I’ve seen many players at the Junior level fall into the trap of thinking, “If only I had some connections, everything would be better.” The ‘connections’ are important, but not in the way many think.
Many families and players focus mostly on this specific idea of connections...
“If I find someone with connections, they’ll get me to my destination.”
The issue with this train of thought is the mental station it drops you off at. There is typically only one stop available on this train. Great players know there are multiple stops they can choose along the way.
Typically when a young player thinks this way, they’re giving away a bit of what they can control in the situation. As an example, some might pull off the gas a bit, because they feel, “this person with connections will get me where I want to be, so I’ll get what I want.” It’s ok to appreciate and take the help of someone with connections, but it’s not ok to stop your thoughts at this destination.
You want to be aware that this is only one of many connections that will help you develop your overall performance.
Here’s a slight variation of ‘connections’ that I would like you to consider...your positive connections.
What type positive connections help me understand my role better?
What type of positive connections help me get stronger?
What type of positive connections help me perform consistently when I play?
As an example, this group is a positive connection.
You have some great resources in here, who care about your well being.
This is a positive connection for you, if you enjoy this type of community.
Now here’s a few more stops...
What type of connection do I have to my team?
What type of connection do I have to my coach?
What type of connection do I have to my training?
What type of connection do I have to family, friends, and teammates?
The influence that surrounds you is the most important connections you need.
Focus on what you are connected to first.
This is the connection that fuels a positive attitude in most players.
The connections that keep you calm.
The connections that give you direction.
The connections that truly understand your needs.
These are the connections that matter
Would love to hear what positive connections you feel you currently have in your train station.
***IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ‘CONNECTIONS’***
“I have connections.”
The ultimate sales tool...
If I don’t prove, through my performance, that I am the best for the job, then I am not ready for ‘connections’.
I’ve had to say to players on many occasions...
“Are you sure you want me to make that call? Keep in mind. If you perform poorly, it will make a lasting first impression and it will make it harder to earn their support moving forward. If you let it happen naturally, through your performance, it allows your performance to speak for itself.”
“Yes coach. Please make the call.”
After the weekend...
“What did they think?”
“Well...what do you think they thought?”
“I didn’t play great, but I thought I played ok.”
So players...do you think I played “ok” is a good thing in a scouts mind?
In the end, I can have all the junior, college and pro connections in the world. If you can’t perform, you don’t get the opportunity.
In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to be recognized as one of the best performers of your age group. If you are one of the best, everyone knows it. Everyone talks about it. And someone like me is making sure that the people I am ‘connected’ to know about it!
Here’s what matters most when you’re searching for a ‘connection’ that matters to your growth each youth season...
Are you on a team that has a strong schedule?
You are only as strong as your weakest link. Playing against the best tests and proves your willingness to compete in high pressure games, ability to make quick and decisive decisions under pressure, and it proves you can consistently perform your role in this type of pressure filled environment, even when you don’t feel your best...Did you notice a pattern there. #pressure
Are you on a team that plans on positioning you to develop your natural strengths for success?
If you were designed to be a truck, then you better develop the role it takes to be the best performing truck at the next level. If you were designed to be a Porsche, then...well...Do you think a Porsche performs differently than a truck.
Every player serves a purpose at the junior, college and pro levels. Whatever your next step is in your playing journey, you must keep developing those habits that you were designed to perform.
‘Connections’ don’t come first...they come last.
Prove your worth, and the ‘connections’ come to you.
It’s as simple as that
***This message is designed for high school aged players and older, but it doesn’t mean younger players can’t benefit from hearing this performance reality. Remember: It’s not the connections that are going to get you to where you want to be...it’s your ability to consistently perform at the level you are dreaming to achieve.