Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Whatever your skill level before you began playing adult league, you’ve made it! You’ve finally entered the no-pressure, fun-only part of your hockey career. With the addition of a fuller work and personal life than you may have had while focusing primarily on hockey, it may be harder to keep your mind on the ice. The skill we’ll discuss is used to identify and be proactive handling situations where adult worries would otherwise peel your attention away from the game.

Awareness of your own thinking is a foundational skill that helps you gain control over your own thought processes. It’s a foundational skill also because of its utility in growing other mental skills and the benefits that extend to life outside hockey. Self-Awareness is knowing your own thinking, feelings, motives, goals, strengths, weaknesses, and – different from your strengths and weaknesses – capabilities and limitations (http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/resources/resources-for-athletes/know-thyself-enhancing-self-awareness/). Self-awareness and the ability to control your thinking can help you focus on the game and be more present.

Start small and ‘tune in’ to your thinking by paying attention to yourself during, before, and after your games – take a sort of mental inventory. If your goal is to keep your thoughts ‘inside the glass,’ you might ask questions, like:

  • When do you play your most focused?
  • What behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are you experiencing when you are focused?
  • When you play focused, when does that begin (e.g. warm-up, puck drop, dressing, car ride, first good play)?
  • What circumstances surround focused games?
  • If you do not begin the game focused, do you notice any events that typically help you focus?
  • When you did not start a game focused, do you employ any strategies to achieve focus?
  • When you lost focus during a game, how did you regain focus?
  • Are you using these strategies to focus consistently?
  • Have you had games in the past where you weren’t focused 100% of the time and played well?
  • If you had a game where you couldn’t focus what would be an acceptable number of plays to focus on?

That’s a lot, but starting small can’t hurt. You’re able to ask yourself some of the same questions for games where you’re unfocused. Taking a broad mental inventory can provide clues as to what’s happening in your headspace, how you’ve tackled challenges to focus in the past, what throws you out of focus, and when and how you may be capable of positive changes. Self-awareness is one skill you can hone to achieve greater focus and, hopefully, will help you enjoy your games more fully.

The best way to adjust your mental game and thinking regarding sport performance is to work with a professional, like a sport psychologist or AASP-Certified Mental Performance Consultant. If this is your first time reading about the mental game, look for follow-up articles in the ‘Bandits Goalie School and Stacey & Associates Sports Psychology’ section of The Goal Net. There’s also great content at the Association for Applied Sport Psychology’s blog (http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/blog/), too! 


Good luck!


Mike Stacey, M.S.

Sport Psychology Coach

Stacey & Associates Athletics


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...