This post is different than my typical nuts and bolts, but it will have more practical application you can use as a player.
As a junior player, especially after the Christmas break, you’re going to see your schedule get condescended.
You may even experience this in bantam and midget.
You’re going to start playing “three [games] in three nights” and four-in-fives even.
By that point in the season, half the team will have a nagging injury that’s bad enough that some of the boys will need to reinforce their bodies with tape. If you’re uninjured, you’ll likely be playing more compensating for a guy who is injured.
To top it all, you may play so many games that you get incredibly sick of spaghetti and pizza every second day when playoffs hit that you may not be eating right. You certainly will be a perpetual state of dehydration.
That’s when it will happen. You’ll be on the road somewhere. The coach will walk into the room and say, “Com’mon boys. I know you’re tired, and I know you’re banged up, but if we can just grind it out for twenty more minutes we’ll get the ‘W’ and get out of this dump and you can have tomorrow off.”
Then one vet will get up and say, “Come ‘on boys. Twenty miles, twenty smiles,” and this big rallying cry will start.
And there you will be. Jammed in some unholy, hollow, concrete visitors room where they’ve turned up the heat to 25C (80F) before you got to town and you’ve got an ice pack under your shoulder pads.
That’s when you’ll need to put in your best effort.
And honestly, I’ve been through a playoff run like that. Everybody is held together with tape and stitches and trips to the physio table where the trainer grinds his elbow into a muscle you’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce.
That’s when you’ll need to rise up.
So learning to summon that extra twenty minutes of courage at the snap of the finger is something you will condition and do over and over.
You’re mind will be your greatest tool.
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