Taking Practice to the Competitive Arena – Hockey

College Hockey Player:

I am a college hockey player.  I spend a lot of time at the rink practicing my skating, shots and defensive blocks.  I am very comfortable during practice and my coach says that he wishes I could play in competition the way that I play at practice.  No matter how much I practice, it doesn’t seem to improve my performance when I’m in the heat of competitive play.  I can feel my heart start racing and I worry that I won’t be able to make the shot when my team is depending on me.  What can I do to improve my performance without sacrificing any more time in practice?

Restless in the Rink


Coach John’s answer:

What you are encountering is a common problem with many athletes.  You spend a lot of time practicing your physical skills and developing routines to improve your play, but you have forgotten one key element to performance: your mental toughness.

Instead of spending more and more time refining your hockey skills, focus your energy on developing a pre-performance routine.  Shift your energy from physical skills to mental empowerment with visualization and breathing techniques.  Also, create a self-talk program that rewards and reminds you of your previous successes.  Example:

1.     I am a confident and successful hockey player.

2.     My speed on the ice is one of my most powerful tools.

3.     My breathing helps me to remain alert, focused and composed in crunch time situations.

By exercising your mind, you’ll soon discover that your overall performance is enhanced and you will be more comfortable in competitive environments.  Success will be determined by how much you are able to let your mind trust your body to perform the skills you know that you can successfully complete.

To learn more about how to focus on the right things, designing performance objectives, creating tools to keep you motivated, establishing criteria for success tracking, and building confidence along the way please fill out the “request for information form on my website.  www.protexsports.com I would be happy to answer your questions.  I am about to release a 12 week program entitled: The Mental Edge: Success Monitoring and Journal System designed exactly for this purpose.

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