Steve was a senior at Marshall High School. The last couple years he was small and a late developer. Until he was 15 or 16 his hockey fortune went down a little bit. He was starting to get some attention from Junior coaches typically. Wanted to play for teams in Canada. His size was prohibitive when he was in high school. He’s a Defenseman. He’s 5’9’’ the more important issue he was very slight. That was a big deal. I wanted his coaches to get a trainer. We live in Silverlake so went over to the gym near the school and talked to different trainers. Jon had history with hockey. He was at the gym close to school. Steve worked out at 6am before school.
What were the goals that you and your son, Steve wanted to achieve?
Steve was playing “midget triple A” division and getting attention from Junior coaches up in Canada but size was prohibitive. Our goal was to have him gain 40 pounds which was needed to get stronger.
He worked out before school, at summertime prior to 2008. Signed with a team in BC when he went up to Vernon for his first year he was weighing about 165 by the time he’d gone up. The problem that he had he couldn’t keep the weight on. The season was winding down he dropped about 15 pounds. He was gone from August 2008-May 2009. The goal was to put weight and strength on and to find a way to keep it on. When he went back up in Fall of 2009 Steve was weighing 175lbs.
There were articles in the local paper, the kid looks like he just stepped out of a bowflex commercial. Size and strength is really important. By the time the year was over, in May of 2010 his weight dropped. Steve was up in Canada for 3 years. In the last year his weight went up to 180 pounds. He got scouted by a number of schools. He decided on “Bentley University” in Boston which offered an opportunity in NCA college hockey – that was his goal. Play division one.
How would you describe the mental work that Jon does with his clients?
Jon’s pretty sophisticated from that standpoint. Steve did not make the transition real well from Midgets to Junior. He wasn’t rising to the occasion and taking the game to the next level as he needed to. I wasn’t happy because I thought it was all in his head. Stargazing as opposed to having the confidence in himself to go to the next level. Jon calmed me down because I wasn’t happy with Steve. I knew he could do it but he wasn’t. He got through that first year, they still believed in them.
At 2nd year I think Jon helped him with his mental outlook relative to his capability to play at that level. Steve only dressed for half the games. In last two years he played in every year, including all the playoffs. His team won a national championship. Jon helped him with the mental outlook to pick up to make an impact at that level. On top he was strong enough and good shape- to not get injured. He played in 191 straight games. Steve knew going back up he would have every opportunity to make an impact. The coaches liked him and believe in him. His challenge was to be stronger and be able to get the job done. He was able to do that.
What advice would you have for other parents or high school students who are hoping to play at the collage level?
I believe this worked for us- worked for Steve and it worked for me. I think Jon was familiar enough from a hockey perspective to work on the right things in order to prepare things. There are very few kids at this level- almost a professional level.
I wanted to make sure we did everything we could to make give Steve every opportunity to succeed. Jon was how we were going about giving Steve every opportunity to be successful. It didn’t necessarily mean he would be successful. I just didn’t want to look back and say I wish we’d had a trainer. Jon fit the bill. I was confident I did everything I could for the kid to get to the level that he wants. Ultimately it’s up to him. There are a number of kids that are either getting a chance to play hockey with elite players. Steve gets invited to these things. There were situations where the coaches were saying maybe you should work out with NHL type trainers. But we chose to stick with Jon because we felt it was working for our situation. I think he had a good sense of where Steve’s head was at. Some of the limitations of his mental state. You hear coaches can coach skills but can’t coach size. In Steve’s situation Jon helped him play big- to play like he’s big. The size factor has not been an issue relative to Steve any more. It used to be but it isn’t any more.
As parents are concerned you have to have a healthy attitude, to play the sport for the sake of playing to sport. The bottom line is they’re going to get to level based on their skills. Even if he didn’t make it I wouldn’t have considered it a waste even if he didn’t get to Division 1. Overall it was a good experience, even if he didn’t make it wouldn’t have regretted the time he spent with Jon because gave him the chance to be the best he could be.