Picture this: You’re on the field with more than 10,000 fans screaming your team’s name. You feel the adrenaline rush as you’re getting ready to score as many points as you can during the game, so that your team can win another championship. While this sounds like a summary of a class B teenage movie, this is the dream of a lot of the US’ youth. We dream of becoming professional hockey players. Namely, hockey games are very popular in the US! Watching the league on the TV with our family is a family tradition, and I’m quite sure that it’s not only the tradition that my family follows.
Unfortunately, not many kids get to be a part of the NHL, as the professional league demands quite the skill-set and quite the build in order to let somebody be its player. But don’t worry; while the number of youth getting into the NHL is low – it does not mean that entering the NHL is impossible. Today, I wanted to share some of the tips on how you can potentially join the NHL and become a professional hockey player.
1. Practice, practice, practice!
Yes, I am indeed beginning my list of tips with the most cliché tip of all times: practice makes perfect. If you want to become a professional hockey player, you need to be in total control over your movement on ice.
My advice to you is to get a hold of the movement on ice; skate every day, skate with weights on your ankles, skate in full equipment. You have to be able to move without any issues in any given situation; there will be times when you feel tired during a game, but you have to be in control of your body even then. If you slip-up, chances are you are going to either fall or miss a point.
When you feel like you mastered skating, my advice for you is to continue with your skating practice by adding important hockey movements to it: passing and shooting. Believe it or not, your strength isn’t that important for a good hit; it’s your muscle memory mixed with your strength that does the job! So practice shooting and passing the puck, even when you’re alone on the field. You need to be in complete control of the shoots and passes in order to become a better player.
2. Work on your fitness!
Being in good shape is very important for a professional league player. The league usually goes for a similar build in their players, so it’s expected of you to be a little bit on the bulkier, muscular side.
3. Go on a tryout!
Once you’ve practiced enough (let’s be real though, there will never be enough practice!) and when you’re feeling confident in your skills, it’s time for you to go on a tryout. Many high schools in the US, colleges as well, allow you to train hockey on their grounds. Usually, there will be a scout overlooking the games, and usually it’s the best players that get offered a role in the junior league. What’s amazing about the junior league is that you can try out for the NHL once you’ve graduated! This tryout is called an ATO – Amateur TryOut and it’s linked with the NHL in a way that allows high school graduates, college graduates and the junior league graduates to enter the NHL if they’re good enough.