Being selected to participate in this High Performance Event often triggers players to feel pressure. For some of you this may be your first experience at one of these weekends. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your skills with the hope of continuing your hockey career at the next level of play. As a result, many players feel pressure to “over perform.” They want to “flash”, make highlight reel play after play in order to get noticed. They want to create a buzz about their play. This approach usually backfires.
You know there will be scouts, college coaches, and evaluators as well as fans watching you play. Our players who have participated in this event who have moved on to college hockey have said that is easy to get sucked into turning all that goes with the events into noise that creates pressure to play to the coaches, scouts and parents. One of the biggest mistakes I see hockey players and athletes in general make is to let external pressure and circumstances impact the way they play.
They don’t focus on what they can control. They end up focusing and comparing themselves to the kid who is committed already or that they think everyone is talking about. Or you focus on the fact that you think you could show your skills better if the coaches put you on a line with “better players.”
The impact on your performance is that you spend valuable mental energy on something you cannot change instead of using that mental energy to focus on preparing yourself to play well.
The players who have played in these events who have the benefit of hindsight often tell me that they wished they had challenged themselves to ignore the noise. They wish they had struck a better balance between showcasing their individual skills and helping their team succeed. The better your team performs the more likely you are to get good looks from coaches and scouts.
It is important to remember to ignore the noise in your head to over perform by playing to impress all the scouts in the stands or to try to mold their game to fit what the scouts are looking for. Remember that what one scout looks for or is looking for may be quite different than the other. Or the needs of their specific teams may not fit the skill set you carry.
Focus on your game and learning from the process. This will not be your last tryout. You are here because you have been identified as a player who is a high performer. Use the skills that got you here and don’t try to do too much. Remember that those who are evaluating you are professionals who can see both big and small and subtle ways you are skilled. If you have what they are looking for you don’t have to “flash” for them to see it.
If you struggle to ignore they noise and keep yourself from over performing, there are many ways we can help you benefit from our knowledge and experience in helping players maximize their potential.