I always prided myself on being a hard worker back in my playing days. Lifting weights, shooting pucks in the backyard, late night runs after my homework was finished, and watching every hockey game I could to learn positional play and other repeatable actions. But you know what? As I have the advantage of time to separate the great players that made it and the great players that didn’t from my age group, I realize I didn’t work that hard. It’s tough to say that, but it’s true. Great players have a dedication to the game that is borderline obsessive.
In a great book titled The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, he talks about how everyone has a talent in some respect but most people never realize it because of one word-RESISTANCE.
This is not something that can be seen, heard, or touched but it can be felt. It’s that little voice inside your head that makes up perfectly rational excuses as to why you shouldn’t do something. Everyone feels it and unfortunately resistance seeks out what you love most. So in our case it’s hockey and all our dreams/aspirations associated with it.
In order to overcome this insidious force you have to treat your talent in a professional manner instead of as an amateur pursuit. Here are a few examples that I have encountered and maybe you have also seen, through the eyes of an amateur vs a pro.
1. That 6 am run comes pretty early. You wake-up, see that it’s raining, and think that you can do it later or tomorrow. You go back to sleep.
1. That 6 am run comes pretty early. You wake-up, see that it’s raining, and you know it’s going to be a “miserable” run. But you grab your rain jacket, strap on your shoes and do it anyway.
“Professionals show up every day”.
2. It’s a Monday practice, you’re not feeling well, and the next game isn’t until Friday. You tell yourself to take it easy and just go through the motions
2. It’s a Monday practice, you’re not feeling well, and the next game isn’t until Friday. You have many things to work on from the last game. You work your hardest and hope to sweat off that sickness.
“Pros show up no matter what”
3. You are playing the worst team in the league, in the last game of a two week road trip. You think we can get up a few goals and cruise toward 2 points. I wonder what movie we’ll watch on the bus after?
3. You are playing the worst team in the league, in the last game of a two week road trip. You know that you can’t play down to their level so you go through the exact same preparation you would as if its Game 7of the Stanley Cup finals.
“Pros give 100% to the job until it’s completed. They don’t take nights off.”
4. You get cut from a team that you were dying to make. You think I’m not good enough and decide to quit playing competitive hockey.
4. You get cut from a team that you were dying to make. You learn from your mistakes. Realize that setbacks and obstacles are a part of moving forward. You write down a plan to make another team and work toward that goal.
“Pros are committed over the long haul. Doors open and shut in your face but you have to keep working.”
Some of you may not like this post because you’ll see some of your actions fall into the amateur column. Believe me, when I looked in the mirror I saw and still see a lot of my behaviors fall into the amateur area. You have to battle this RESISTANCE everyday and it’s really tough. But know that you can overcome it and achieve great things.