It’s that time of year again… pre-season tryouts. Whether you are a returning ‘veteran’ or a ‘rookie’ trying out, this is an important time for you. Coaches know that many young players make huge gains in their development from one season to the next. Certain players suddenly emerge as team leaders. Will you be one of these players? Coaches are always looking for unexpected talent to surprise them. Could this be you?
Whatever the situation, here are some tips to help you be at your best for the pre-season practices and games.

1. Be Prepared

Be prepared for each practice or game. Check your equipment to see that everything is in order – skates sharpened, sticks taped, all accessories included. You don’t want any distractions once you are at the arena. Be in the dressing room early. Show everyone that you are ready.

2. Be Alert

Listen carefully to your coaches. Watch the drills closely. Figure out the purpose of each drill. Coaches like alert players who are focused on the job at hand. During games, notice everything that is happening. Players on the bench can be a big help to players on the ice.

3. Give Your Best Effort

While skill is obviously important, a hard working player always catches a coach’s eye. Be the hardest worker every time you are on the ice. Hard workers never give up in any situation.

4. Always Bounce Back Strongly

Coaches like to observe a player’s reaction after a bad play – a forward misses a breakaway pass, a defenceman gets deked, a goaltender allows a soft goal. How does the player react? Coaches notice the players who bounce back after a missed assignment. It’s the sign of a strong character.

5. Be A Team Player

It’s great to see young players who are concerned about their teammates. In fact, it’s great at any level – even in the NHL! A pat on the back to a teammate on the bench, a tap on your goaltender’s pads at a face-off, a word of encouragement to an incoming player at a change – these are indications to a coach that you are a good team player.
Good luck to all of you. I sure hope you have lots of fun this season!