This is the first installment of How They Made it. In this section we interview Professional hockey players and find out what made them into the pro players they are today.
James Marcou former hockey east first team all star and scoring leader, sat down with Prodigy Hockey and answered the in depth questions we had for him. Find out what James did as a youth player, junior player and college player to make it the Pros!
James Marcou BIO Youth Team- Long Island Royals, Junior team- New York Bobcats and USHL- Waterloo Blackhawks, College- Umass Minuteman, Pro team- Worchester and San Jose Sharks!
1.) Explain the amount of dedication that you have for the game of Hockey and the importance of practice.
James- “Hockey was something that was always fun for me starting at an early age. I never thought of going to practice or working out as a chore. I planned my life around hockey. The extra time you put in when you are away from the rink is the time that really can separate you from others.”
2.) What allows you to be confident while under pressure?
James- “I think the most important thing is the amount of time I put into the game there was always a calm because its something ive been doing for so long. The mental part of the game I think is where the confidence comes from. Many kids have the ability to play but don’t know how to control there emotions in difficult situations.”
3.) What professional Hockey player did you look up to when you were growing up and why?
James- “Steve Yzerman was my idol but I definatly liked to watch the smaller players and see what made them successful when playing. Most of the time it was the little things you pick up on when watching them. Another player I watched closely was Marty St Louis.”
4.) Have you always felt that you would make it to the Professional level?
James-“Making it to the PROS is everyone’s dream and its something you shoot for when you realize you have a chance. I didn’t really think of it as a reality until I was in the USHL and had to move away from home. I figured the amount of time that is put into this from my family to myself would be wasted if I did not shoot for the highest possible level.”
5.) What is the most important lesson you have learned while playing Hockey?
James- “You can never compete too hard.”
6.) What influence have your parents had on you while playing hockey?
James-“Without my parents I would not have made to the where I am today. They are the ones that drove me around and guided my career at a young age, which led to great success. They never were to intense if I had a bad game or hard on me. They just wanted to make sure I was doing the right things and having fun. When I made it to the USHL my dream of making it to the pros started to take its shape. It was a sense of accomplishment that my parents hard work had paid off in a way.”
7.) What Coach had the biggest impact on your career and why?
James-“Alexi Nikiforov has been my coach since I was 10 years old. I go back and train with him every summer along with many other professional hockey players. His Russian Style is very unique and separate from any other style. The way he has taught me the game is perfect for my style. I think its very important to be playing for a coach that you can learn a lot from starting at a young age.”
7.) Was there ever a time in your career where you weren’t playing a lot or having success on the ice? How did you handle this and get back to playing at a high level?
James- “I remember the U~18 select USA team in Slovakia. I played the first game with Okposo and Whitney but than was pretty much benched the rest of the tournament. It just gave me more of reason to prove people wrong type of attitude. You should never have a bad attitude, as it will lead you in the wrong direction. Having a positive attitude and outlook can help you recover and get back to your game.”
9.) What do you think is the most important factor that allowed you to be successful in the game of Hockey?
James-“I think training with my Russian coach from a young age allowed me to be the player I am. The relationship we developed allowed him to correct and teach me things in a different way than any other coach.”
10.) What drill would you like to pass on to Prodigy Hockey players to help develop their game? How does the drill work?
James-“My favorite drill is the Keane/Nikiforov. You work on your inside edges and puck protection up the ice and then once you hit the top of the circles you drive wide and take it to the net. Puck protection and moving your feet are so important at the higher levels so I think this is a great drill for the young players to do.”
Prodigy Hockey would like to thank James Marcou for taking the time to answer our questions. Let us know what you think of his answers and if you have any questions for James make sure to comment below!