“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Each moment spent on the ice is an opportunity to grow, not just as a player, but as a person.” – Anonymous
Parents of young player often emphasize the significance of physical fitness and skill development in their child’s sporting journey. However, another crucial component that needs equal focus, if not more, is the mental aspect of the game. As a COR.E Performance Dynamics Specialist, I’ve found that fostering a resilient and strong mindset is essential to a hockey player’s overall performance and success. Here, I’d like to discuss the five essential elements to develop a strong mindset in your young hockey player: resilience, mental toughness, self-confidence, goal orientation, and focus.
Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from adversity. As a parent, it’s important to understand that the path of a young hockey player will be riddled with various challenges such as injuries, performance slumps, and game losses. These challenges, however, provide opportunities for growth. Encourage your child to see these as part of the process, not as barriers to their dreams. Reinforce the idea that setbacks can be powerful springboards towards improvement.
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
Mental toughness is about staying focused and maintaining consistency under pressure. Hockey is a high-intensity sport where the ability to perform in stressful situations can make all the difference. As a parent, you can support your child by helping them develop coping strategies for stress, teaching them to manage their emotions and stay composed in the face of adversity.
Remember, it’s not just about winning, but about growing and learning from every game.
“Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because
you’ve started to think of failure.” – Tommy Lasorda
Belief in one’s abilities is a cornerstone of a good performance. Encourage your child to trust their skills and take risks when appropriate. One of the most valuable gifts you can give your young athlete is the assurance that they can overcome challenges. Be their biggest cheerleader, but also ensure they find confidence within themselves.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Help your child set realistic but challenging goals. This could be improving a specific skill, understanding the game better, or enhancing their fitness level. Goals provide a sense of direction and can be a great source of motivation. You can support them by tracking these goals together, celebrating milestones, and reminding them of their progress when they need a boost.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
Focus and Concentration
Hockey demands attention to multiple elements at once, from the puck’s position to the players on the ice and game strategies. Encourage practices that enhance your child’s ability to focus. This could involve mindfulness exercises, visualization techniques, or simply encouraging them to stay ‘in the moment’ during a game.
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a
focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell
As a parent, your role in nurturing these elements in your child can have a profound impact on their hockey journey. While their physical strength and skills are important, the power of a resilient and focused mindset can be a game-changer. Together, let’s help them not only become better hockey players but also well-rounded individuals capable of facing life’s challenges with confidence and grit.