It's on. We are into the last few weekends of August, and the pressure is on for coaches to complete the recruiting process. Some coaches have lost a lot of sleep trying to scratch and sniff for scraps while the smart guys are already making contacts for next season's recruits.
Operating a junior team is more than a full-time job, just ask anybody that has tried to manage and coach a team while holding down a full-time regular job. It is all but impossible to do, and the players generally suffer in the end. Coaching at this level is a full-time gig and more. The on and off ice workouts, travel, and games alone could easily stack up to well over sixty hours a week. Add recruiting and returning calls and emails to the mix and it's easy to see why general managers and assistants are so valuable to a coach.
Players need to be fully aware of the numbers game. Is that team, that all of a sudden is so interested, really after the prospect or the wallet? How many guys have already been signed? How many at the same position? Where does the coach see the player fitting into the roster? If it is for a number 20-25 roster spot, kindly decline, it takes hard work, combined with game minutes, to maximize development. Those minutes are crucial to the process.
Prospects need to be smart and listen to what the guy on the other end of the phone is saying and, by all means, get any promises in writing. For pay-to-play teams, be sure to write in a default clause that grants absolute free agency in the event that any promises are broken. Also make sure that the prospect has the opportunity to leave at any time in the event that a higher level team wants to bring the prospect in.
The teams may act like they are in control, but the fact is this late in the game, prospects are the captain of the crunch.
Don't take on the process alone. The professionals at Victorious Hockey have the experience to straighten out the curves and negotiate the very best deal for each family. Often times getting the fees discounted to a point below the costs of the annual service.
For more information, please feel free to contact me directly.
Author: Stephen Heisler
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.
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