Posted by Dean Holden at August 28th, 2013
by Chris Pryor, 8 August 2013
Probably the two words that you don’t want to say to yourself if you are a player are “what if,” mainly because you’ve reached that point in your career that there’s not much you can do about the past. However, if you’re a younger player right now, there are many, many ways to either change some habits, create new habits or do something different to make yourself a better player.
“What if I shot pucks every day? What if I would have eaten the right foods and taken care of my body better? What if I would have went to the gym instead of laying on the couch and playing video games?” These are just examples of the internal questions that you could be asking yourself at some stage of your life, after your playing days are over or you haven’t reached the goals you set for yourself.
On the other hand, now is the time to do something about it. Summer is the best time to make yourself better and “close the gap” on your peer group when others aren’t willing to do the work it takes to make themselves better. It’s all about sacrifice. Sure, we all would like to relax and enjoy the summer and only have to worry about hockey when the season starts, but if you want to better yourself, there is work involved.
This doesn’t mean you have to be on the ice year-round. You can improve yourself by being disciplined and dedicated, not just during the season but year-round. There is just too much information out there regarding training and nutrition not to be taken advantage of. Not only will this make you a better player now, but as a person these fundamental principles will stay with you the rest of your life.
At the end of the day, you and only you are responsible for your career and it doesn’t matter what sport or profession you aspire to. If you do ALL you can do, then you will never have to deal with that internal “what if.”
Chris Pryor is the director of hockey operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is in charge of the amateur and pro scouting departments. A native of St. Paul, Pryor spent eight seasons as a scout for the Flyers. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders.