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The Only 4 Things Hockey Players Need to Focus on During Tryouts

08/28/2015, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Block everything else out and focus on this list.


I have a distinct high school memory of trying to write a chemistry test during the playoffs one year. While concocting creative new ways to figuratively tear the head off the captain of the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, the last thing I remember was snapping out of my reverie when it was announced there were 5 minutes remaining to complete the test. 

B,C,B,D, oh, all of the above (all of the above is always right), B,C,B,C, and the occasional A mixed in just to convince the teacher I wasn’t cheating, which in hindsight probably wasn’t necessary.

Trying to accomplish a task when you’re distracted is a oh look the internet!

Anyways, before I spend the next three hours watching cat videos online, here are the four main keys hockey players should focus on during tryouts. 

1. Pregame

The pregame routine includes every action taken by the player that will affect their performance in the tryout skate. 

  • Dinner the night before
  • Rest the night before
  • Game-day breakfast and activity
  • Pregame meal

These are all elements well within the player’s control. The closer a player focuses on what he’s eating and how he’s sleeping before tryouts, the better prepared he’ll be to perform when the puck drops. 

2. Warmup

Hockey players perform an inclusive cardio and stretching warmup before games during the regular season, but for some reason they forget the importance of pregame warmup during tryouts. The first shift is too late to get the body and mind primed for competition. Players need to get outside and move around to the point they’re sweating at least an hour before they play. Once the muscles are warm, the player needs to stretch and then prepare their hands by stickhandling or passing a ball with a fellow tryout-ee. 

I just made that word up. It works though, right?

3. Strengths 

What are you good at? This is the time to show off. If you’re large and in charge, chuck the body around. If you’re quick, then skate fast and make quick plays.

Focusing on what you’re good at is an organic way to build confidence on your own. This is important because there’s not a lot of external support during tryouts. Coaches don’t communicate with players early on, and parents are usually too stressed to contribute anything of positive significance. 

Disagree with that last part? Good! Prove me wrong this week!

4. What Comes Next 

By ‘next’, I mean the immediate ‘next’, not what’s going to happen when tryouts are over and the dust settles. Don’t dwell on the past, like the training you did (or didn’t do) during the summer, or the previous game or the previous shift. 

Focus on what’s about to happen, the immediate situation over which you have control. 

The next shift. The next save. The next play. 

There’s no time to self-assess during tryouts. You are what you are and that’s not about to change in the next couple days, so go out there and put the best you on the ice over and over again. 

If you’re focused during tryouts, then chances are you’ll finish well before the final bell rings.

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