Is the grass really greener?
I had a great chat recently with a former player of mine who is playing NCAA Division I College Hockey at a school that fits her perfectly, both academically and socially.
She worked extremely hard on and off the ice to realize that dream and I am honored to have been able to help her through the process. She loves her teammates, her studies and everything to do with the school.
But she's not getting as much ice time as she'd like.
And as a third-year player, the coaches have told her that she is unlikely to get much more ice time going forward. She doesn't dress for all the games and gets bounced around from position to position when she does play.
She puts in all the same hard work as her teammates and friends and then has to watch them from the stands or the bench.
She could get down on herself and be negative in the room. She could complain to her friends that she deserves more. She could give up on all the tough training and just focus her time on her studies.
But she doesn't, because she's loyal.
She's a fantastic citizen of her team. Her coaches have told her time and time again that they love having her and value her as a leader. They feel bad that they can't give her more ice time.
They have even told her that they'd completely understand if she wanted to transfer to another school where she'd get a lot more ice time and be more of an impact player.
But she won't. Because she's loyal. She made a choice and she is sticking to it.
There's absolutely no guarantee that if she transferred to another school that the situation would be any better. She's excelling in the classroom, loves going to the rink and training with her teammates and has made lifelong friends.
Why risk all of that for a few more shifts?
Sitting down with my former player and hearing her story inspired me. It reminded me that I must trust my choices and stay the course, even when the road gets rocky.
I will be loyal to myself.
As a coach, I have to admit that I sometimes find myself running around searching for the “perfect” game plan, practice plan, drill or exercise. I constantly have to remind myself to STAY THE COURSE.
That doesn't mean that I won't continue to push myself to be the best coach I can be and do whatever it takes to give my players the best experience possible. I will always be learning new things and doing all I can to get a little bit better each and every day.
But I won't just scrap a game plan just because we struggle to execute for a few periods. I won't give up on my line combinations just because we have a few bad shifts.
I have to trust the plan I've laid out. I have to trust the team I've put together. I have to trust the process. And you have to trust it as well.
You can chase the next best thing and constantly be looking over the fence, wondering if the grass is greener on the other side.
You can run from team to team each year, telling yourself that you're doing what's “best” for your daughter.
There is no guarantee that the team or organization you're going to will be any better than the one you're leaving. Just like there is no guarantee that the new line-up or game-plan I choose will work any better than the one I was using before.
Loyal isn't just something you choose to be when you're winning. Being loyal is about making a choice and sticking with it.
We live in a “quick fix”, instant gratification world. We want what we want and we want it NOW.
Patience is a rarity and, unfortunately, loyalty is, too.
I'll leave you with a few great quotes about loyalty:
“Loyalty and respect go both ways. If they don't return it, they don't deserve it.”
“People who are loyal to you during your darkest hours are the only ones who deserve to be with you during your brightest hours.”
“Loyalty is not a word, it's a lifestyle.”
Work Hard. Dream BIG. Be Loyal.
Your friend and coach,
P.S. – Our entire Total Female Hockey camp schedule for the next five months has been posted on our website! You can find all the information at:http://totalfemalehockey.com/camps/
Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS, is the founder and director of Total Female Hockey.