8 Ways to Excel as the “Non-Star” Player
A small percentage of every team from youth hockey all the way to the NHL is made up of “star” players. Typically eighty percent of a team is composed of the “non-star players.” However, even if your child is not on the first line scoring the goals, or racking up the assists or on the first defensive line, power play or penalty kill, they are an integral part of the hockey team. There are many cogs in the wheel that are necessary to make it spin.
Tips for the “Non-Star” Player
- Be vocal on the bench and the ice - Cheer your teammates on when they finish their shift. Start a bench pat and send it down the line periodically through the game. It is also important to not be afraid to talk on the ice. Let a teammate know you are behind him or her, or congratulate a nice play or pass. This also can psyche the opposing team out. It is hard to beat a team that is unified and gels.
- Be a leader - The goal scorers or stars are not always the team leaders. They may be gifted with natural ability, but not necessarily have the charisma of others on the team. “Non-star” players are often the leaders of a team. There is nothing better than a team full of leaders with charisma and respect for all players. That is the team that will go all the way.
- Be the first on the ice and the last off - Work ethic is important for both the “star” and “non-star” players. When doing a drill, don’t look to see if the coach or parents are watching. Be focused on the drill and your efforts will be noticed. Be the best practice player and you will be a “star” player.
- Push your teammates to do better - Push each other including the last person in a drill. Say, “Nice effort, keep it up!”
- Take pride in your role - Notice the little things that happen in a game that contribute to a win or a great effort. The assist to the assists or goals should count for points even though they do not count on the stat sheet, as well as the shot blocked, taking the hit to save the play, winning the battle for the puck, winning the face off, winning the race to the puck, battling for and coming up with the puck and battling so hard that a teammate can grab the puck.
- Make all teammates feel good about their game – Remember, every single player is responsible for the win.
- Rally around your goalie – Especially when he or she is in a losing streak.
- Make the most of a long season - Make a joke in the locker room or have a team joke that is an inside joke only to your teammates. Make each other laugh and become friends. You need different personalities for a winning team.
A Note to the “Star” Player
Be thankful that you are the “star” player, but realize that every player on the team is just as important and helps assist you to get those goals. Be humble and cheer on the “non-star” players. Become a tight-knit group that cares for each other - that is how to win.
“Non-Star” Players Can Become the “Star” Players and Vice-Versa
Don’t think that you are pigeon-holed the “non-star” player or “star” player. Things change quickly in hockey. You can become the “star” player of a particular game or season. The key is to keep working hard and don’t feel bad about an off game or a bad shift. Pick yourself up and go for it the next time you play. Remember that hockey is a game of mistakes. Recover and learn from the mistakes and move on. The star players of the NHL make mistakes too. Don’t forget to take pride in yourself whatever role you have on the team. Remember, you made that team and everybody is an important member and integral in helping the team to victory.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Jeff Serowik from Pro Ambitions Hockey camps for this article.
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