5 Deal-Breakers For Scouts

[ posted by Kim on 16th of September, 2015 ]

After spending the past 10 years coaching players who aspire to
play hockey at the college level, and speaking with the scouts
and coaches who ultimately decide who makes the cut at that level,
I know how much the little details of the game make a BIG difference.
There is a huge tournament here in the Toronto area this weekend
which will be crawling with scouts and watching the players’ every
move on the ice.

If you want to play at the next level, you have to pay attention to
the little details and avoid these five BIG deal-breakers.

For those of you who have been a part of the Total Female Hockey
community for a while, you’ve seen this message before. I send it
out every year at this time. Everyone needs a gentle reminder of
how BIG of a difference these little details can make when it comes
to getting to the next level.


1. Doesn’t Stop On Pucks

Every player has heard their coach tell them to stop and start.  There is nothing
worse than watching a player do a “fly-by” on their check and then do a big circle to
recover back instead of stopping and starting.  Whether it is after a turnover or
while trying to angle your opponent, if you miss the puck or make a mistake,
you have to stop and start instead of doing the big circle.  It is so frustrating
when players do it – and trust me when I say that all the coaches and scouts
notice the “fly-bys”.

2. Disappears As Game/Tournament Goes On

Everyone is excited and energized for the first shift of the game and the first
game of the tournament.  But can you sustain it?  It is great to be a rock-star
at the start of the game and tournament, but if you are invisible in the third
period or in the third game of the tournament, scouts will notice.  You have
to be consistent.  It’s one of the hardest things for young players to learn,
but it is absolutely critical if you want to get to the next level.  Coaches want
to know that you can deliver a consistent effort from shift-to-shift and
game-to-game if they are going to even consider bringing you into their
college program someday.

3. No Second Effort

This one is just painful to watch.  We all make mistakes on the ice. We miss
the puck, miss our check, miss the net and mishandle the puck. How do you
react when you make that mistake? Some players give up when they mess up.
And that’s a serious ‘red flag’ for every coach.  It’s inevitable that you are going
to make mistakes on the ice – but how will you recover from that mistake?
A player who is unwilling to make the 2nd effort will not see the ice at the college
level – if they even make it there in the first place.

4. Lazy Changes

This one is easy. You need to skate hard to the bench at the end of your shift
and come off the bench like you’ve been shot out of a rocket to start your
next shift.  Lazy changes stick out like a sore thumb.  Come out flying at the
start of your shift and then work as hard as you can to change quickly so that
your teammate can go out and get their job done.

5. Bad Body Language

Body language doesn’t lie.  As I said above, you’re going to screw up out there.
And so are your teammates.  What will your body language say about the
mistake you just made?  Will you slam your stick on the ice? Will you shake
your head or drop your shoulders? Will you slow down or speed up? Will
you keep going full-out as if nothing ever happened?  Bad body language
is selfish and distracting.  And it is a huge red flag for every coach and scout
out there.

These 5 deal-breakers have NOTHING to do with elite level skill.

These are all CHOICES.  You simply DECIDE that you are going
to pay attention to these details.  Differentiate yourself from the crowd
by deciding to always be the hardest working player on the ice. Period.

Don’t give a scout a reason to cross your name off the list.

Feel free to pass this along to any players, teammates or coaches who
you think might benefit from the information.

Work Hard. Dream BIG. Pay Attention To Details.

Your friend and coach,


PS – If you want a step-by-step guide I created specifically for girls hockey
players to help you through the entire college hockey recruiting process,
click on the link below:


Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS
Director & Founder, Total Female Hockey

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