As a long-time hockey skills instructor, I’ve worked with hundreds of hockey players over the years. My job is to expose the hockey hopefuls to drills they’ve never seen or done before. If they don’t learn something new every session, I’m failing the player.
Acquiring elite-level hockey skills takes a lot of time – years and years of focused training with the intent on getting better each day. As you learn new stick handling moves or techniques, you will, without a doubt, make mistakes. This is a good thing. Mistakes are signals that let you know forward progress is taking place.
Too often, when new skills are being practiced, players often expect mastery, beginning with their first rep. If they fail, two things will happen: either the player will abandon the drill and move on to something different or get determined and lose him or herself in the process. They’ll continue practicing, making mistakes, but getting a little more proficient as each minute ticks away.
The biggest difference between players who reach the highest levels and play on the best teams, compared to average hockey players, is their connection with practice.
It’s not a chore to put in the extra sweat equity. Highly motivated and driven players look forward to training. I’m not talking about scheduled team practices, but the hours upon hours of time spent, in their basement or garage, when no one is watching.
A reporter once asked Thomas Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1000 times when trying to invent the light bulb?” His reply, “The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.”
You know what the end result should be, so view mistakes as a positive when training. Become a problem solver – figure out where the breakdown occurred, start over and try to get a little closer to mastering the move.
Best of luck and remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger than Everyone Else!!
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