I just got back from watching some great playoff hockey and the thing that impresses me so much during playoffs is the huge impact that emotion and intensity bring to the game when so much is on the line.
With so much energy and excitement surrounding the weekend, knowing some team is going to hold up a banner as National Champion, and another, that fought just as hard and wanted it just as much, will go home with nothing.
All of us know the mental game is a big part of the regular season, but let’s face it, when it comes to the playoffs, the importance that mental toughness plays in how a team performs and what they achieve (or don’t achieve) cannot be overstated.
I’ve said it over and over and we all know it, that at this level when physical skills and experience are so evenly matched, it's the psychological factors that influence outcome more so than just raw physical skills.
Throughout the weekend I’d see a player do something awesome, (or terrible), and think to myself, I wonder if that player has ever had any mental toughness training?
I’d think about what the coaches were saying in the room and what the players were thinking coming back on the ice with the score knotted and only one period to go and the winner moves on and the loser goes home.
Where is their focus? How will they handle the pressure? Do they have that level of mental toughness that will allow them to be their best, in spite of the pressure, or will nerves and doubt and fear disrupt their skills and cause them to fall short.
"How many of the teams this weekend were as prepared mentally as they were physically?"
How many of the teams came up short, not because they didn’t have the skill, but because they didn’t have the will to win, or the ability to overcome adversity, or the ability to stay focused and relentless right to the end?
Too many teams and players leave their mental toughness training up to chance.
They hope that all the things they’ve experienced throughout their hockey development will prepare them to step up when it matters the most.
But what if that’s not enough?
I see teams all over the country spend all season working and practicing to get ready for the biggest games of the season, and then they don’t have the mental toughness to ensure that all that hard work will pay off in the end.
If you’re committed to being the best player you can be, then you have to commit to developing your mental game with the same intensity and drive as you do your physical skills.
I can help you do that.
Visit TheCompletePlayer.com and check out all the tools and strategies that I literally give away for free to help players play their best when it matters most.
Don’t leave your mental game up to chance. Take charge of your mental toughness and do it starting RIGHT NOW!
This is the time of year to look back and say;
- “Did I do everything I could have this season to be my best?”.
- “Was I as prepared mentally as I needed to be throughout the season?”
- “What will I do next season to be better?"
Oh, but you don’t have too much time to dwell because tryouts are right around the corner.
Are You Ready??
I’m pretty sure you’re physically ready, but are you mentally ready?
In my next post, I’ll share with you some awesome tips to make sure you’re ready to rock it in tryouts!
Kevin L. Willis, PhD
Level 5 USA Hockey Coach