Why Andre Burakovsky Needs a Better Mental Game
Do you have high expectations for your performance?
Are you self-critical?
Do you sit on a mistake too long and bring it with you to the next shift or play?
Andre Burakovsky, a Capitals forward has zero points in six postseason games.
After the last home game, Andre opened up about the mental game challenges he’s facing. He admitted that he’s “very hard on himself and focuses too much on bad or failed plays.”
Andre mentioned that he got upset with himself in the last home game because he didn’t execute the plays he wanted to. He said:
“Obviously when you get frustrated with yourself like that, that’s when you put yourself in a bad position. I think I just need to stay calm here and just forget about the last shift and focus on the next one.”
Further commenting on his mental game struggles, Andre stated:
“I’ve always been really hard on myself and I’m probably always going to be. Ever since I was a kid I had high expectations of myself and I just think I have to get rid of that a little bit… there’s always that next shift coming up. It’s kind of my problem. I think when I’m doing something bad, I’m thinking about it for a long time and it sits in my head. I’m going to work a lot over the summer to get rid of that.”
Andre recently hired a sports psychologist, recommended by past and present teammates, to help him park his high expectations and play each shift at a time.
The Capitals forward recognized the impact of his mental game on his performance and is now taking action to improve his mental toughness.
Similar to Andre Burakovsky, many athletes have high expectations of themselves, are self-critical after performance, and struggle to move on after mistakes or bad plays.
Also, like Andre, this may hold you back…
One of the most important steps to building your mental strength and being successful as an athlete is to manage your expectations.
With high, strict expectations, you become judgmental and self-critical of your performance. When you judge your performance harshly, your confidence takes a hit.
Additionally, there’s no way you can focus in the moment and play in the present while thinking about the last mistake or shift.
Immediately let go of the mistake you made and refocus by thinking of what you have to do next. What you want to do to during the next shift.
Managing expectations and letting go of the past are two critical factors at being successful in your sport.
Like Andre, they could be holding you back.
If you want to improve your mental toughness, learn more about our mental training programs for hockey players:
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If you’re a top performer during practice but find yourself under-performing in competition, the most likely culprit holding you back is your mental game.
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“I coach 2002’s at a AA level. I’m convinced that half of them are held back more by their minds than their bodies, maybe more than half. I like your 10 costly mistakes players make. The language is targeted at older kids, but the ideas are simple enough to convey to younger players. I’ll be using some of this for our game this afternoon!”
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