International Mental Game Coaching AssociationIMGCA official website
Member Login

IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Hockey


3 Mental Skills That Will
Take Your Hockey Performance to the Next Level

Kim McCullough

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 next level.


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:

Article Source:

Return to The Mental Game of Hockey Articles directory.

Procoach Systems International Association of Coaches Independent Book Publishers Association IMGCA

The International Mental Game Coaching Association
39116 Fremont Hub #1303
Fremont, CA 94538 United States
Phone: 408-705-8877

Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm PST. Closed weekends and holidays.
Private backrooms in the IMGCA membership and certification areas are open 24-7, 365 days a year.

The IMGCA name, design and related marks are trademarks of The International Mental Game Coaching Association.
© 2006- IMGCA. All rights reserved.
Use of this website signifies your agreement to the terms of use and privacy policy.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Policies Notice