The Obstacle is the Way in Recruiting

There is a stoic principle that states, “the impediment to action, advances action. What stands in the way, becomes the way”. This teaches that with the right mindset we can take the challenges and obstacles in our life and re-frame them as opportunities.

In recruiting, there are significant challenges unique to each institution and hockey program. Aside from the very real hurdles we all face that are specific to each institution, recruiting itself is hard. It is a ruthlessly competitive environment ripe with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

Military academies arguably face the stiffest of obstacles when trying to recruit the best possible players. If we look at Army West Point, the pool of available players is small for several reasons:

  1. Remove every player that is not American.
  2. Must have the academic record admissible to the pre-eminent leadership institution in the world.
  3. There is a highly strict medical clearance process.
  4. The player must be willing to accept the responsibility to put their life on the line for America.
  5. The player needs to be good and likely select Army West Point over other attractive D1 program offers.

If you can take a productive mindset you will find that the obstacles you face are directly tied to your competitive advantages.

I recently connected with Zach McKelvie, the Associate Head Coach with Army West Point Hockey and he outlined exactly how him and Head Coach, Brian Riley approach recruiting and how they lean into these challenges by flipping them to a positive.

Author, Ryan Halliday has brought the teachings of stoicism into the main stream with his books, starting with the “The Obstacle is the Way”. I highly recommend diving into it.

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