Mid Fairfield Education blog (with a hockey angle!)
by Ray Diffley
What is the top personal trait for success that overlaps or is interchangeable from school to hockey?
I’ve got one very good answer.
But first a little background. Who gets drafted in the NHL (and ultimately succeeds most importantly) and why? Who gets admitted to top schools (and ultimately succeeds) and why? What trait or characteristics endures and which one (of the very few) overlap from academia to sports?
I have been involved in research on the admission side of things trying to answer these questions (with some success) for over 20 years and I have been involved in hockey and thinking about these questions for over (gulp) 40 years. The one NHL player I coached (Mathieu Darche—Montreal Canadiens) in prep school had this trait. I’m going to make you read more before I share.
When you have the benefit of perspective, be it a long time in a career, or going to enough high school or college reunions, you begin to see what it takes to succeed in this world. Well, for most people anyhow, I still can’t figure out a few of my friends’ successes and that is not only humor but a dose of reality…sometimes we can’t define why someone succeeds, but science does have some answers! In addition to “enough smarts” and “enough ability” for the environment one is trying to succeed in, there is one thing that the research shows has a real impact on one’s success.
Believe me, if you’ve been to a hockey tournament (or a bunch) or you’ve read applications in a competitive applicant pool, you know this:
There are a few kids (or candidates) … and everyone knows them, and often wants them, and then there is a “sea of sameness” of candidates (and players) that admission professionals and scouts and hockey coaches have to sort through, to figure out who might have an impact at the next level. All these professionals need “sorting tools”. What are sorting tools? Ways (ideally scientific) to predict success at the next stage or level. The trait I’m talking about is one of the best sorting tools.
We hear a lot these days about talent, we hear about the 10,000-hour rule (practice, practice, practice) from the latest books, but the one thing that ties these things together we don’t hear enough about in my opinion, at least not more formally. Perhaps every parent will know it when I say it and that won’t surprise me. The word I like to use is actually more likely found in the urban dictionary than the scientific journal, but you will find it there too.
The key trait for success? Stick-to-itiveness. One’s ability to stay on task over a period of time, put away distractions, put off rewards, stave off time, to achieve a goal. The player I coached who made it to the NHL, Mathieu Darche, had stick-to-itiveness, and I promise, his mother would agree, as she tried to convince him to move on to other things along the way. Many in Mathieu’s situation may have given up along the way, packed it in, happily said “I tried” and moved on, but he didn’t and he saw the rewards of that effort.
To rise to the top in any profession in today’s world will take a heavy dose of stick-to-itiveness (or to be fair to more reasonable vocabulary: persistence, resilience, consistency and so on.)
Our youth sports programs are in fact great “tests” of stick-to-itiveness. To follow the intense schedule of the MidFairfield program and to ask oneself along the way “am I good with this?” is a fair exercise and one that will yield interesting answers and challenges along the way.
It’s a whole lot easier to stick with something when you love it, but it’s also very impressive to stick with something when you don’t, such as calculus for some ☺, or front of the net coverage for all! In the end, it’s important to develop this trait at a young age in something, be it sport (and all the great lessons to be learned there) or a subject in school. The pride and confidence in accomplishment from sticking with something is truly immeasurable.
Stars U16 Forward Jess Schryver Recognized by USA Today
Congratulations to Mid Fairfield CT Stars U16 player Jess Schryver on her selection as one of five players worth watching this season. The honor was announced in conjunction with the 2017-18 American Family Insurance/USA Today ALL-USA Preseason Girls Hockey Team. Selections are based on past performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
Mid Fairfield is proud to participate in the US/NYS Hockey Players Support Our Troops Campaign
Mid Fairfield is proud to participate in the US/NYS Hockey Players Support Our Troops Campaign. This grass-roots program, started by a hockey coach on Long Island, raises funds to help military families in the area who have lost family members serving in the armed forces of the United States. Participating Mid Fairfield teams will wear the campaign’s flying eagle patch on their uniforms in recognition of their support for our troops.
Further information about the campaign, including recent press information and thank you letters from military families, is available on the campaign website at http://nyshockeyplayerssupportourtroops.com/ or by contacting Charlie Gili at