Defenseman Erik Johnson’s hard work paid off when he was the first overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues
For some of you, tryouts are just around the corner. Some players find tryouts to be a nerve-wracking time, but if you take the time in the offseason and prepare yourself there’s no reason you won’t hear your name called when it comes time to pick the team.
You want to be in shape when you show up at tryouts. That doesn’t mean you have to knock yourself out during the summer, but you shouldn’t be out of breath or hanging over the boards after the first drill. There are a lot of fun activities you can do in the summer away from the rink to improve your conditioning, such as soccer, lacrosse, swimming, bike riding or inline/street hockey.
Don’t let tryouts be the first time you’ve stepped on the ice since last season. Get on the ice a few times before tryouts so you can regain the feel of the puck and condition the muscles needed for skating. Playing shinny or pick-up hockey is a great way to practice your hockey skills and get in shape. It’s also a great chance to make sure your equipment is in good condition and still fits.
Go out and play your game. Do what you do well and don’t be distracted by who’s evaluating or what other players are doing on the ice. Be assertive, be hungry and be at the front of the line for every drill. Pay attention and listen to what the coaches’ instructions. Show them that you’re excited to be there and you’re ready to do whatever it takes to make the team.
Remember that hockey is a game of mistakes. If you miss a pass, lose an edge and fall or overskate the puck, don’t dwell on it. Get back up and keep working hard. Keep a positive frame of mind, and look forward to your next opportunity to do something well.
It’s up to you to earn a spot on the team. Don’t look to blame anyone else if you don’t succeed. Hopefully you’ll make the team you’re trying out for. If things don’t work out, it’s important to learn from the experience and continue to work hard on all aspects of your game.