Hockey season is here and for most people that brings excitement, but for some it brings added stress knowing you (or your daughter) are one season closer to college hockey, which means focusing on the college hockey recruiting process.
We know it’s not easy and we know how hard it can be to find accurate information — a Google search bar only gets you so far. This is exactly why we created WHL Academy, a program exclusively for female hockey players and their families to navigate the recruiting process, earn scholarship money, master your mindset, and so much more.
Our WHL Academy coaches are here to give you some solid advice, based on their time playing and coaching at the college level, on how you can better your chances at getting recruited to play college hockey this season. Whether you have your sights set on NCAA DI or DIII, ACHA DI or D2, or U SPORTS hockey — these tips are for you!
1) BE CONSCIOUS OF HOW YOU CARRY YOURSELF
You are constantly being evaluated and not just when you are on the ice. How do you act towards your teammates, parents, refs and opponents? Every coach has different needs and wants for their program when it comes to on-ice performance or the type of player they want but you can always control how you carry yourself.
Does this mean if you do all the right things and work hard you will be noticed and recruited? No. You still have to perform and there still needs to reciprocated interest from programs. You still need the tools to be an impact player.
Be a good person, a great teammate, have a high work ethic, and perform.
2) BE A GOOD TEAMMATE
It is very easy to tell who has the team’s best interest in mind and who does not. It isn’t always easy, but you need to put your team’s goals before your own. These traits will serve you well both in your hockey career and beyond.
3) WORK ON YOUR SKILLS
Always work on developing your on-ice skill, focusing on both your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you claim you don’t have time to work on your skills (as you’re binge watching Netflix)? Try this: instead of sitting down and watching TV, stand up and stick handle. You won’t want to miss your show, so you’ll quickly learn how to stick handle with your head up.
4) FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Focus on what you CAN do and control versus what you cannot. You cannot control who your coach plays you with or what coaches are replying to your recruiting emails or calls, but you can do your best, own your role on the team, and do the little things right. Even in the recruiting process, you CAN keep reaching out, sending emails, video clips, calls, etc.
5) ATTEND THE RIGHT CAMPS AND SHOWCASES
Make sure you’re attending the RIGHT camps and showcases that have the college coaches of the schools you’re interested in going to in attendance, otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and money.
6) BE CONFIDENT WHEN SPEAKING TO COACHES
It is a necessary skill to have in life, so being able to hold and carry a conversation is a huge skill and makes a great first impression with a coach. Be thorough and thoughtful in your questions, show that you have done research and know a little something about their school, not just if there are any spots or scholarships left.
7) BE SMART ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Be mindful of what you post on social media. It’s a great indicator to coaches of where your mindset is at, what your interests are, and how you interact with others.
8) WORK ON YOUR MINDSET
If you feel overwhelmed or start to get discouraged, that is quite normal. A silver lining to that feeling is that it means you care because you really want it! Everyone has doubts. Whether you’ve had the summer off, are joining a new team, or are just gearing up for a new season, take some time to get in the right mindset. Remind yourself of what you uniquely do when you play your best hockey. Choose five action points (move my feet, shoot to score, keep my head up, etc.) and build your confidence up.
Focus on the little things one shift at a time — tape to tape passes, winning your battles, blocking shots — and as you do those things, your confidence will grow and you’ll climb your way out of that slump.
Don’t put so much weight in the opinions of others — this is when you’ll fall short of your goals and dreams. Don’t let others’ insecurities overshadow what you KNOW you can do.
9) FUEL YOUR BODY
Fuel your body with the right foods that will have you performing at your peak level.
10) TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE PROCESS
Make sure that you are the one who wants to pursue the process and take ownership of the process—you know yourself better than anyone else. But, don’t get so distracted by the process that you forget about developing and getting better on the ice. You could do all the right things in the recruiting process but if you don’t perform and find a program that has interest in you, it doesn’t matter.
Start by thinking about what you want to get out of your college experience. There are a ton of factors that go into this process: academics, location of school, proximity to family, hockey fit, etc. What is the most important to you?
At the beginning of this process, just continue to stay focused on getting better each and every day—on the ice, in the classroom and as a person!
11) HAVE FUN
Hockey is supposed to be fun. If the recruiting process is starting to overshadow the joy you have for the game, get in touch with us! We make this process as simple as possible so that you don’t have to be stressed and can actually enjoy playing the game we all fell in love with.
And remember… YOU GOT THIS.