Stand Out!


One thing i have noticed with some of the best players i have worked with is their focus on finding and honing specific skills that would set them apart from others around them. I see the same thing in the corporate world where workers look for opportunities to separate from the pack and stand out with some special skill that everybody is looking for and would pay big bucks to have.

So what would help you stand out in hockey?

That’s a great question to ask but don’t assume there is a single answer. Because as many situations, scenarios, and circumstances there are in hockey, there are many unique and highly valuable skills that would not only stand out in each circumstance, but be highly sought after by coaches and give any player having these special skills a leg up on those around them.

So in your current situation, what specific skills would help you stand out? Yes, of course, everyone needs to focus on skating, stick handling, shot, and compete level, but of those, or other skills, what would be the best thing for YOU to focus on in your current situation? … Maybe your team is full of fast skaters so being the fastest would only stand out a little, or you have a ton of players who can put the puck in the net, so racking up points doesn’t really separate you, rather it puts you right in the middle of the pack … So in each of those situations, what would you do to stand out?

Lots of fast skaters on the team? Well, you don’t want to stand out by being slow, but what if you turned that speed into a potential bomb on the ice? .. what if you improved your hitting so that not only can you wheel, but every player on the other team knows to keep their head up because not only can you fly but you hit like a truck? … Do you think that would stand out?

Or what about a team with plenty of scoring? Sure everyone wants their points but what if you were the guy that not only filled the net but could shut down the other team's best player? What if you battled for the puck so hard every forecheck, and got pucks to the front of the net, that every one of your teammates wanted you on their line because you made them better?

There are so many opportunities to stand out if you’ll just take a minute to look at your situation on your team, at this point in the season, with this particular coach, in this particular league and find a way to be, not only unique but extremely valuable.

If you’re waiting for someone to figure this out for your, then plan on being just another player out there. But if you’re willing to invest the effort to figure out what that special something is, and put in the time to drill the skills you need to stand out, then, and only then, do you give yourself an opportunity to stand out.

Decide what tool you want to sharpen and then go all out to be the best you can be. Becoming a Complete Player doesn’t happen by accident, it happens when you set goals to stand out and then go on a mission to be the player that makes a difference.

So what makes you stand out?

Kevin L. Willis, PhD
Sport Psychologist
Performance Coach
Level 5 USA Hockey Coach

Compete Level Toughness