Written by Ken Bernock
When I was first starting out coaching hockey I was only 23 years old. I was a good smart player. Even though I knew the game, I knew the game as a player not a coach. Now I found myself on the other side.
Day one of try-outs was the first time I viewed any of the players on the ice. As I looked from above with the coaching staff we started to create our notes based on first impressions.
We concluded the day making no cuts, but had 4 kids we were sure wouldn’t make the team for the up coming season.
One kid in particular was a sophmore defenseman who had a horrible try-out. He was on the cutting list.
Because we didn’t make any cuts on the first day he had a second chance without really knowing it.
The second day was standard, and Matt played a little better than the previous day. We decided to keep him on the team as the 7th defenseman. He was an extra player who wouldn’t dress unless there was an injury. This still didn’t mean he was going to get any playing time.
Looking back on those two days I learned a valuable lesson in life. I will never judge on first impressions ever again.
Business – I promised myself that I would give everyone a legitimate shot. I would take on every client for at least a month. I would listen to everyones’ ideas and give the best feedback I had to offer.
Personal – I would allow everyone to step into part of my life initially for a short period of time. If we connect great, if not we go our separate ways.
Online – If I come across your blog and twitter stream I will read it. I will subscribe or follow without hesitation. You have one month to prove why I should stay. I feel this is enough time for me to understand your message and if your work is resonating with me.
Coaching and Scouting – If I get wind of any players I know coming to my try-outs for the up coming season I will go watch them with their current team. I will talk to their current coach, and if possible even call their parents to understand not only their game but their personality.
I understand this can add up to time wasted, but I will take this risk of wasting time before letting a valuable asset in my life slip away.
You need more time than that initial connection to understand people. We’re complicated creatures with much more than just what you see from the outside. We have so much fear built up from past encounters that we don’t show everything we have to offer.
Protecting ourselves and others from life seekers just looking for power. Only caring about themselves and what they can get to strengthen their life.
To end the story, for the next 3 years Matt not only became our best defenseman, but our best player. He turned into a complete player that logged the most ice-time. He had the best plus minus of the team. He was a leader and played every single game from the first time he put on that jersey.
Have you ever dismissed someone on a first impression to find out later that they’ve done wonderful things in their life? If yes, I hope you admit to yourself that you were wrong.