Jack Skille Show Episode 5: Jack Johnson on finding your path

On episode 5 of the Jack Skille Show, we are joined by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson. He shares his own developmental path, what led him down it, and what lessons he learned at each step including play as 5-year-old in Michigan, attending Shattuck-St. Mary’s, joining the National Team Development Program, University of Michigan, and finally the NHL.

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Show notes

  • 0:00 – Starting hockey as a kid in Michigan.
  • 7:00 – The driving force to work hard as a youth player.
  • 10:00 – Playing other sports and stories from Shattuck: “Sid Crosby and Jack Johnson are two of the best players in the world and they were playing baseball in the offseason.”
  • 16:00 – Deciding to go to Shattuck and impressions from the experience: “In 8th grade I could play pickup with an 18-year-old Zach Parise and mimic the things he was doing. I was just out there practicing but I didn’t realize it, I was just having fun. That was a crucial part of the development at Shaddock.”
  • 25:30 – Deciding to go to the National Team Development Program and experiences there.
  • 37:00 – Gaining confidence through training and playing internationally: “Training is not about turning you into Ray Lewis, it is about instilling confidence and preparation. It is no different than how confident you are going into an exam if you have studied for it. You go into it knowing you are ready.”
  • 43:45 – Deciding to play at the University of Michigan.
  • 47:00 – Draft experience: “All being drafted means if you have an opportunity later on to possibly play pro. That’s all it means. There are no guarantees.”
  • 50:00 – 2010 Olympic experience.
  • 55:00 – First NHL game.
  • 59:30 – What does it mean to be a pro? “Being a pro is about professionalism. The key to being a pro is consistency. There are some days when you aren’t feeling it, but you still keep working.”
  • 106:45 – Advice for young athletes that wants to be a professional: “(1) Being a well rounded athlete always gives you an advantage. (2) You have to love it. If you don’t love it you won’t make the sacrifices necessary. (3) Know it’s going to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. (4) There is no right or wrong path to path. There is just your path or our path.”