Hockey Tryouts - The Team Mentality

Nov 19, 2015 by Matt Dixon

Hockey tryouts have come and gone.

There was one young man who tried out for the team who showed true grit out on the ice. I don’t know who he is, but I have the utmost respect for him.


The Drill

One of the drills on the last day was a skating drill. All the skaters would start in one corner of the rink, skate around each of the near face off circles, then the middle circle, then the two far circles, then end up at a corner on the other side of the rink. There was one particular young man who was having difficulty with the drill. He went last, gingerly skating around the first circle, got a little speed towards the second circle, fell down, and slid into the boards. He did his best to get up quickly, and continued on. By this time, everyone else had finished the drill. The coach saw him and went over and offered encouragement. The young man skated the rest of the drill, but when he got to the last two circles on the other side of the rink, the rest of the team started banging their sticks on the ice to offer an additional boost.


The coach wanted this young man to be successful. A true leader helps members of their team achieve success, both personal, and team success. This coach took the time to encourage a player who was having a hard time. He could have ignored this skater, but instead, acknowledged someone who was doing their best.

We Are All Part of a Team

Life is a journey with various teams. No matter where we are, we are on some sort of team, whether it be a family, the team in our business, a department at work, at church. We are on several teams. Do we treat that like a team, or like a dictatorship, or something else? In business the most successful teams are ones where each team member is truly valued. In order to value a teammate, we must first ask for their advice and help. I know, you think you can do it without them, and you probably can; but as we ask for help and advice, we get a better product. We have more minds working on the same problem.

We Are Not All Winners

There are only so many spots on the hockey team, and if more people try out than the number of spots, there will be some players who will not make the team. We cannot win every game or land every business deal. Disappointment is not failure, but a time to make an internal assessment of how we did, and what we can do differently next time in order to improve our chances of a win. We can, however achieve success by giving it our best effort every single time.


"Never, never, never give up" - Winston Churchill

Do we crumble at the first sign of difficulty? The easy road is to quit, but the growth comes when we push ourselves to our limits, and beyond. This young man never gave up on himself, or the team. He persevered.


The interesting part about the teammates reaction to all this is that all the teammates were fighting for a spot on the team; they were in direct competition with one another, yet they supported their fellow teammate who was struggling. Their team spirit was greater than their individual desire to make it on the team.


It is interesting the lessons we learn from athletics. We sign up our kids for sports not so they can learn specific skills for their sports, but we sign them up so they can learn how to work together, how to be a part of a team, and how to never let their team down. My sons have been on the losing side of a lot of contests, and the winning side, but that is not what this is about. It is about helping our sons become great men, our daughters become wonderful women, and teaching them some of life’s lessons. We can also learn from their experiences.