Are You a Get or Give Hockey Player?

get or give hockey player

Knowing the difference between a get or give hockey player is important. It could directly impact how far you go in the game.

By John Haime

I’ve worked with many teams helping to get everyone on the same page, with the goal of establishing an agreed-upon culture. I focused on helping to identify any issues that could be preventing the team from maximizing individual abilities.

As you know, there are so many factors that come into play in the development of a great team. Part of it is the attitude of the player and how well they fit into the team concept.

During these sessions, one exercise we do is identifying the get or give hockey players, and how the two very different attitudes impact both the team and the team’s results.

What is a Get or Give Hockey Player?

There is a big difference between a “get” and “give” hockey player. Knowing the difference is important to you and could directly impact how far you go in the game. Here’s why.

Some athletes are primarily focused on what they get for themselves (“what do I get?”) within the team structure. They generally want to know how they can:

  • Get to show up for practice when they want
  • Get to always be in the line-up
  • Get to start
  • Get to play more minutes
  • Get to score even when they may not be in a position to
  • Get attention as the star of the team
  • Get to give less than their best because they’ve been on the team awhile
  • Get to do what they want at the expense of their teammates
  • Get rewards beyond the team (scholarships, individual rewards)
  • Get to have the trust of others when they don’t trust their teammates

On the flip side, there are other athletes on the team who have a “what can I give?” approach to the game. They are focused on giving to the team, and what they get is not the priority. These athletes will:

  • Give their best effort in all practices, training sessions, and games
  • Give the team an example of their team values in action every day
  • Give their team a positive attitude, no matter what the circumstances
  • Give their team a lift, even if playing only a minor amount of minutes
  • Give their team a chance to win, no matter what position they play
  • Give other players a chance to get the glory
  • Give the team an example of sacrifice for the better of the group
  • Give the team an example they can follow
  • Give coaches or captains a very coachable attitude

Why You Must Be a “Give” Hockey Player

There are many advantages to being a give player. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Most every coach or captain looks for the “what can I give” athlete for their team. They will look for reasons not to select the “what do I get” player.
  • It’s far more fun to be on a team with “what can I give” athletes. The culture is more honest, more humble, and teammates generally trust each other.
  • It’s a funny thing in life that the more you give, the more you seem to get back. So a player who gives also “gets” in return.

The Result of a “What Can I Give” Culture

The best example of a culture of giving in sports is the New Zealand All Blacks. With an 86% winning percentage, the All Blacks are rugby’s most successful team in the history of the game. Their “sweep the sheds” culture and attitude not only promote an honest, high- performing, family environment—they also win!

After every game the All Blacks players sweep the locker room of every last piece of grass, tape, or mud. No matter if they are playing a friendly match or in the World Cup, they take responsibility for leaving the locker room the way they found it. No one looks after the All Blacks—they look after themselves. They also strive to leave “the shirt” in a better place than they got it when they eventually leave the program. They are not there to get; they are there to give.

Are you a get or give hockey player? If you are a “get” player, you may consider what it might take for you to become more of a “give” player. You might be surprised to learn that a transition to a “give” player may help you “get” exactly what you want.

Mental & Emotional Coach John Haime is one of the world’s leading experts in Emotional Intelligence, as it relates to sport performance. It extends to both professional and amateur athletes, executives, and artists, each of who experience emotional and mental performance pressures, blocks, and anxieties. His expertise is sought after across the globe. This article originally appeared on the HockeyShot website. is reader supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

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