Focusing on Your Own Talents in Hockey
It seems natural for young hockey players to compare themselves to their teammates and other players around the league.
Many young players compare their stats, physical attributes and hockey talents to other players around them. These hockey players believe that comparing themselves to other players will motivate them to improve their game.
Unfortunately, this view is not true… Comparisons to other players are the biggest threat to a player’s confidence–when you feel you don’t stack up.
There are several other sources, other than the players themselves, which contribute to the comparison trap.
Parents, coaches, teammates and media evaluate how players stack up against their counterparts, compare game day stats, or publicly praise certain players on the team.
No matter what the source, the message received is the same… “I’m not good enough.”
Think about how comparisons work…
When you compare yourself to another player, you pick someone with better stats, someone faster, or a more polished player than you.
When you constantly compare yourself to players you view as “better than you,” your confidence will take a hit, your motivation will suffer and your enthusiasm will drop.
If you want to play your best, develop your skills and further your game, you must learn that the only comparison that is a good comparison is self-comparison.
Self-comparison is when you look at what you did today and compare it to yesterday.
When you compare yourself to what you did yesterday you look for little ways to improve your game each day. With each step forward, your confidence grows.
Pierre-Luc Dubois knows to steer clear of the comparison trap. Dubois was drafted No. 3 overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2016 NHL Draft.
As with all high draft picks, comparisons to other players are constant. Top picks get compared to other players in the draft, other players in the league and even top picks from previous years.
It takes a lot of mental strength to not fall into the comparison trap.
Dubois keeps the focus on himself rather than tending to what other players in the league are doing.
Even after starting his career playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League while the two players drafted before him were having successful rookie campaigns, Dubois still avoided comparing himself to other players in his draft class.
DUBOIS: “I don’t compare myself to anybody. Every player in the draft is different. There are players in the fifth round who become superstars. [Columbus] drafted me to become a better player in my prime. I’m just 19 and I’m still getting stronger, getting bigger. I never really compared myself to anybody.”
Dubois is having a strong start to the 2017-18 season by maintaining his focus on his improvement.
DUBOIS: “Every practice and every video session I’ve tried to learn as much as I could, and now I feel really comfortable whether it’s systems or play without the puck.”
Dubois compares himself to the player he was last game, last month or last year.
They key is to focus on your talents.
Try to be a better version of yourself each and every day.
Stop the Comparison Trap:
After each week or training and games during the season, write down personal successes or how you might improve based on games or practice sessions.
Each week, review your notes from the previous week. Note your progress.
Are you keeping the focus on you? What areas of your game have you improved?
To feel confident, you want to focus on your talents and abilities that you bring to the game instead of what others have.
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