The Expectations Game:

The beliefs we have about how we think a game or performance will go make up our expectations. Beliefs are often shaped by coaches, parents, as well as cultivated from hundreds of messages we have heard over time. Mastering the expectations game requires the ability to go into competition with expectations that are flexible and based in realism.

Our expectations significantly influence how we interpret the events of the game and need to be realistic because when they are not we live on a tight rope of emotion resulting in being overly self- critical. Making some basic adjustments in our expectations can alter this negative cycle.
  1. Take the words always and never out of your performance. These words create the illusion of perfection which doesn't always exist and sets people up for inflexibility and intense frustration. Perfection would be great to strive for, but at the same time is almost impossible to maintain. For example, a training camp goal of not letting any goals in may be obtainable, but what then happens if you do. Striving for perfection is a great a goal to work towards, but at the same time it may never be obtained, and if it is, how consistent is it achieved.

  2. Try not to see any one event as more important than the other. Many athletes put significant pressure on themselves not realizing that success is predicated on putting together a consistent string of actions leading towards a goal. They do not have to all be flawless in order to move you closer to your goal. Consistency is a key factor in how one views your performance and mental make-up as a goaltender. A goaltender that doesn't let a goal phase him and force him to change attributes of his game, remains consistent in how he plays.

  3. Before your next performance think through what the worst thing that could happen is and prepare yourself for how you will deal with it. This empowers you to know before hand how you want to deal with whatever might happen. For example, knowing how to deal with a goal that is scored against you. After thinking about the worst thing that could happen, then develop a mind-set for success by looking towards what you are trying to obtain. In hockey this may be achievement (awards) or competition based.

Understanding how to deal with the expectations of the game is critical in helping you maintain an optimal mind-set leading to you being able to be your best in any situation that might come your way.

Ending off with a simple quote. " Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

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