Contributing Factors to a Success in Hockey
There has been much debate of what makes a hockey player successful. Everything from genetics, geographic location, coaching, training, parenting and circumstance have all been considered.
Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers: The Story of Success, takes a closer look at the opportunity for success of hockey players and other members of society.
Malcolm and his colleagues have noticed that there is a significant number of hockey players in the highest ranks (junior and pro) that have birthdays that lie in the first 3 months of the year. They attribute this to the 'cut-off' date of January 1 in most hockey circles. Players born in early months of a calendar year have a distinct physical & development advantage when they are young over their peers. They in turn gain confidence and are promoted with greater purpose than the competition. In short having an early birth date tends to give a player a head start to success in hockey.
Gladwell also highlights the importance of practice and routine as the cornerstones of success. In any given field be it computers, legal administration, food production and sport, it requires a person put in roughly 10,000 hours of work to become an expert. Putting in an extensive amount of practice gives a person intrinsic knowledge and comfort of a subject. When you hear stories of young prodigy athletes of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Sydney Crosby, you always hear of them and how much they practiced the game. On the ice, at school, and in their driveways. Some of their success is attributed to raw talent, but a big factor is that they reached and surpassed 10,000 hours before any of their competition.
Also highlighted in the book is a persons environment. Your environment is a significant factor to success. For example it is very hard for a child in Kenya to become good at hockey with lack of rinks, training, and money. Conversely, it is a little easier for a player like Sam Gagner (who's father Dave played for many NHL seasons) who has access to the best training/teaching to make it to the NHL. For a hockey player this means parenting, access to rinks, coaching, training etc. In short, the right surroundings can help a player reach his/her full potential. The key for all families, is to assess their current environment and make tough decisions if changes are needed.
In order to succeed in hockey, a player must work hard and take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of him/her. We suggest that parents take a quick look at Gladwell's book Outliers to understand some of the dynamics that go into the making of a good hockey player.
iHockeyTrainer is trying to help players change their environment. We want to help give you the advice and training to allow you to enjoy the game and get to '10,000 hours' to become your own experts on hockey.
Practice, & Get Better Every Day,