Is it summer yet?
Last Updated: February 17, 2009 2:33 PM
Kim Mccullough The Female Game
Playoff hockey just got underway here in Toronto, but the real buzz around the rinks is about tryouts and next season. Girls' hockey has become a year-round sport, which means that more and more summer teams, tournaments and camps are popping up all over the place. It seems like getting to the elite levels of female hockey means more time, more money and more commitment than ever.
Back when I was in high school, I would have gone anywhere and done anything if I thought that it would improve my chances of "getting noticed". But "getting noticed" and "getting better" are two very different things. The truth is that going to five spring hockey tournaments or attending a five day summer camp isn't going to make you better.
I am not saying to avoid those camps and tournaments altogether. But instead of spending the entire summer in a hockey rink, go to the one or two camps or tournaments that have the most value and spend the rest of the summer focusing on training. Instead of trying to convince coaches how good you are, spend that time getting better so that they will notice you next season when it really counts.
In my final two years of high school, I spent most of my summer in a gym training off the ice to become the best player possible on the ice. Sure, I went to the odd camp or tournament to keep my skills up, but my primary focus was on getting faster and stronger so that I would be ready for my last year of high school and first year in college. And I truly believe that my dedication to summer training is what gave me an advantage over everyone else on the ice when the season started.
And that's when I was really able to "get noticed".
One of the big reasons I started working with young female hockey players in the first place was to help them do exactly what they need to do in the off-season to become the best players possible. And that's training off the ice. The best female hockey players don't play hockey all summer long. They train. It may not be as much "fun" and it may not seem as "specific", but it works.
This summer, you have a decision to make. You can go to all the camps and tournaments and try to get noticed. Or you spend your time training off the ice to get stronger, faster and better and stand out when it really counts in September.