Hockey season is an amazing time of the year. However, all seasons end and ultimately lead to a
new season. The offseason can be a great time of healing, refreshing, and retooling for hockey
Since true success is when preparation meets opportunity, having an off-season checklist of
activities to focus on is beneficial and wise. The hockey season requires much of a player’s energy
and focus but it can easily cause them to become unbalanced in their personal growth. The
demands of such an outcome-focused sport can become all-consuming for both the player and
those on their success posse (parents, coaches, etc.). Understanding that although hockey may be
important, the spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and social welling being of a player needs to be
a priority, especially during the off-season.
The following is a checklist that can go a long way to supporting a player to connect to and prepare
themselves to come back the following season, prepared and inspired to perform at their best. The
ten essential things to have on in offseason checklist are:
- Take some downtime – Even if it’s just a couple of weeks, nothing to do with hockey. No training, no shooting pucks, no running hills or stairs, no ice activities. Perhaps live out the Tao saying for a short time, “I do nothing, but nothing gets left undone”.
- Travel if possible – Go on a camping trip, visit other cities, and if not possible, even visit some of the tourist sites in your city. Create new experiences and memories. Reconnect with family and friends – Spend time with not only your immediate family but extended ones also (uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc.). Reach out and spend time with friends, perhaps even make new friends. Connection is important to healthy well being.
- Rehab and recharge – Take the time to get any physical issues dealt with. If you were injured during the season, commit to being 100% engaged to your rehab schedule. If you have any nagging injuries get them looked at by health professionals. Be proactive when it comes to your health. Nobody should be more concerned with your health well being than you.
- Connect to your spiritual side practices – Whether you meditate, pray, spend long walks in the woods, or just are still seeking a deeper spiritual connection, do that. We are energetic spiritual beings having a human experience of cause and effect. Become curious and go find what that means for you. A spiritual connection can be of great comfort and support when facing adversity.
- Reflect on and edit your success posse – Take inventory of those in your inner circle. Do they build you up and help you show up as your best version of yourself or do they drain your energy? Make wise decisions and don’t allow takers or haters to be around you for any length of time.
- Try other sports or activities – It doesn’t have to be competitive, although it can be. Stretch yourself within an appropriate level of risks and within your comfort level. For example, golfing can be a great activity to develop a more mindful mindset. Mountain biking creates endurance and improve overall physical fitness.
- Read books/take courses – Build your brain power up. Read self-help books, take online courses, and read autobiographies and fiction books. Gain knowledge that you can turn into wisdom by applying it in your life. Commit to being a life long learner.
- Reflect thoughtfully on your past season – What worked, what didn’t work? Did you meet your goals? What areas of your game improved? What needs improvement? The quality and effectiveness of your reflection questions will be critical to creating your success formula for the upcoming season.
- Create your success formula – Be clear about what you will be working on during the off- season and why. Focus not only on your weaknesses but make your strengths even stronger.
Identify and adopt positive daily rituals and routines. Set an intention daily of who you want to be and
what you will do daily. Identify and engage with those who will be in your success posse moving
forward. A hockey player is a role that you play. It’s what you do, not who you are. Who you are is
what needs to be cultivated, supported, and encouraged during the off-season.
From an energetic perspective, when a player does have this time in the off-season to just be
themselves, not have to be focused on any specific outcome, perhaps, they can connect to a greater
life experience during the off-season. Perhaps, it will help them to be more effectively equipped to
handle any stress reactions that they may experience in the upcoming season. Reducing stress
reactions will improve not only their on-ice but also their off-ice performances. It will have them
excited and eager to go to the rink each day. The stage then is set for them to thrive, grow and truly
enjoy the game of hockey.