Have you ever thought about how an NHLer does it? I mean, the fans are jumping out of their seats, the music’s blaring, the horn’s sounding and the red light’s shining after a player fires a 1-T into the top corner of the net! Some like to celebrate, guys that we’ve chatted or worked with like Ovie and PK come to mind. Oh, and those two guys like their cellies and a lot of guys do, that’s cool, it’s passionate.
But what about the majority, the predominant most of the league that just navigate as business as usual. We as fans can’t contain the excitement, the media is chatting about it for weeks but even as the player does something completely exceptional they are just cool, calm and collected. It’s actually really incredible and it’s got a name… It’s called being a Pro.
You see Pro’s don’t normally act surprised. There Pro’s, they’ve hit that puck, 30,000 times, they made that move, escaped that player and fended off that check. There highly paid execution assassins. That might have sounded a little let’s say 15th century, but it’s true, they just plain execute and the best ones execute the most. It’s pretty cool to study the movement, skill and nervous system habits (mapping) from the world’s best, more on that in another blog.
So why are Pro’s so cool, calm and collected? As on-ice trainers to the best players in the world, we unfortunately don’t watch hockey the same way as the normal people do. Let’s just say we are a little challenged in that area… Lucky for us most players think it’s really cool because we can add value to their games. That value is a little negative as it comes in the form of identifying asymmetries or failures in movement, skill and game performance. My point is, do you know how many asymmetries are produced in an average NHL player’s shift? Whether it’s a faulty movement pattern selection, a lazy weight shift or a nervous system shutdown, one 45 second shift, how many failures? 0? 2?, 5? Could it be as high as 10? We started tracking this stat a while back to really get an understanding of how many and what type of asymmetries we’re being produced to effectively bind that material into our methodology and programming.
The answer is a little vague because there was a significant disparity between the good players i.e.: The ones who touched the puck the most and the ones who didn’t. Touch the puck a lot and chances of failure go up, it’s the same reason a goalie with a huge shot count often has a lower save % or a player with a huge shot count has a lower shooting %. There are anomalies to all statistics but what stood out was really the number 5. 1 fail per player almost every 10 seconds of a shift. Now you know why we ain’t so normal. It’s actually like being a mad scientist! Can we say blessing and curse? Bad positioning and can’t get to a Rim, Fail. Tough angle on your stick and the puck deflects over the net, Fail. Produced to much eversion of the foot while moving your feet in an open hip start, Fail. Missed fronting a puck on the PK, Fail. Lost a puck battle down low, Fail. Fail, Fail, Fail, Fail, Fail, and that could be just one shift! That could be like 50 failures a period, 150 asymmetries per game and over 12,000 failures in a given season! I guess we now know why Ovie and PK love their cellies. Unfortunately failures far outweigh successes in game play which is why our brand is skyrocketing by improving those performance deficiencies with the countless amount of Pro’s and young athletes we trade salt with throughout the season.
But enough with the stats, there boring, what about dealing with the Ups and Down? You see for a Pro, there isn’t really a difference. Yeah sure there’s some passion for some guys when they score a goal or make a big play and they feel good about themselves for a minute. After that it’s business as usual, their mindset goes into engage and repeat. It’s the same thing for all those failures. A guy has a tough night, tons of failures and really nothing too positive about his game. Ever been there? I have, a lot, which is likely why I am now coaching. The savvy pros, the veteran guys handle it best. They simply just move forward. They process, they look at some video, they learn. After that, they’ll walk out to their families usually with a big smile with an instant shift of focus, it’s actually amazing, they’ve built themselves into a true pro.
So, next time you pot a hat-trick or have a tough night, remember that those ups and downs are inevitable. Humbly celebrate your wins, process and learn from your losses and get ready for the next one. Be excited and passionate to keep doing business as usual. Appreciate the people around you who love you and support and build everything inside of you, your heart, your mind and your soul into becoming a true pro.