3 Little Known Secrets how Elite Players get SO MUCH MORE out of Practice than the Average Player


Every elite player improves their skill because they chose to consistently practice in a way that lets them maximize their practice effort. they don’t arrive at practice waiting to find out what they’ll be working on today. They arrive knowing what they’ll be working on.

While they may have been sparked by natural talent and driven by passion, each chose to accept the mental, emotional, and physical challenges to master their skill.

Knowing these strategies that the elite players use in practice allows them to maximize their practice efforts and continually outpace their rivals. By employing these simple strategies they’re able to get 10x the benefits from practice without wasting time and energy.

1 – Ignition – why did you start playing hockey? What was it that drove you to endure the difficulties early on and what keeps you going in the face of adversity and difficulty? Ignition is the spark that lights the passion that drives you to pursue elite skills. Maybe it was going to your first game. Maybe it was watching your brother play. Maybe it was watching a Stanley Cup final. For me, it was watching the 1980 men’s Olympic hockey team beat Russia. Every player has a spark that puts them on the path to pursuing elite hockey skills. What’s yours?

2 – Master Coaching – Master coaching goes beyond mere coaching. Master coaching is coaching from someone who knows hockey at a deep and intimate level. Maybe they played at a high level? Maybe they coached at a high level? Maybe they studied with greats in the game? The point is, they are master coaches because they are passionate and focused and able to provide highly detailed and targeted insight and adjustments to a player’s game. They’re able to combine motivation and intensity to a player’s development to get the most out of them without burning them out.

3 – Deep Practice – The third secret to developing world-class talent is using deep practice. Deep practice is the ability to consistently work at the edge of your comfort zone to expand your skills and abilities quickly while at the same time mastering skills already acquired. Deep practice is hard. You make a lot of mistakes. It’s frustrating getting yelled at and getting mad at yourself for screwing up, but it’s how the best become the best. It’s pushing you to get better by working on skills that are just slightly beyond your current skills and at the same time, honing your current skills let you perform them with more speed and intensity, and more automatic.

Research shows that the best players practice differently than average players.

Learning how to practice with a purpose is an essential skill for any player looking to improve their skills and move up in hockey.

Kevin L. Willis, PhD
Sport Psychologist
Level 5 USA Hockey Coach

Practice Deliberate Practice Preparation