The hockey season is a long one, and as we all know, the months dedicated to coaches and fellow teammates always have their share of ups and downs.  Winning streaks, loosing streaks, bag skates, injuries, heart-breaking loses and exciting game-winning goals. The hockey season is always emotional, much like riding an out of control roller coaster.

Often times however, lost in the long season is the list of personal goals, and hopefully you set some for the year. Top athletes and experts will agree that in order for a player to reach their full potential they have to set goals, train with a purpose and possess and mindset of getting better every day.  However to train with a purpose, you first must do a truthful self-evaluation exercise in order to determine the player you are today, and the player you want to be in the future.

When you begin the process, individual development and accomplishing goals should not be looked at from a team perspective.  Players and parents often make the mistake of attributing team success to personal development, even if a player didn’t make strides during the season.  Players and parents have to take a hard look and evaluate personal strengths and even more importantly, personal weaknesses, which are opportunities for positive growth. 

A good start to your evaluation is to breaks skill sets into three categories:  physical, mental and intangibles.  For each skill set, give yourself a grade (1-5); (1) being areas of your game that are less developed, and (5) for areas of your game that are extremely strong.  It’s important to be truthful in these answers as it will provide a very detailed road map of what a player should be focusing on prior to the start of next season. 

The next step is to isolate three or four areas of development that will be of primary focus.  Players will then need to determine how they are going to train and improve.  There are plenty of articles in our blog to get you started, as well as training aides that can easily be used in the basement, garage or training facility.

This entire process starts with an end of the season evaluation, and acknowledging strengths and weaknesses, and not looking at them as a negative, but as a guide to help you develop as a hockey player to your full potential. When this all comes together, you start to believe that regardless of the skill set and situation, you will rise to the occasion when the puck is on your stick and have the traits of a big-time player to score that winning goal! 

And remember, always work hard and dream bigger than everyone else!