final period. As if they all would've been utterly dumbfounded, we both howled at the prospect of fooling our parents. Afterwards, my father asked me why I thought that was a good idea. After explaining to him that it was just for fun, he said something that still resonates with me to this day. "No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, someone important is always watching you".
Back then, it wasn't quite a revelation for me, but now I know those words to be the absolute truth. He was neither upset, nor attempting to lecture me. My father was the most encouraging, mind-mannered and realistic parent of which any, aspiring, young athlete could have hoped to have. Having been a former collegiate all-american and professional athlete himself, he had a firm understanding of the dedication it takes to achieve your dreams. Because of his personal success, he had no desire to live vicariously through his children's. For that, I (and my little brother) am eternally thankful.
He was, and still is, an amazing coach and teacher that did specialize in sharing intricate and vital information in a positive and non-threatening manner. A manner that I have taken with me around the world and am thankful to have been blessed with every time I step on the ice. Because of the wise words and calm approach of my father, I now have a firm understanding that no matter where I am, what I'm doing or who I'm skating with, someone important is always watching.
Someone important is always watching you
Not everyone gets a chance to start over... and even fewer are able to do so with a head start. After spending the better part of eleven years creating one of the most comprehensive atmospheres in the training game, I consider myself remarkably lucky to have been placed in this new position. Since high school, I have been obsessed with hockey and the creative process of which it entails. Because of that obsession, I have spent thousands of hours all over the United States and Europe helping players reach their true potential.
It all started at an outdoor rink (Brye park - Bloomington, MN) my freshman year. A fellow local rink rat's dad admired my presence and creativity and offered me a few bucks to teach his son how to stick handle (and maybe throw in a few funky moves as well). Might as well have told my guidance counselor to go fly a kite right then and there. I had officially found what I was put on this planet to do. From that moment on, whether it be junior, college or professionally, every off-season was spent on the ice teaching, building, learning and refining my craft. A craft that takes a lifetime of dedication to master. As we all know, "you can't teach experience".
My obsession lies within the creative process. In fact, I have no ambition to train or work with anyone that doesn't want to get their hands dirty. The process is where character is built and strong character is an essential key to our success in every walk of life.
True leaders understand this order of success in life/training and they concern themselves with the process. They don't squabble over attention or popularity. They know, that the good of the group outweighs any assumed position, ego or personal gain. In some rare instances, it is understood that the good of the group is actually the game of hockey itself. When coaches and players strive to reach beyond their limits and raise the previously set bar, the game's ceiling will surely follow suit.
The game evolves by creatively pushing ahead and not by replicating past successes.
Every year, coaches, facilities and training programs are bombarded by people trying to sell them the next best thing-a-ma-jig. They always claim that it's sure to make you a better hockey player because of whatever data they've manipulated to fit their narrative. While I do believe that practicing more often may improve your game*, I do not believe that any specific gear or the summation of massive hours on ice directly equates to your success.
Until they invent a machine that turns an 80 lb. 12 year old into a 220 lb. 19 year old cyborg, I refuse to attribute any player's success to an apparatus or newfangled contraption. While I may vouch for the usefulness of a select few of these devices, nearly all of them have always been and always will be sales tactics. Remember that 10,000 hour rule and how it was discredited by its own author in regard to team sports shortly after people within the training community started taking advantage of it as a data-based sales tactic?
Salespeople and consumers love their data. They want to alleviate the immeasurable and be able to prove that if x does y then z will automatically happen every time, but that just isn't the case with humans. Stop and think about that 10,000 hour selling point's brilliance for a moment. If you worked on one skill for 600 hours over the course of one year (which is a ton!) it would take you over 16 years to hit 10,000 hours. Now, think of how many dollars that would have cost before you realized it might have been a hoax. Do you think that your child would be the definitive master of his craft or completely burned out midway through those 16 years?
I'll leave you with this. We all love our children and would do anything to provide them with an opportunity to achieve their dreams, but buyers beware. My uncle once told me this about used cars, "If it's for sale, got a sweet pair of rims and a shiny new paint job, rest assured, it's garbage underneath the hood". So if you're looking for substance, be wary of big, shiny new gadgets. Find someone you trust...and enjoy the ride!
*all relative to age and physical and mental maturity