Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Youth Hockey Can Learn from Duncan Keith

Stanley Cup in Hockey Hall of Fame
Stanley Cup in Hockey Hall of Fame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Duncan Keith is a hockey player who has made a major impact thus far in his career. He has won two Olympic Gold medals, two Norris Trophies, and three Stanley Cup Championships. He was also recently awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Amazingly, though, this super-successful player faced his fair share of challenges and rejections along the way. In fact, scouts told him no more than 300 times before he finally got drafted 54th after two years of trying!

A lot of industry experts say that the reason it took Duncan Keith so long to get “scooped up” was because he tended to be over-confident in the rink, doing spins and basically just showing off. He also wasn’t cautious and careful in the way most defensemen are. However, these things later, when honed, can turn out to be strengths; a person who has the confidence not to care what anyone thinks is a person who will make risky but necessary plays in the game and be a real leader for his team.

Because more and more experts are starting to realize that being “over-confident” or “different” can actually be assets, why not encourage these things in your young players? Obviously, you don’t want them to be cocky, but let them be themselves and develop their own unique style, even if it’s a little different than what you are used to or the way you were taught. Change is hard, but if something works, it works, right?

Duncan Keith proves that hockey is moving in the direction of being more accepting toward (and even celebrating) players who are true individuals and who have their own styles, so don’t suppress those tendencies in your young players; you might just break their spirit in the process!

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