Practicing Smart to Improve Mental Preparation
Practice, practice, practice… This is what separates great hockey players from good players.
That doesn’t mean just showing up to practice. That is NOT enough. Too many hockey players think that they will play great hockey just because they practice five days a week.
Practicing requires a particular mindset to hone your skills.
It requires practicing smart…
- If you go through the motions in practice, you will show little improvement in games.
- If you want to skate faster, then skate faster during skating drills in practice.
- If you want to improve your shooting accuracy, then focus on your shooting accuracy in practice.
- If you want to improve your defensive skills, you will need to hone those skills in practice.
You won’t find a magic bullet to developing your physical game.
Skill development requires practicing smart.
Practicing smart consists of the physical act of repetition, the mental act of focusing and patience required to keep pushing forward when you don’t see immediate improvement.
If your efforts are just good enough during practice, then good, not great, will be what shows up during games.
There is no ON/OFF switch in hockey. You cannot practice one way and hope to play at a much higher level on a consistent basis during games.
If you want to be a consistent performer, you need to practice smart like a peak performer.
Focus and practice contributed to Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s historic goal that pushed Team USA to victory over Canada in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to win the gold medal.
Team USA last won the Olympic gold in 1998 while Canada won the gold in the last four Olympic Games. The gold medal game between Team USA and Canada ended in a 2-2 ties in regulation and then a scoreless overtime period.
It all came down to a shootout to decide the winner and it was Lamoureux-Davidson’s goal that was the difference-maker.
The interesting point is that Lamoureux-Davidson practiced her game-winning move thousands of times so it was merely a matter of executing what she practiced.
LAMOUREUX-DAVIDSON: “I worked on it thousands of times on tires. I butchered it hundreds of times and shot pucks at tires, and I mishandled pucks thousands of times doing that, just working on hands. And I’m just glad it worked out today.”
Practicing smart is the key to excellence on the ice.
Improvements are made over time and not by just performing the skill correctly over and over.
Each failed attempt provides feedback on both what not to do and what to do better next time. The act of physically performing the skill is only one part… You want to focus and intensity to each drill and scrimmage.
Even more importantly, you must not be deterred by mistakes. That is where mental toughness comes in. Mental toughness keeps you trying one more time, rather than giving up.
Be a peak performer… Start practicing smart!
How to Have Smarter Practice:
Write down one skill you want to improve during the upcoming week.
Identify the moments you can work on developing this skill (shoot-arounds, certain drills, scrimmages or extra work after practice).
Focus on specific objectives each day to improve your practice including high focus, more intensity, letting go of mistakes, and good communication.
After each week, evaluate your progress and set new objectives for the next week of practice.
Learn how to improve your focus in game and practice with “The Focused Athlete” audio and workbook program…
Improve Concentration in Sports!
If you’re an athlete who is frequently distracted, loses focus in competition, or wants to learn more about how to focus better under pressure, The Focused Athlete is for you!
Concentration and the ability to focus under adversity is what championship athletes do best.
It only takes one distraction to enter your mind for you to lose a critical point, miss a putt, or lose a second off your lap time. You cannot afford to let distractions run wild in your mind and cause you to make errors at critical times in the game!
The Focused Athlete is a complete system to teach you how to focus like a champion and harness the power of a zone focus every tie you step on the playing field, court, track or course in practice and games!
This workbook and CD program consists of 2 audio CDs that include 14 days of focus boosting exercises and a simple to follow workbook that guides you through each of the 14 days, helps you apply strategies, and customizes the exercises to your personal focus challenges.
- How to quickly identify distractions that sabotage your concentration and how to quickly refocus after distractions.
- How to use pregame routines to help you harness the power of zone concentration before competition.
- How to use preshot routines before shots or serves to help you be more task-focused instead of worrying about results.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
What are customers saying about our mental game programs?
“Peaksports.com website is so exciting. I researched them all and without a doubt your mental training site is the best! The vast amount of programs you provide helps athletes and coaches achieve higher levels of excellence in sports.”
~Doug Bolander, Hockey Coach
“I just wanted to let you know that my son skated this weekend at our Regional Competition. He worked his mental game and everything you taught him. He skated two wonderful programs, scored a personal best and ended up with the title of Pacific Northwest Regional Champion at the Intermediate level. Thank you for your wonderful training. He had the right focus and had so much fun at this competition. The title is sweet icing on the cake.”
~Pomaika’i, Sports Parent
“Kayleigh handled the pressure very well while many of the girls around her crumbled. She skated very well & ended 6th among the top 40 in the country. She achieved her personal best in both her short program & overall & tied her personal best in the long. I think you have really helped her!”
–Kathy Maksymec, parent