“You have to be willing to put in the work every day and not get too high or too low.” Sidney Crosby
Has it ever felt like butterflies in your stomach before a big game? Or maybe your hands got all sweaty
holding the stick? That’s stress reacting in your body, and it’s totally normal. But did you know that how
you handle this stress can really change how you play the game? Let’s skate through this together.
1. What Happens When You’re Stressed?
When you’re stressed, your body goes into a “fight or flight” mode. This can be cool in some situations, like when you need a burst of energy. But in a hockey game, too much stress can make you jittery, mess
with your focus, and even tire you out faster. Imagine trying to score a goal when your mind is racing
faster than your skates – not easy, right?
2. Stress on the Ice
In hockey, stress can pop up in many ways. Maybe you’re worried about letting your team down, or
you’re facing a really tough opponent. This stress can make you second-guess your moves, react slower,
or even lead to penalties if you’re not careful.
3. Building Mental Muscle
Just like you practice slap shots or skating drills, you can train your brain too. Having good mental habits
is like having a secret weapon that keeps you cool and focused, no matter what the scoreboard says.
4. Tips for Mental Fitness
- Practice Mindfulness: This means being in the moment. During practice, focus on what you’re doing, not what happened at school or what you’re having for dinner.
- Visualize Success: Close your eyes and picture yourself scoring the perfect goal or making an amazing save. It’s like a rehearsal in your mind.
- Positive Self-Talk: Be your own cheerleader. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” try, “I’m going to give it my best shot.”
- Breathing Exercises: Deep breaths can be a game-changer. They calm your mind and keep stress from taking over.
5. Pre-Game Prep
The day before a game, start getting into the right headspace. Get enough sleep, eat well, and maybe go
over some plays in your mind. On game day, stick to a routine that makes you feel good, like listening to
your favorite tunes or doing a warm-up jog.
6. Remember, It’s just a Game!
Hockey is about having fun, learning new skills, and being part of a team. Don’t let stress take that away
from you. When you start feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself why you love playing.
7. Talk About It
If stress is getting too much, talk with your coach, parents, or a teammate. Sometimes, just talking about
what’s bugging you can make a big difference.
Remember, every player on the ice has felt stressed at some point. By working on your mental game,
you’re not just becoming a better player, you’re also having more fun. So, next time you lace up those
skates, take a deep breath, and remember – you got this!