Player’s Code of Conduct

As a player, I will conduct myself at all times in a way that demonstrates my commitment to the following:

  1. Players must create a positive and fun environment for their teammates.
  2. Players must work to educate themselves about the game and play fairly and by the rules.
  3. Players must listen to their coaches and work towards the goals that are set.
  4. Players must work with their coaches and teammates to develop team skills. They must emphasize team play over personal accomplishments.
  5. Players must be role models for their teammates. They should control their anger and never use unsuitable language or make inappropriate gestures.
  6. Players must arrive at practices and games on time.
  7. Players must treat everyone fairly and with respect.
  8. Players must respect the calls of the officials and never argue.
  9. Players must remember that sports can be dangerous and must play safely and in such ways to minimize the risks to other players.
  10. Players must respect their opponents and positively recognize their efforts.

I have read and understand the above Code of Conduct and agree to follow its guidelines at all league activities. I understand that if I do not follow this Code of Conduct, I may be asked to leave the league activity (such as a game or practice) or I may be asked to withdraw from the league.

Signed:
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Player Signature
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Player Name (Printed)
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Team
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Date

Opportunities in Hockey After High School

From a report by Al Bloomer… 

“When it comes to choosing options for their hockey future, I am continually troubled by how poorly prepared and uninformed many players and their parents are. Answers can be found if you know where to look. The challenge is to be realistic about your hockey abilities and pro-active when planning your hockey future. As your skills develop to the higher levels, you begin to think about your options. I believe parents and players should begin to think seriously about hockey opportunities when the player is 12 to 14 years old. This is not the forum to debate when a player’s hockey potential can be evaluated or predicted. Although there may be optimism concerning potential when players are 12 and under, their potential cannot be realistically evaluated until they reach the age of maturity. All have dreams and expectations – but players and parents need to make informed and realistic decisions.”

Download the Full Report Here

The information here is useful to hockey players but much also applies to any kid looking to play sports past high school.

Dealing With Fear

Fear is a natural instinct that once helped protect humans from being eaten. Though being eaten is no longer a daily problem, fear is still a large part of life. Fear is a combination of thoughts, emotions and physical responses that work together to help alert someone to danger and prepare the body to react. When a person feels fear, additional adrenaline and other chemicals are produced which increase strength and decrease reaction times.

At normal levels, fear can be helpful. At excessive levels, the chemicals and emotions triggered by fear can easily cloud judgements, create a feeling of nausea and sickness and actually decrease performance. In athletics, fear is common when players are trying something new, playing in a big game or attending team tryouts. To cope with fear, players can try these techniques:

  • Admit That You Are Afraid – Recognizing that fear is a factor is the first step in correcting it.
  • Learn and Prepare – Nothing minimizes fear more than being over prepared. The higher the confidence level players have in their ability, the less likely they are to become afraid of the outcome.
  • Focus on Positive Images – There are many images that players can visualize when motivating themselves. If the images are positive then the outcomes are more likely to be positive. Michael Jordan often visualized making free throws in his back yard when making high-pressure free throws in games.
  • Listen to Experience – When going into a new situation, seek advice from people who have been there before. Older siblings or players can help less-experienced players better understand the situation.
  • Stay Busy – Withdrawing into oneself provides even more time for negative thoughts. Staying busy with friends and family is an easy way to relax and minimize the opportunity for fear.
  • Talk it Over With Parents – Fear is normal and players’ parents have had many opportunities to experience fear in their own lives. Parents have the unique advantage of helping players see a broader perspective.

Fear can help players. The fear of being scored against can make the defense try harder to block a shot. The fear of losing can make the offense work harder to score. However, when players keep dwelling on these fears before or after the immediate event, they need to quickly work to regain control of their emotions and stay focused on playing well rather than playing afraid.

Breaking Bad Habits in 21 Days

Habit – A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.
— The American Heritage® Dictionary
Each activity in sports has a correct way to perform and a way that only gets by. Whether throwing a ball, shooting a basket or passing a puck, there are techniques that provide better accuracy, distance and success. Excelling and playing at advanced levels requires the mastery of these better techniques.

Replacing old techniques with new ones is not easy. The ability of the human body to walk and move without much thought also makes it difficult to change techniques. Many experts estimate that it takes approximately 21 days to break old habits and create new ones. For players, this means that learning new skills may require weeks of consistent thought and effort until these new skills are mastered. Like many things in life, consistency and patience are the keys to success.

Have You Talked with the Coach Today?

Good communication is not only critical among players, it is also critical between players and coaches. Players need to be able to talk with coaches to get the information and education they need. Many times communication from coaches can be confusing or incomplete. Players should feel comfortable talking and working with coaches to fill in the missing pieces.

For some players, talking with coaches can be intimidating. A coach’s age, experience and authority may leave some players tongue-tied. One way to get past this is to make a habit of asking the coach at least one question during each practice. The first few questions may be difficult, but after a few times it gets easier and players can start gaining more knowledge from their coaches.

You Can Count on Me

Athletic ability is not judged by doing something well one time, but by doing something well many times. Consistency is critical to an athlete’s success. Teams depend on the consistency of their players to put together a winning game or season.

Consistency is made up of several elements that work together including:

  • Physical conditioning – Will a player’s body be able to perform on the 10th time like it did on the first time?
  • Mental conditioning – Can a player stay focused no matter what the score or time remaining?
  • Skill development – Does a player practice enough to turn occasional luck into a regular expectation?

Actual games do little to improve a player’s consistency. More benefit comes from working away from games through exercise and practice. If players want to become someone their team can count on, they need to take responsibility for developing their consistency.

Don’t Dwell on Your Mistakes

Cal Ripken Jr. is one of baseball’s legends and today players like Alex Rodriguex still look to him as one of their heroes. One of Cal Ripken’s childhood stories is of how his Little League baseball team lost the regional final. Cal gave up a three-run homer and was the losing pitcher. After the game, all the players were crying and miserable, especially Cal. If they had gone home that day it would have been one of their worst memories. But as it worked out, the next day another team took Cal’s team deep sea fishing. Cal had never done that before. It turned out to be a fun time and a great memory.

What would have happened if Cal had gone home the next day and continued feeling bad about the way he played? Would he have quit and not gone on to accomplish a championship career? Players can get too wrapped up in their mistakes and forget to focus on their accomplishments. Players learn from mistakes by understanding them and not by dwelling on them.

10 Things I Want in a Teammate (or 10 Things My Teammates Want of Me)

When players join a team, they often get instructions from a coach about what is expected of them, but, players rarely get a similar set of instructions from their teammates. However, learning what is expected from teammates can be a fairly simple process. All players need to do is list what they want from their teammates and then work to give those things first. Here is a common wish list for teammates:

  1. Talks to me – Someone who is in a good mood and goes out of the way to say hello and talk to me.
  2. Helps me – Someone who practices and learns about the game and then helps me learn too.
  3. Gives me a chance – Someone who shares the play with me by passing.
  4. Encourages me – Someone who always tells me to keep trying when something I do isn’t working out.
  5. Congratulates me – Someone who is the first person to congratulate me when I do something right.
  6. Sticks up for me – Someone who I can count on when I’m challenged by someone on the other team.
  7. Shows confidence – Someone who is positive about our abilities to win contests.
  8. Never quits – Someone who always plays hard no matter the score.
  9. Never pouts – Someone who is always upbeat even if something doesn’t go the right way.
  10. Never boasts – Someone who thanks other players for their help after making a score.

Being a good teammate takes work and thought. Players who make the effort will see the reward long past their time on the team.

Getting Back to Basics

“We have to go back to the basics with these guys.”
Nate McMillan, Seattle Sonics Head Coach

“Herb (Brooks) called a timeout to settle us down and let us collect and get ourselves back to basics.”
Mike Modano, speaking about Olympic Hockey Team USA

“Gentlemen, it’s time to go back to basics. This is a football.”
Vince Lombardi, former Green Bay Packers Head Coach

All teams and players occasionally find themselves having problems. For many players and teams, it can be difficult to judge exactly where to start. However, over time, the best coaches and players have learned one important lesson – when problems arise go back and work on the fundamentals of the sport.

The basics of each sport will vary and though it may be more exciting to learn new skills, working on and mastering existing skills are the keys to most player and team success. The emphasis on basics does not go away with age or skill level. Professional team drills are often the very same drills used by youth teams. Basic skills are the building blocks on which all other abilities are built. A breakdown in a basic skill means everything else suffers. When players want to be the best, they never stop practicing the basics.

Equal Playing Time Doesn’t Mean Equal Playing Time

When players know they are going to have to play their fair share of a game, there is little excuse for arriving at a game mentally or physically unprepared. A commitment by a coach to play players equally requires a commitment by players to try their hardest. When players do not fulfill their commitment, coaches are no longer obligated to fulfill their commitment.

For players, an equal playing time system is sometimes better described as an equal opportunity system. Players can take advantage of these opportunities to help their team and their teammates by playing to the best of their abilities.