The Importance Of Setting Goals In Hockey

By Graeme Townshend,

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never know if you have arrived there. People do not plan to fail they fail to plan. You must have a roadmap to follow in order to achieve your full potential as a player. Don’t be afraid to set big goals for your career. It is better to shoot for the stars and wind up reaching the clouds, than to shoot for the trees and wind up in the dirt.

I am going to give you a real life story that will illustrate this fact.

Years ago when I was in high school, several friends and I were in the cafeteria having lunch one day. The topic of our futures came up and when it was my turn I said my goal was to get a scholarship to play college hockey in the United States, and then go on to play in the NHL. The group went silent at my lofty goals. My best friend, Greg, scoffed, “That’s impossible, you’re playing in the lowest league in the city and you’re already 16. Nobody has ever made it to the NHL from your league.” Greg was actually right; nobody from my league had ever made it to the
NHL, I even got cut from all the Junior B teams that I tried out for. What was I thinking? I looked Greg straight in the eye and said, “You watch, I’ll make it.”

Three years later, I was recruited by 7 Junior A and B teams in the Toronto area and by Christmas I was the second highest recruited player in North America, I turned down offers from NCAA Div. 1 and #2 ranked Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Maine and several other
schools. I committed to the #1 ranked and eventual 1985 Frozen Four National Champion Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). I had earned a full scholarship to play in the best program in the country! After being told by my coach and a few teammates that pro hockey would be a pipe dream for me, I went on to sign a contract with the Boston Bruins at the end of my senior year. The rest is just history.

How did I do this? I certainly trained hard physically, but most importantly, I set goals for myself. I knew I had to get to the junior hockey level by my 19th birthday. I only had three years to make that dream a reality.

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