Post #119 – 8/7/23 – Fun Isn’t What You Want

Engaged In The Recruiting Process? It’s Time To Shift Your Focus.

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The Week Ahead

Happy Monday everyone. Can you believe it? Another school year is about to begin and that means – yes – another hockey season is around the corner. Boy, does time fly!

The week ahead has two marquee events with plenty of current and future NCAA players taking part. USA Hockey’s National Women’s Festival in Lake Placid, NY and Hockey Canada’s Women’s Summer Showcase begin this week.

The camp, showcase, tournament summer recruiting season for NCAA coaches is about to come to a close with just a week or two left with major events taking place.

The recruiting process is top of the mind for many players and parents right now, especially if you’re in grade 11 or 12. And for those of you who are in the midst of your process and trying to figure out next steps, I want to offer you something to think about.

‘Fun’ isn’t what you’re looking for.

There is no recruiting playbook for players and parents to follow which gives you the formula to determine which school and hockey program is right for you. There are just so many variables.

A school close to home + an academic major that leads to a great career + a scholarship + playing time = the school I’ll choose.

It’s just not that simple.

As coaches we often ask players during the process to describe what they want out of their college experience, what are they looking for?

Well coach, I want to have fun! I’m all about making it a fun environment for my teammates. If we have fun – we will win! I want to win and have success, I want to play, I want nice teammates, a great team culture, and I want to have fun!

That is pretty much the norm reply.

Sounds pretty decent and logical, right?

Earlier last week I stumbled upon a social media post from a basketball coach. It was re-tweeted (or is it Re-Xed? come on Elon!) by Craig Doty and was penned by Greg Stemen. It was about the concept of – Do you want something Fun or something that is Rewarding. In an odd twist, this exact concept was talked about by a coaching friend of mine at a showcase we were recently at–this is absolutely a concept we as coaches think about often.

At the end of the day, the post encapsulated – magnificently I might add – a thought provoking message: Don’t look for experiences that are fun. Look for experiences that are REWARDING.

Although the post was about basketball players, you could relate the story to any sport and player. So I started thinking about this Fun vs. Rewarding concept as it relates to our game within hockey.

As a competitive athlete looking to play at the highest level possible, you will have decisions to make along your journey. What team/association do I play for next? Where do I go to college? What is best for my development? How do I spend my time in the off-season?

And while there is no formula out there to help make these decisions for you, I would offer up the Fun vs. Rewarding concept as a way to help evaluate them.

Parents… this is a question your daughters need to answer, not you. And that is – do they want something FUN… or do they want something that is REWARDING?

Fun can be looked at as a short term feeling. You can decide if you had fun after every game based on how you think you played.

The author of the post says, ‘Fun’ is usually based on winning or losing and personal satisfaction or dissatisfaction. And I couldn’t agree more. Rewarding experiences are those that aren’t necessarily fun, in order to achieve results that often times exceed expectations. Rewarding experiences usually involve some kind of sacrifice, pain, disappointment, enjoyment, humbling, and crazy times.

This is the quote that really struck a cord with me… “Is it fun to bust your tail in practice and not get the minuets you had hoped for? Or is it rewarding to know you play with a group of teammates and for coaches who appreciate and value every ounce of effort you put into the success of a program and who know that same effort will be rewarded later on in life if not later on in a career?

Something that is rewarding, doesn’t come down wither or not you won or lost a particular game or won or lost a championship. It’s about what was learned and gained along the way during those ups and downs of the journey.

So as you continue on your path in the sport and come across decisions to make, the Fun vs. Rewarding lens is one of the most valuable to look through.

Fun is short term. Rewarding lasts for ever.

And as for that social media post… here is the article below:

Until Next Time Everyone… Be Well and take Care,

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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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