Off the Bench and into the Game: Eight Success Strategies from Professional Sport. Rev. ed.


150 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 978-1-894974-23-9
DDC 158.1






Reviewed by Louise Karch

Louise Karch is a career consultant with Carswell Partners in London, Ontario.


Ryan Walter, a former NHL player, has become a successful speaker, author, business coach, and TV hockey analyst. He presents eight success strategies from professional sports to help the average Joe get off the bench and into the game of life. I say “Joe” intentionally, not Josephine, because the majority of the anecdotes and quotes are about or by men. In his defence, Walter is sharing lessons from “professional” sports; still, hockey and life are co-ed, so more examples from the “gentler sex” would make this re-release truly updated.


For the sports enthusiast and business person who enjoys motivational books that take you into the locker room for the pre-game talk or post-loss debrief, fans will be pleased with Walter’s offerings. He draws upon not only hockey but baseball, golf, basketball, and Olympic sports to illustrate his strategies. Throughout, the writing is succinct and the examples are engaging. Walter’s humility and honesty draw the reader in as he describes how he developed mental toughness and discipline, and how he shifted his attitude to become a team leader, even when benched due to injury.


Walter cites researchers such as psychologist Martin Seligman and leadership gurus such as Steven Covey to illustrate how his ideas transition from the rink to the office and to family life. Walter credits his faith and gives examples as a father and husband to show the strategies at play in a multitude of life’s roles. He even provides a quick self-assessment exercise so readers can create “Be a Hero” action plans for personal change. This is his eighth and final strategy to “Change Today to Impact Tomorrow.” Walter’s updated book provides life lessons from one of sports’ humbler heroes.


Walter, Ryan., “Off the Bench and into the Game: Eight Success Strategies from Professional Sport. Rev. ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,