Captain’s log: It’s been 2784 weeks since hockey was shut down. Well, maybe not exactly that long but it sure feels that way. Yesterday we got news that the NAHL combines have been officially rescheduled. Oddly enough, some of the event is scheduled for the exact same week that the Great Western Futures Camp was to be held. That event has now been officially canceled.
On that note, I have been noticing something of a trend that I wanted to bring to light. With the last season being unexpectedly shutdown and the details on the coming season in question, there have been many pay-to-play teams signing players directly. To that end, it makes sense. They want to be sure that they have full rosters going into the season (when and if that happens). Likewise, players want the security of knowing that they have a place to play. The problem is that all the other details are on the table.
That is an awful lot to chance without assistance. Should you be considering this option please do not do so without an advisor. Yes, I am an advisor but I am not plugging my company. Having an intermediary is essential right now. Be it me or someone else entirely. What happens when your player gets to their new team only to find that they never see the ice? What happens when the billet situation has your child slumming-it with four other players in closet? What happens when the enticing opportunity of advancement that was originally promised never actualizes? What happens when you are paying for development in a developmental league but no development is taking place? These are all factors that decent advisors face regularly and have the ability to navigate on your behalf.
I get asked rather often, “Why do I need an advisor?” The aforementioned questions are an example why. A good advisor should be your ally / your resource to address such concerns on your behalf. Please don’t fall into the trap of going into the year on your own. I don’t care if it is me, my company or another business entirely, just be sure to have someone you trust in your corner.
No, you don’t need to spend fortune either. Hockey is expensive. There are good people that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. I can’t speak for others but I know that my company can negotiate a team fee down by at LEAST as much as our fee (essentially you get our services for free). I mean, if you are going to pay-to-play you might as well get the most bang for your buck and have a representative willing to fight for your rights as a player (and as a family) out of the deal and stay protected.
On a hopeful note, it seems that end of our isolation may be emerging. States are beginning to introduce initiatives to restart their economies. On Monday, the state of Ohio laid out plans to reopen. The plan is staggered in steps with healthcare, industry and retail reopening in waves. However, rinks and gyms are to remain closed through this initial phase. Political factors and population proximity vary drastically from state to state but with any luck those states that play a sizeable factor in midget and Junior hockey will follow suit.
So this week, Coach Littler wants to begin getting our heads back into the game. After all, if we are going to begin restarting our economy we need to begin restarting our competitive mindset. Coach’s notes are from a piece by Harvey McKay. In it, you’ll discover the traits needed to become a champion along with the one critical component that bring them together and makes it all work.
GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER - WHAT MAKES A CHAMPIONSHIP ATHLETE?
Harvey McKay, 2008
Is it attitude, confidence, courage, desire, determination, discipline, endurance, fitness, mental toughness, perseverance, physical ability, self-discipline or visualization? It's probably a little bit of all these characteristics.
It's also a lot of heart.
There's no denying the heart of a champion.
I'm headed to China for the Summer Olympic Games for 17 days, and I'm all fired up to experience the heart of the gold-medal winners. Watching the men's Wimbledon final was a great prelude. Having been a tennis tournament player,
I've long been a tennis junkie, but that was the best match I've ever seen. Two greats—Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal—slugged it out with each other for nearly five hours.
They gave it everything they had.
They played with all their heart.
Muhammad Ali, whom many people consider the greatest boxer of all time, said:
"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them —a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."
One of my favorite Olympic moments was from the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico. If you are a track and field fan, you probably know all about the "Fosbury Flop."
Dick Fosbury was a good high jumper and he seemed to have reached the maximum height his body could clear. His head told him that he had likely met his potential. His heart told him otherwise. He began to experiment with every different way a body could be propelled over the bar.
The style he finally developed was different than anyone else had ever seen. His jump is done head first, with the flat of the back clearing the bar and then the knees are drawn up, jackknife fashion. When people first saw him do it, they went away shaking their heads.
But in the 1968 Olympics, Dick Fosbury set a new Olympic high-jump record and won a gold medal for the United States.
It was a triumph born of fresh thinking, dogged experimentation and heart. Today, many of the world's best high jumpers base their jumping style on the "Fosbury Flop."
Heart matters in every human pursuit.
In fact, I think it's safe to say that heart trumps just about all the other senses when it comes to accomplishing the new and the unknown.
Your goal may sound crazy, feel all wrong, look questionable, smell like failure and leave a funny taste in your mouth. But let your heart rule, and prepare to be amazed at the results.
One of the greatest violinists of all time was Nicolo Paganini. Born in 1782, he had a long illustrious career before his death in 1840. One day as Paganini was about to perform before a packed opera house, he suddenly realized that he had walked out on the stage with a strange violin in his hands—not his own treasured instrument.
Panic-stricken, but realizing that he had no other choice, he began to play with all the skill he possessed. Everyone agreed afterward that he gave the performance of his life. When he was finished, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
In his dressing room after the concert, when he was praised for his superlative performance, Paganini replied, "Today, I learned the most important lesson of my entire career. Before today I thought the music was in the violin; today I learned that the music is in me."
It also takes a strong heart to be a successful businessperson. Use your head, to be sure, but don't ignore what your heart is telling you. As legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said,
"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."
The Lakota, a tribe of Native Americans, tell a story of the great spirit of creation, "Wakan Tanka." The story goes that after Wakan Tanka arranged the other six directions—east, south, west, north, above (the sky) and below (the earth)—the Seventh Direction remained to be placed. Because it was the most powerful, containing the greatest wisdom and strength, Wakan Tanka wished to place it somewhere it could not easily be found. And so it was hidden in the last place humans usually look—in each person's heart.
Mackay's Moral: Don't let your heart be the last place you look for direction.
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