I've been asked a lot over the years what I look for in a player during evaluations. After watching my son during various AA & AAA Ice try-outs, I've been thinking more about this topic and wanted to share a bit of what I look for and some other information that I've found or has been shared with me.
My friend Graham Acres (gacres99) also shared his thoughts with me.
- Whatever it is you believe you do best, do that every shift.
- Listen to what the coaches ask you to do and do that
- Bring energy and never stop working every shift. Regardless of talent, coaches are attracted to kids who consistently work hard.
- Aggressive play - Be willing to battle for pucks. If you are on the forecheck, get on the puck. Don't sit back and wait for them to come to you.
- Backchecking - If you won't backcheck, it's the fastest way to get off my list. I need you to skate harder than you've ever skated when you are backchecking. It makes a HUGE difference.
- Don't give up - I don't care if you just messed up, mistakes happen. It's what you do after that mistake that I look at. Did you slam your stick? Throw you head back? Yell? Get back in the play and make up for the mistake you made. No one will remember the mistake if you made if you hustle back and make a difference in the play.
- Come out to Earn your spot - Don't think because you've been playing for xx number of years, you deserve a spot on the team. No on deserves a spot, you earn it. Everyone there is fighting for your spot, go out and get it.
- Communicate - Talk to the coaches. Talk to the other players. Talk when you are on the rink and involved in the play. Call for pucks, direct the play. Be vocal.
- Don't be selfish - Yes it's a tryout to earn a spot on a team, but that doesn't mean showing off your ability to skate through every player every time with your head down. Be a play maker. Make passes. Make good decisions.
- Relax and have fun. I know it's easier said than done but remember, you can play the game so just go out and do your thing.
- If a coach gives you some advice, make sure you go out and do that. They are hinting to you of what they want to see you do. At least try to do it. It shows you are coachable.
- If a coach asks you to play a position like Defense, please, under no circumstances respond 'I'm a forward' or 'My Dad says I'm a forward'. Just go out and do it. Coaches want a team player.
Ontario Minor Hockey Association.
Try to remember these tips as you go through your try-outs. Good luck.