3 Mental Skills That Will
Take Your Hockey Performance to the Next Level
Hockey experts agree that 80% of hockey performance is mental
and 20% is physical. We often focus all of our efforts towards
building the physical side of the game, instead of taking
the time to develop the mental game. And it is this lack of
attention to the mental game that is preventing so many teams
and players from taking their performance to the next level.
Figuring out how to improve the mental side of the game presents
a huge challenge to coaches, parents and players alike. To
ensure that you and your players are 100% prepared for every
game and the team can perform its best, you need to have mental
performance strategies in place at the start of the season.
The ability to stay focused, confident and composed are 3
critical skills that must be taught by coaches and put into
practice by players.
Hockey players must learn to focus only on the things that
are under their own control. While it is impossible to control
the actions of everyone else in the rink, you always have
complete control over your thoughts and your actions. Learning
how to focus on your own performance, while maintaining a
positive attitude and tireless work ethic, will positively
influence your whole game and help you take your game to the
In order for players to be confident, they have to believe
in their ability to perform on the ice and contribute positively
to the team. Players and coaches to work together to identify
the athlete's strengths, define their role on the team and
set realistic expectations for performance. But, most importantly,
players must realize that they are largely responsible for
their own confidence. When we constantly look to others to
boost our confidence, we become reliant on them instead on
ourselves. By helping players take control of their own confidence,
we empower them to be their best both on and off the ice.
It is great to be focused and confident going into the game
- but how do you react when things go wrong? Hockey is a game
of mistakes and it is those teams and players who recover
quickly that are going to excel. Players have to develop the
ability to be able to recognize that they made the mistake,
regroup quickly and refocus on the task at hand. The ability
to regain your composure quickly is what separates the "great"
teams and players from the "good" ones.
Having strategies in place to develop these three skills will
take your mental game to the next level and help you on your
way to having your best season ever.
Kim McCullough, M.Sc., YCS is a highly sought-after
expert in the development of aspiring hockey players and has
played at the highest level of women's hockey in the world
for the last decade. Kim's player development website gives
coaches and parents of aspiring young players access to programs,
articles and advice on how to help their players take their
game to the next level. To learn more about how to have your
best season ever, visit: http://www.besthockeyseasonever.com
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