USA Hockey Magazine

September 2019

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36 // SEPTEMBER 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Controlling Your Thoughts Can Translate To How Well You Do On The Ice By Emily Wright You got this! Bring it on! I'm Ready! Dig Deep! MIND GAMES n hockey, mentally tough players like Patrick Kane or Joe Pavelski have the ability to believe in themselves from the minute the puck drops right on through to the final seconds of the game. This does not mean they never have s e l f - d o u b t s. T h e y h a v e , h o w e v e r, learned how to deal with such feelings and remain calm under pressure, persistent when things aren't g oing their way, and always playing to win (instead of playing to avoid losing). We want to develop confident players like Kane and Pavelski who believe they can bounce back from mistakes and deal with any adversity and self-doubts they have, regardless of the situation. Having Self-Confidence When we think about how athletes respond to adversity in sport, self-confidence is a f a c t o r t h a t i s o f t e n m e n t i o n e d . S p o r t s psychology research shows that confidence impacts performance in a variety of ways. Self-confidence is the belief in your ability to be successful. Importantly, a player can be confident in one situation but not another. Fo r e x a m p l e , a p l a y e r m a y h a v e s e l f - confidence in her ability to win a faceoff because she has a history of winning faceoffs a g a i n s t o p p o n e n t s . T h a t s a m e p l a y e r, however, may not have the same level of self-confidence in executing a one-timer when the game is on the line. Self-Talk Strategies Every player has self-doubts from time to time. Providing them with what sports psychology specialists call self-talk strategies can help them take ownership of their confidence and overcome any self-doubts they may have. In essence, the goal is to show players that confidence is something they can control. Self-talk involves all internal thoughts and spoken words that individuals think I

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