USA Hockey Magazine

October 2019

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Page 35 of 48

IT WASN'T UNTIL A BREAKOUT SENIOR SEASON at the University of Minnesota Duluth that John Harrington knew he had a legitimate shot at making the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team. Harrington had set a long-term goal of making the squad. Every day, the 22-year- old worked hard to show coach Herb Brooks and his staff he could be a part of something special. Lo and behold, Harrington made the team and helped it achieve greatness on the biggest stage. " I h a d c er t a i n goa l s . I mor e h a d a s pi- r at ion s a nd d r e a m s of w h at I w a nt e d t o accomplish," said Harrington, who is now t h e h e a d c o a c h o f t h e M i n n e s o t a S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y - M a n k a t o w o m e n 's h o c k e y t e a m . " I t h i n k e v e r y b o d y s h o u l d h a v e those. You need to have something to shoot for or s omet h i ng t o t r a i n for a nd s ome - thing to be passionate about to give your- self the best opportunity." The Drive To Be The Best Whether it's a college-aged player trying out for a U.S. National Team or a 13-year-old kid trying to make his local travel team, setting goals should be an important part of any hockey player's routine. "The offseason is a great t i m e t o s et s o m e g o a l s for you to get stronger, more explosive, quick- er," said former Brown U n i v e r s i t y m e n ' s hockey coach Roger Grillo. "Your training away from the rink is really, really critical, especially when you get to that 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and older age group." Because each hockey player is different in their needs, desires and skill level, having an individual game plan is essential. " What they need and how to attack it is not the same for each kid," said Grillo, who is a regional manager with USA Hockey 's American Development Model. "If their stick skills are deficient, you're going to set goals for that. If their speed is deficient, you're going to set goals for that. If their strength is deficient, you're going to set goals for that. "I think one of the mistakes we make here in the United States is a lot of the focus of our coaches, especially at the youth hock- ey level, is on the team a n d w h a t t h e t e a m 's needs are. In reality, y o u r j o b a s a c o a c h or somebody who's in charge of young athletes is making sure that you're attentive to the individual athletes within the team." Seth Appert is a big proponent o f h av i n g t h e a t h l et e b e t h e d r i v i n g force behind a goal with the coach there to offer guidance. " N o b o d y g e t s i n c r e d i b l y i n s p i r e d o r wa n t s t o a c h i e ve s o m et h i n g t h a t s o m e - body else is telling them they have to do," said Appert, a head coach at USA Hockey 's N a t i o n a l Te a m D e v e l o p m e n t P r o g r a m . "They need help, they need direction and it needs to be realistic." Tony Granato, the coach of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Team as well as the head men's hockey coach at the University of Wisconsin, is all about having his players identify specific parts of their game they want to improve on and set goals accordingly. "If it's improving your shot, OK, how are you going to do it? 'Well, I'm going to go out and shoot 50 pucks a day until I start to feel the progress and I start to feel more confi- dent with my shooting,'" Granato said. Setting Goals Properly D r. C o l l e e n H a c k e r h a s b e e n s t u d y i n g g o a l s e t t i n g a s it r el at e s t o at h le t e s f or a l a r g e c h u n k o f h e r c a r e e r. S h e n o t e s t h at go a l- s et t i n g i s pr o b a bly one of t he s t r on g e s t o f a l l m ent a l s k i l l s t h at h a v e been studied and proven to be successf ul. However, results are only achieved if goals a r e s e t pr op erl y by at h le t e s w ho fol low through w ith them. Hacker, who has served as a member of the U.S. staff for six Olympic Games as a mental skills coach and performance psy- chology specialist, stresses that athletes and coaches need to apply key principles when setting goals. 34 // OCTOBER 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM By Greg Bates Whether You're Just Starting Out Or After Something Bigger, Setting Goals Is An Important Part Of Every Player's Game TAK

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