Hockey: Take Advantage of the Big Shot

posted by Total Female Hockey Club
Friday, January 7, 2011 at 1:39pm EST

Kim McCullough, Director & Founder of Total Female Hockey, has trained, coached and consulted with over 1500 players and 300 coaches, from novice to National teams, on how to take their on-ice performance to the next level through off-ice player development.

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Now that the holiday season is over, it is officially crunch time. The start of the New Year signals a fundamental switch in the  mindset of players, parents and coaches. Our intensity and focus should be going through the roof.  I can feel it every time I walk into the rink.


With playoffs less than a month away, every game becomes that much more important.  Coaches are always teaching, but now the expectation is that our players will execute on the things they’ve learned over the past 4 months.  Players have been working hard all season, but now the stakes are higher.  You’re thinking about all you need to do to help your team succeed, and you might also be worried about where you might be playing next year and whether there are coaches and scouts in the stands watching.  And parents, you’re not only focused on how far your daughter’s current team goes, but let’s face it, you’re also already thinking about what will happen next season.


So whether you are focused on…


::  Making the playoffs
::  Qualifying for provincials, regionals or nationals
::  Making a good impression on coaches for next year’s teams
::  Standing out for college and university scouts

… you have to know that there isn’t a lot of room for error.



We’re all still going to make mistakes, but we hope that they happen less often and not at critical moments.  We hope that we’re prepared.  You’ve got your skills, strategies and systems in place on the ice, and you’ve hopefully been taking care of your training, nutrition and mental performance off the ice.



If you’ve done the work, you should be in a position to succeed.


:::  Because the reality is - you usually only get one shot at it. :::


You need to take advantage of every BIG opportunity that comes your way, because they don’t come around very often.


I’ll give you an example. Back in November, I was very lucky to make a presentation entitled, “What The Scouts Are Really Looking For” at  the Wickenheiser tournament.  I’ve given this presentation many times before, but this time I was joined by Melody Davidson, who coached the Canadian women’s team to gold on multiple occasions, and also coached at the university level.  To say that I was honored to be speaking at the same session as her would be an understatement.  After I gave my whole presentation about how to get noticed by and recruited by college hockey coaches, it was Mel’s turn.  And the first point she made really stuck out to me because it not only applies to players when they are looking to play hockey at the university level or for their national team.  It applies to you as you head into this critical time of the year.


She said, “You may only ever get one shot at this”. 


She went on to explain that when it comes to cracking the national team lineup, you can’t afford to have a bad training camp or a bad tournament.  When you are looking to standout in the eyes of the coaches and scouts, you can’t really afford to have bad shifts or bad games.  When the game or your season is on the line, you have to rise to the occasion.  It is those teams and players who can capitalize on those BIG opportunities that succeed.



Over the next few months, you may feel a lot of pressure. You may be worried and you may get stressed out. But you need to know this… If you’ve done the work on and off the ice all season long, the opportunities are there for the taking.  If you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself to succeed, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t capitalize on those opportunities.


After all, preparation breeds success.



When you know that you might only get one shot, you need to ask yourself:  “Have I done all I can to put myself in a position to succeed?”


Only you know the real answer.

Keep Working Hard, Dreaming BIG and Taking Action.


Your friend and coach,




Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS

Director, Total Female Hockey
Girls Hockey Director, PEAC School For Elite Athletes

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