It’s a word that our society has deemed negative to describe people who aren’t being honest with themselves or others. That’s 100% true. But in the hockey world, the word “fake” is seen and experienced in a totally different context, which I will get to in a second. But first, we’ve all heard the expression “fake it till you make it”. Ever hear that in the business world? I have. A ton. And while perception can be an influencer in certain high- end industries, the quality of the product or service is always the pillar foundation of all organizations.
My wife and I built Perfect Skating while driving two fairly beat up Honda Odyssey’s. I remember them like it was yesterday. They handled all of our business activities during the day and doubled as people movers around the various rinks with our 4 kids at night. And boy, did we ever crank the miles on those things, we drove those vans for like 5 years to 350,000K. I even rolled in to various rinks with my good old 1999 van to train NHL players. They didn’t care one bit. The service we provide is elite and thats what matters.
We look back now and it’s funny, but it’s part of our story, and our journey of growth. That doesn’t mean I am knocking Honda Odyssey’s, they are awesome, so awesome in fact that my wife still drives one, albeit not with 350,000K on it!
Fake it until you make it in business? Save your bacon. Fake out your opponent and you’re bringing home the bacon!
Faking is so important in all athletic endeavours it almost seems like it’s a lost layer of performance. Coaches think it’s old school, that we’ve heard it before, that it’s not sexy, it’s not Cirque de Soleil. We’ve made great strides and lead the hockey performance industry because of innovation, there is no question. But we’ve made equal strides by providing a better understanding, a better language and a better teaching platform with the good old stuff. Faking is one of them and it gets me fired up every time I get the chance to share the concept with people.
The concept? It’s easy. Think of tag...
The best way to understand “faking” is watching a group of kids play tag out in the school yard at recess. As the game goes on and whittles down to 3 or 4 kids, you start to see the underlying pattern. The kids who are now sitting on the side cheering for one of their friends all moved in a fairly consistent way. Unilateral directions that we’re easy to angle. No bilateral movement. No fakes.
The remaining kids are now buzzing with increased speed, the game ramps up and a whole new world of “fakes” becomes part of the creation of each player. Ultimately the kid who can out fake their opponent wins the game. The winner doesn’t always have to be the prototypical alpha male. You see this in all different types of animal populations where a weaker male or female is head of the tribe. One could argue that in the context of tag, some athleticism is certainly present amongst all participants. The argument for us is that pure athleticism doesn’t normally win. A participant with decent athleticism amongst the cohort that is an elite faker does. Put the pure athlete with the ability to fake and now you’re starting to build an elite tag player. Faking is the underlying consistent variable, not athleticism.
So, how can you “Fake it to make it” in hockey?
Two things come directly to mind: Being creative and being cerebral. In simpler language, play. Actually, let’s call it cerebral play. You see when you play you’re processing a ton of different inputs, and if those inputs can be mapped inside your long- term memory it gives an athlete experience. Experience to go back to when you find yourself in that same situation next time out. Cerebral play = experience. That’s the simple algorithm. This isn’t new stuff. We talk about it on our blog all of the time, it’s essentially the biggest performance enhancement of our method. Mapping and transferring are number 3 and 4 on our list because of progression, but they are the most important part of the Perfect Skating equation.
McDavid fakes like he is going to cut inside before shifting his weight and taking the puck wide. This not only gives him space to beat the D wide, it also ends up drawing everyone's attention towards him as he goes behind the net and feeds the puck out front for an easy finish.
So, fake. And fake a lot. Fake with your stick, fake with your blade, fake with your movement, hands, feet, torso, shoulder, head… Fake with everything at your disposal. It will bring you out of the reactive realm and into a new dimension of cerebral play. One where your always on the attack, always one step ahead. It’s those that choose to live in those layered dimensions that become elite at their craft.
Fake and Shift Reactivity, I promise your game will grow!