Staying Composed After Bad Calls
Let’s face it, bad calls happen in hockey…
Sometimes the bad calls are in your favor and, other times, those unfortunate calls go against you.
So what? Bad calls happen and there is nothing you can do about… or can you?
A bad call may impact the game itself, but it doesn’t need to affect the way you play the game.
In a recent NHL game, the Colorado Avalanche faced the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Avalanche had a 3-1 lead with ten minutes remaining in the game when an unfortunate call went against Colorado.
The Blackhawks scored on an obvious missed offside call, cutting into Colorado’s lead. Despite Colorado challenging the call, the officials upheld the goal.
The Avalanche completely lost focus as well as their composure.
Over the next three minutes, the Avalanche gave up three more goals. The lapse of focus by the Avalanche eventually cost them the game, losing by a 6-3 margin.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was frustrated that his team lost focus which caused things to snowball out of control.
BEDNAR: “[The call] is what it is. For me, it’s 3-2 with [9:43] to go. That gives [the Hawks] a little life. It’s what we do after that that bothers me.”
Colorado defenseman Mark Barberio talked about how the Avalanche allowed the bad call to take the team mentally out of the game.
BARBERIO: “[The Blackhawks] started rolling [after the call], they started getting momentum, and I think we were sitting back even more just watching them play instead of being part of the game.”
When you are so focused on what you think is a bad call and adopt a “poor me attitude,” you focused is split between the past and the current shift.
The game had less to do with the Blackhawks winning than it did the Avalanche losing, in particular, losing focus.
You see, when you dwell on bad calls, those negative thoughts elicit strong negative emotions like anger or frustration. Now you have compounded the focus problem because you have two distractions pulling your focus away from the present moment.
What’s the solution?
How can you focus after a bad call?
There is a three-part solution to coping with a bad call:
- You need to understand that some things are out of your control during a game. Unlucky bounces, bad calls and poor ice conditions will happen. If you can accept this fact, you will be one step closer to overcoming the focusing problem.
- Keep your emotions in check. Of course, you frustration after a bad call get to you if it leads to a goal against your team or an unjust penalty is called on you. But you must move past these emotions and regain your composure. It may be unfair but it is outside your control.
- Refocus and get your head back in the game quickly. Remember, you can overcome a lot of adversity by controlling your focus.
Tips For Refocusing After a Bad Call
After a bad call, you need something to help you snap out of it and get back to what you need to do now.
One easy way is to use your self-talk to help you refocus.
Take time and adjust your equipment, take a deep breath and tell yourself, “Okay, let’s get back in the game.”
Tell yourself “NEXT!” Next shift, next play, or next possession.
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