Is Your Head Holding You Back on the Ice?
It’s too fast a game to play well if your concentration isn’t in the right place when it counts the most.
Becoming a champion on the ice requires any player to “pay his/her physical dues.” There is no shortcut to reaching your goals. You have to work hard, build muscle strength, increase endurance, and hone the stick handling and skating skills required to play at a high level. But you can’t just stop at the physical like a lot of hockey players do! To become a champion, you must also work on the mental side of your game.
Once you step onto the ice for an important try-out or game, the difference between playing well or poorly lies completely between your ears! When the game is on the line and the competitive pressure is turned up high, playing to your potential is all about how well you can “execute mentally.” That is, are you able to stay calm and composed under pressure? If you go into a game too nervous, you’ll play tentatively, make a lot of mistakes, and come out of it bitterly disappointed. Staying relaxed under big-game pressure is one of THE secrets to being able to play your game the way you are capable of playing.
In order to stay cool and calm in the clutch, you need to be able to focus properly, both before and during the game!
- Concentration is a learned skill and the key to mental toughness
- To play your best, you need to learn to focus on what you’re DOING, not on what you’re THINKING.
- On the ice, you need to focus on “seeing, reading & reacting:” Seeing the play as it develops, instinctively reading it and then just reacting without thinking!
- Keep your focus in the NOW, on one play at a time.
- Leave your mistakes behind you and work on them after the game.
- When your focus drifts back to a mistake, immediately bring yourself back to the action in the present.
- Keep your focus on what YOU are doing and NOT on others and what you think about them.
When you learn to control your concentration, you will more consistently play with confidence and at a higher level. As a hockey player, you must make a commitment to regularly work on the mental side of your hockey in order to take your game in the next level.
With a little work, these mental skills as well as a few important others can be systematically trained to the point where you develop the reputation as a mentally tough competitor. We can help.
As a Sports Performance Consultant Dr. Alan Goldberg works with hockey players at all levels, from the pros on down, helping them overcome slumps and play to their potential. As the Sports Performance Consultant for the University of Connecticut, Dr. G worked regularly with the Huskies Hockey program. He is the author of the revolutionary new book, This Is Your Brain On Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good! Check out his popular Mental Toughness Training Package.
Thanks so much for 14 Steps. I listened in while my boys were working with it and your content was great. You have a wonderful way of teaching mental training. You have helped open my kids eyes and I have seen the difference in their smiles, improved play and confidence. What a gift!
My son has always been an over-thinker and this has hurt his game. 14 Steps helps him keep his focus and his consistent and improved play is proof that you know what you're talking about!
My son's entire game has turned around! He's now aggressive, plays free and checks hard without fear. He now laughs, smiles and truly is enjoying every moment on the ice. The old Josh is back!
After working with you and 14 Steps, my son's entire game turned around! He was aggressive, played free, checking hard, without fear or hesitation. After the game his coach said to the team that he was the first star of the game, praised him for his efforts and announced "the old Josh is back!"
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