Power vs Force Coaching

Power vs Force Coaching

Skating Through the Pressure

Confidence comes from preparation...

How Teenage Hockey Players Can Manage Anxiety and Worry During Tryouts

As young players lace up their skates and hit the ice for hockey tryouts, it’s normal for nerves to set in. The pressure to perform well, in front of coaches and peers, can lead to anxiety and worry. However, these feelings don’t have to control the game. As a COR.E Performance Specialist, I’m here to share strategies specifically designed for teenage hockey players to manage these emotions and bring their
best selves to the ice.

Understand Your Anxiety

First and foremost, recognize that anxiety is a natural response to perceived threats. In this case, the fear of not making the team or meeting expectations. It activates the body’s “fight or flight or freeze”
response, preparing you for action. However, in a tryout setting, this response can become
overwhelming, affecting your focus and performance. By acknowledging your anxiety, you can begin to
take control of it.

Preparation is Key

Confidence comes from preparation. Ensure you’re physically and mentally prepared for tryouts by:

Practicing Regularly: Skill confidence comes from repetition. The more familiar you are with your drills,
the less you’ll worry about basic skills during tryouts.

Visualizing Success: Mental imagery can enhance your actual performance. Spend time visualizing
successful plays, shots, and skating. Imagine yourself performing with confidence and precision.

Setting Realistic Goals: Focus on what you can control—your effort, attitude, and how you respond to
mistakes. Setting achievable goals for tryouts can help keep your anxiety in check.

Develop a Pre-Tryout Routine

A consistent pre-tryout routine can help calm nerves and set a positive tone for the day. This might

Physical Warm-Up: Engage in a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for physical exertion.

Mental Preparation: Use breathing exercises or meditation to center yourself. Even a few minutes can
make a difference.

Nutrition and Hydration: Eating a balanced meal and staying hydrated can impact your energy levels and focus.

Embrace the Moment

Tryouts are not just evaluations but opportunities for growth. Embrace the challenge with a positive
mindset. Remind yourself:

Reframe Mistakes as Learning Opportunities: Everyone makes mistakes, but they’re critical for
improvement. View them as chances to learn, not as failures.

Focus on the Present: Anxiety often comes from worrying about future outcomes. Focus on the current
play or drill, not on the tryout’s possible results.

Support Your Peers: Encourage and support your fellow tryout participants. Creating a positive
environment can reduce individual stress levels.

Seek Support

You’re not alone in feeling nervous. Talk to coaches, parents, or peers about your feelings. Sometimes,
just sharing your worries can lighten the burden. Additionally, a sports psychologist or a COR.E
Performance Specialist can provide tailored strategies to manage anxiety effectively.

After the Tryouts

Regardless of the outcome, reflect on what you learned from the tryout process. Identify areas for
improvement and celebrate the strengths you demonstrated. Every tryout is a step in your development
as an athlete and a person.

Managing anxiety and worry during hockey tryouts is as much a part of the game as skating and scoring
goals. By preparing adequately, embracing a positive mindset, and utilizing strategies to manage stress,
you can navigate the pressures of tryouts. Remember, your worth as a hockey player and individual isn’t
defined by a single performance. Every experience on the ice is an opportunity to grow, learn, and
ultimately, enjoy the game you love.

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