Day 5 – Building Blocks of Success

This is the fifth day of our team’s virtual mid-season training camp. Each day for the next 28 days, there will be a short assignment for you to do to continue your development. These assignments are mandatory for players and coaches. Parents are also encouraged to participate.

Yesterday, we talked about mapping the route you will follow to achieving your goal.

Map The Route: The first step to achieving any goal is to plan out how you will get there. Make a list of all the steps that you will need to complete to meet your goals. Map out the steps into a written plan, complete with deadlines and requirements.

Luckily, for our goal of “Becoming a Varsity Student Hockey Player”, there lots of guides we can follow. There are thousands of young women and men who are currently varsity student hockey players and there are hundreds of coaches who have helped them get there. And there are many times more who have completed their varsity hockey careers and moved on to be successful in every field imaginable.

Identify Your Building Blocks Of Success

When we’re creating our plan we need to identify the foundational building blocks that are necessary for us to succeed. Think of these as the countries on our map, or the places we’ll need to visit along the way to success.

Foundational Building Blocks For Varsity Student Hockey Players

  1. Academics
  • You cannot be a varsity student athlete if you’re not a good student.
  • The first question coaches will ask you when you are being recruited is, “How are your grades?”
  • What courses should I take in high school?
  • What are the academic skills I need to develop beyond the courses I’m taking? (Study skills, writing skills, test taking skills, scheduling, note taking, etc.)
  • Volunteering your time. Are there causes you’d like to support or volunteer activities that will help achieve your goals? Perhaps helping to coach younger players and teams.
  • Required level: What are the academic requirements for admission to the school and program that I want to attend?
  1. Relationship Skills
  • Family first!
  • Find and develop relationships with friends who will support your goals
  • Listening skills
  • Communication skills
  • Be coachable. How do I engage with my coaches, teachers and mentors?
  1. On-Ice Core Individual Skills
  • Each of these core skills would be broken down into dozens of sub-skills.
  • Skating
  • Stickhandling, puck protection and misdirection
  • Passing (goalies too)
  • Shooting (goalies too)
  • Checking
  • Hockey “engine” and drive – Can I develop tenacity and dogged determination?
  • Goalie movement
  • Goalie catcher
  • Goalie blocker
  • Required level: How strong do I need to be in each of these areas to play on a varsity team?
  1. In-Game Tactical and Strategic Skills
  • Scoring tactics and skills (ie. net drive, dekes, wrap-bang-bang, chili dip, etc.)
  • Defending tactics and skills (ie. angling, gap control, positioning, hanging a forechecker on the net, etc.)
  • Power play tactics and skills
  • Penalty kill tactics and skills
  • Breakouts
  • Zone entries
  • Neutral zone regroups
  • Give and go’s
  • Odd man rushes
  • Line changes
  • Positioning
  • Required level: How effective do I need to be in each of these areas to play on a varsity team? Can I specialize in some of these areas?
  1. Hockey Knowledge
  • Knowledge of the rules
  • Understanding the language, or “lingo” of the game
  • Understanding the strategies and tactics used in the game and when they might be most effective
  • Knowledge of the people and teams around the game
  • Coaching skills
  • Required level: Can I talk the game intelligently?
  1. Strength and Conditioning
  • Off-ice training to build strength, speed, power, and endurance
  • Strength training
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Speed training
  • Cross training
  • Required level: Fitness testing or required standards?
  1. Mental Preparation
  • Building mental resilience and toughness
  • Changing the channel
  • Staying focused
  1. Nutrition for Athletes
  • You are what you eat. Nutrition is the fuel that powers your body.
  • What to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Should I be taking vitamins or supplements?
  • Pre- and post- and in-game meals and nutrition
  1. Hydration
  • What to drink and what not to drink
  • When to drink
  1. Sleep, Rest and Recovery
  • Why consistent sleep is so important
  • The secrets to getting a good night’s sleep
  • Rest and recovery 
  1. Injury prevention and recovery
  • How to avoid injuries 
  • The difference between aches and pains and real injuries
  • Modifying your training when injured
  1. Finding The Right School, Program and Team For YOU
  • Finding programs and schools
  • Going to school in Ontario vs. the rest of Canada vs. the U.S.
  • How to compare and evaluate programs
  • School-first vs. Athletics-first programs
  • Understanding scholarship money. How much and how long?
  • Do they have openings for you?
  1. How To Get Recruited
  • How to contact coaches and get noticed
  • What coaches are looking for
  • How can I demonstrate that I can deliver on what they are looking for?
  • Putting together your athletic resume
  • Video for coaches
  • Campus visits and hockey camps
  • Interviewing tips. What questions should I be able to answer effectively?
  • How do these skills apply to transitioning between my minor hockey teams (ie. U15AA to U18AA, moving to a new centre, finding a new coach, etc.)

Going forward, we’ll start looking in depth at each of these building blocks.

Today’s Assignment:

For today…

  1. Complete today’s workout on the TeamBuildr app. Be sure to mark each exercise complete as you finish it.
  1. Choose one of the bullet points in the list above as a topic. Perhaps, Volunteering your time, Cardiovascular training, Listening skills, Staying focused, or Be coachable. You decide. Make a list of all the ideas, questions, sub-items, resources, books, references or thoughts you can think of on your topic. Your list should have between 10 and 15 items in it. If you come up with more than this shorten it down to the ones you think are most important or relevant. POST your answer to the team WhatsApp group.
  2. Can you think of any other foundational building blocks that you’d want to add to your list? No need to post your answer to this one unless you think it is something important that I’ve missed.