Post #86 – 5/30/23 – Save Your Sanity

Learn how to gain back your summers, save time, money, and your mental health.

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Save Your Sanity

A follow up to ‘The Silly Season’

First, we have an omission to clarify. Earlier in the week I mentioned D-III would have 3 new institutions start programs for in the fall. I was incorrect… there will actually be 4. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will also be adding a program. This gives D-III 71 varsity teams for next season.

Okay… onto today’s post.

Parents… this post is primarily for you. But players, this is really important for you to read as well.

I said I would try and explain how families can get back some sanity to their summers while potentially saving some serious $, and put some control back in your daughter(s) quest to play college hockey. I also think in addition, if you can do a few things outlined below, you’ll be giving your mental health big boost too.

Families can spend an inordinate amount of time and money – THOUSANDS of dollars, easily in the 4 and 5 figures, on tournament teams, showcases, and camps.

So how can you recoup some of your summer and actually have one? First, It’s important to understand there are couple of forces in play, which you have little to no control over.

One, there is an overabundance of Summer ‘recruiting’ options. Everyone seems to run a showcase or camp touting how it will help you in the recruiting process. I just updated my list for June alone (link at the end of the post) and I’m at 23 and counting. Uh, email just came in. Make that 24.

Two, Chances are, college coaches have already watched your daughter(s) play, especially if you’er a player beyond grade 9. College coaches have to make the best use of their recruiting time in the summer. That means talent depth of an event is important.

Three, Recruiting is a numbers game. A typical D-I recruiting class is about 250 players at D-III it’s about 450. The size of the actual recruiting pool is closer to probably 1,500 to 2,000 grade 12 & Post-Grad players globally. Add 80-90+ D-I graduate transfers and that 250 just went to 160. At D-III we’re not completely sure what the 5th Year grad transfer numbers are. Bottom line – you have to be excellent to play at the highest level.

For the recruiting class of 2025, we’re basically back to pre-covid numbers on recruiting – no more COVID 5th year grad transfer recruits.

Four, The college hockey recruiting culture and environment is largely driven by the recruiting rules that govern D-I.

Five, There is a huge difference between exposure and development. A good way to think of it – exposure is a great way to show how much development in your game has taken place. Having a good balance between development and exposure is a great way to go about planning your summer’s hockey activites.

Like most things in life, a healthy balance between a few things is a pretty good recipe for success. So, if you’re sick of running around the globe with your family in toe, hoping your credit card doesn’t decline at the next hotel stop, there are ways in which to approach a change in your summer hockey schedule that can really have a positive impact.

  • 1) Buy into the concept of less = more and don’t fear FOMO. Reallocate your financial resources and commit to attending less events and have your daughter focus on training and the process of getting better. It takes work.
  • 2) Pay for some type of regularly scheduled ON and OFF-ice training be it a gym membership or personal trainer, on-ice skill development and or a power skating coach for at least 6-8 weeks, 2-4 times per week. 4 on-ice session per week over 8 weeks = 32 sessions of training. You can get 50% of a seasons’ worth of on-ice training in 8 weeks. Off-ice training, in my opinion is the single biggest driver of on-ice performance.
  • 3) Create a summer development plan. Figure out what type of training you’ll commit to doing, pull out the calendar and schedule what your summer will look like so you can not only attend a few events based on what you want to get out of them but continue to train.
  • 4) Take the rest of your saved money and put 1/2 toward a nice vacation for all her hard work and the other 1/2 into the college fund.

If she won’t commit to trying something like that, you may want to rethink spending all that money in the future.

So what’s the payoff?

#1, you’ll give your daughter a chance to prove she’s committed enough to play college hockey – because no matter D-I or D-III, there is a lot more practicing and training than playing games. You’ll save money in the long run and give your daughter a chance to actually improve her game. So, when she does get in front of college coaches, she’ll hopefully make a positive impression.

#2, college coaches don’t need to see you play 9 different times between June and August. Remember, chances are – they’ve already watched you play multiple times and have an opinion. What coaches do like seeing – is a player improve.

#3, I mentioned a boost to your mental health. And this may be the single biggest benefit of all. This time in your daughter’s life, this path she’s on to play college hockey, can be extremely stressful. Not only for her, but for you as her parent. This is where you really need to be cognizant of your mindset. Are you and your daughter controlling the path or are you on the hamster-wheel? Because if you are on the wheel, then the process will control you. Usually, we feel stress when things are out of our control or we can’t quite see how an outcome is derived. FOMO is real. But if you’re FOMO is because you’re missing the next 3 showcases, that’s like fake FOMO. If you’re going to have FOMO, at least let it be for her missing out on the 3 weeks of off-ice training while you hit the showcase circuit.

Your mental health is extremely important. Make a plan and you’ll feel less anxious about the future.

It does seem a little ‘silly’… this type of environment that exists. The NCAA could make some future changes to recruiting but for now, it is business as usual. Exposure to college coaches is good – when you are a good competent player. Exposure is bad… when you can’t really play the game. Signing up for 9 different events when your shot can’t reach the net or you can’t break the puck out, isn’t a good plan.

In closing, of course not everyone is on the hamster-wheel. There are quite a few families who subscribe to the ‘focus on development first’ theory. Honestly, most players don’t need a ton of extra exposure in the summer. They get enough during the regular hockey season. What most do need, is to map out a plan, put in the work and train so they can improve.

Oh… if you want to see my event list – as I mentioned it above – just click HERE.

Until Next Time Everyone… Be Well and take Care,

-Streams for games in the ECAC can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams in the WCHA can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams in Hockey East this year can be found HERE. Hockey East once again is streaming all game live and for FREE.

-Streams for CHA games with the exception of Penn St. can be found HERE. Paid subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams for NEWHA games can be found at each teams’ website. Subscriptions may be necessary to watch games.

NCAA Coaching Changes… Keep up with all the coaching changes across D-I and D-III HERE.

Recruiting Events/League Online Directory… Find all the recruiting events on right HERE. Want to add your event? Click HERE to fill out our event form.

Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College and beginning his 4th season as an Assistant Coach with the Yale University women’s hockey program. Grant has developed an experienced perspective in the world of women’s ice hockey, having coached and recruited players from across the globe during his 25+ year amateur and NCAA coaching career. He has coached at 6 NCAA DIII and DI programs in the NCHA (D3), the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, ECAC, and the Ivy League (DI). Beyond coaching, Grant served as a site representative for the 2019 NCAA quarterfinal of the D-I NCAA Tournament. He also currently serves as an Officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association as Vice President of Membership and sits on the AHCA’s Women’s Hockey Executive Committee.

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