Mission Statement: What are reasonable expectations for your hockey player?
A major component of a players’ development as they get older is the ability of players to learn how to show up day in and day out and to be held accountable to a high standard.
Most players have the ability to bring enthusiasm to games and tournaments, but it is the day-to-day preparation and grind that nobody sees that truly creates well-rounded, mentally tough hockey players.
I always say players can control energy and attitude each time they come to the rink and that expectation needs to be held in the highest regard if players are truly going to max out each and every day to reach their fullest potential.
On many days, I have asked players to leave the ice that don’t bring that level of energy or attitude necessary to not only make themselves better, but be a positive piece to the team’s puzzle.
This approach is tough sometimes, but the result is an intense and high-paced productive practice that is pushing players on a daily basis.
Most of what we focus on daily is inner team competition, where they are competing against each other all the time. Once again, this requires daily focus and accountability to each player and the team as a whole.
This approach, in my opinion, is the single biggest reason we have had so many players move on to be junior hockey and college hockey captains. They have been taught early that the day-to-day work is not only necessary, but required in order to be a high-level athlete.
I saw so many players, even at the college level back when I was coaching Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, that lacked the ability to compete daily and push themselves when the “lights weren’t on,” so to speak.
Work ethic can be taught, in my opinion, if this is the standard that is set. Our teams take pride in working hard and being hard to play against, and it all stems from the daily expectation against each other.
I also believe and have seen how the mental toughness develops as kids start to embrace this day-to-day push. They show up knowing they need to be ready to go. Those who embrace it make insane strides day in and day out, as now they are competing daily to be the best they can be.
Work will always outlast skill.
Combine that work ethic with a player who shows up to compete every day and you have the mental toughness to push through adversity.
Well, folks, if you do all that, you have yourself a hockey player and more importantly, a foundation to be successful in life.
Jeremy Goltz is the director of hockey operations for Mission Arizona.