Well the 2011/12 rep tryouts are upon us and one of the most difficult things that a player trying out for a rep team will face is recognizing how the evaluators/coaches are assessing their talent and potential. How you perform during all aspects of the tryouts will set the bar for how you will be measured. Hockey demands infinite variety technically, tactically, physically, and mentally. Hockey features the excitement and power of two teams trying to score goals on offense and to prevent goals on defense.
In competitive environments that include skills sessions and games the evaluators/coaches will watch for players that are totally committed to doing their best during the skills sessions. They will also assess how adept the player is at maintaining or regaining possession of the puck under the pressure, challenging opponents who restrict their time and space, their ability to read and to assess a situation, to adapt themselves successfully and how they play away from the puck. Can they pick up a pass, initiate a pass, a turn, a deke and carry out some surprising unpredictable moves in order to help themselves or a teammate score a goal?
Good defensemen will be able to read and anticipate attacking methods, pursue and chase the puck carrier immediately, close down the attacking space, smother the attacker’s reaction time, intercept passes, create turnovers and quickly initiate the attack. All successful coaches are looking for those players who have the skill and desire to attack and to defend. Good defensemen know how to switch from defense to offense quickly. Their agility and skill allow them to skate, create space, make quick outlet passes, protect the puck, and be able to shoot and hit the net.
Good forwards will anticipate quickly where to go to create an opportunity for a pass or deke. They will also work hard to cover their player on defense and quickly separate as their teammate picks up the puck. Every forward knows how to carry the puck and make passes. Coaches will spend more time watching how the player plays without the puck and how he makes himself available to his teammates.
Players are complete only when developed in all these areas. Outstanding skill with a weakness in speed, strength, and power makes a player less desirable. The same is true of players who are physical specimens only to have below average technique. And what of the player with good physical prowess and skill, yet who has no idea of the tactical elements of their team’s play? Even less desirable are those players who fall apart mentally under pressure, "hiding" or lashing out at opponents, teammates, referees, coaches, or parents during the big game.
These are the things that coaches will look for when selecting their team.
Regardless of a player’s performance, their skill, tactical, and physical display, other factors will influence a coach’s decision to select a player. Coaches will look at their mental and psychological make-up, their mental ability to quickly and correctly read and assess situations, their motivational drive and will power, their self-confidence and emotional stability. Competition reveals character!
Each coach loves to identify key players with personalities and qualities that cause them to become team leaders. The following personality traits are the most recognizable:
Drive: Pure will power, eager to achieve goals, a burning desire to achieve success, strong self-motivation, commitment, dedication, determination.
Aggressiveness: "Go-getter", strong self-assertions, takes risks, wants to dominate opponents, works hard and ruthless in attack and defense, Danger - bad losers, inclined to retaliate, loses self-control, general lack of discipline.
Determination: Seeks the direct way towards goal, no compromising, doesn’t hesitate when making decisions, willingness, fully concentrated, success oriented.
Responsibility:Intelligent, can read the game tactically (anticipation), conscientious, reliable, wants security, cooperative, ready for compromise, stable and skillful player.
Leadership :Intelligence, dedication, pride, bears responsibility for the team, influences the environment, anticipation, intuition, independent and spontaneous, convincing and dominating player, hard worker, no surrender, composed, self-controlled, endurable, communicative, respected, trustful.
Self-Control: Discipline, emotional stability, composure, discretion, defying conflicts..
Self-Confidence: Secure puck control and determined application of skills and tactics under pressure (both external and self-imposed). Danger - these players tend to underrate opposing players, show a lack of willingness to be coached, and can become easily complacent.
Mental Toughness: Persistency, consistency, commitment throughout the game, no surrender, tough self-assertion.
Coachability: Ready to learn and to achieve goals, self-motivated, attentive and receptive, willingness, interested, spontaneous, committing themselves, likes to discuss problems, hard worker, self-disciplined, creative, constructive, progressive.
Conscientiousness:Sensitive, nervous, pre-contest anxiety, diligent, always wants to give their best, modest, reserved, fearful, pondering, self-critical, depends on success, reliable player in solid environment.
Trustfulness:Reliable, self-confident, will be respected and attracts sympathy of teammates, untiring commitments, composed and self-controlled, determined influential and communicative, open-minded and approachable, good team spirit.