Don’t Let Your Teammates Down

As we have talked to more and more coaches it has become apparent that there is a single red thread that runs through the process of being recruited to a university or college team.

It is very simple. It just boils down to the following…

“Don’t Let Your Teammates Down.”

A simple phrase that runs deep.

Most athletes and their parents will immediately believe that this means having a great attitude. If you ask them to create a list of things that you can do in order to become a player that does not let your teammates down they often come up with elements like effort and attention . Discipline often makes their list, as does being truthful, having integrity and being selfless.

What rarely makes the list are elements like:

  • “Am I eating properly?”
  • “Am I working hard at my academics?”
  • “Am I following the team rules?”
  • “Am I getting enough sleep?”
  • “Am I behaving in a manner befitting my team at school, in public, at home?”
  • “Am I being kind even when nobody is looking?”
  • “Am I always respectful of others?”
  • “Am I always trying to be a good person?”

The world is filled with talented people who never achieved their dreams. There is no shortage of talent, especially in the hockey world.

Of course, you need to have exceptional hockey skills to play post-secondary hockey, but lots of players have those. Are you a good person with good marks? That is what will set you apart.

The best teammates ask themselves this question before doing anything….

Does this decision or this choice benefit my team?

If the answer is “yes” then awesome! If the answer is “no” then perhaps it’s time to rethink the choice.

The team I coach this year is Peewee age. They are just beginning the process of looking at and preparing for university hockey. They had an interesting decision to make at their first practice.

They had the opportunity to go to a NHL game one evening. Cool right? What problem could there possibly be with making that decision, after all they were a hockey team.

The aspect that made it a tough decision was that the game would take place while they were at a tournament. They would play in the day, go to the NHL game at night and then play again the next day.

They came up with Pros and Cons of going to the game and decided that they would forego that experience so that they would be better rested for the tournament.

How many of you (or your children) would make that same decision? It most definitely put the team and their teammates first. These types of choices are what separate the great players from the good ones. They separate great people from the good ones.

Choices like this are what schools are looking for. Choices like this are what get you a scholarship.

You won’t always agree with the rules that your team or your coach put forth, but in the end you are the only one who can make the choice to follow the rules or to do what you prefer to do, putting yourself ahead of the team.

If for instance the coach has a rule that you don’t swim before games and you swim anyway… Do you think that coach would recommend you to a school? Do you think your teammates would recommend you? If for instance the coach puts a curfew in effect and you disregard it… you are letting everyone know that you feel your are more important than the rest of the team. Every choice matters, whether you like it or not. If you want to be successful you have to make tough decisions and you have to do things that you do not want to do. It’s not about YOU. It’s about your teammates.

If you ask the teams that we coach why they are there, playing hockey they will tell you it’s to make everyone around them better. They aren’t there for themselves. Every player is there to make their teammates better. This culture is what championships are made from. That doesn’t mean that you don’t look after yourself, that you don’t train properly and improve yourself…. because doing that makes everyone who plays with you better. It means that you aren’t out in the rain, shooting 1,000 pucks for you…. you’re out there so that when your teammate gives you that opportunity to bury the game winning goal that you are prepared to do so. It puts “We” before “Me”.

If you want to give yourself or your child the very best chance to play university or college hockey then always ask the question:

Does this decision or this choice benefit my team?

If you can answer “Yes” then you know you are on the right track. It really is that simple.

Unsure? Lost? Need Help?

That’s what we are here for. Just ask!

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