One thing that we bring up constantly is managing your thoughts. When bringing up the concept of controlling the factors that you can control the number one thing that must be taking hold of is your own personal thoughts. "THOUGHTS lead to ACTIONS.... ACTIONS lead to HABITS... HABITS lead to CHARACTER... CHARACTER determines SUCCESS"Now looking into what may change your thoughts about your game:
  • When a coach makes a decision to play the opposing goaltender in the next game over you - Does thing change your thoughts to thinking that your aren't as good of a goaltender? Does this make you doubt your relationship with the coach and the team?
  • When you come out of the gate to enter the ice surface and the arena stands have very few empty seats... A Major Junior Goaltender may see 14,000 fans... playing in the Bell Centre in Montreal you may be in front of as many as 21,272 people in attendance... With this said, does this change your view on the pressure of the game, does this make you feel small or big?
  • The score is tied 2-2 with 5 minutes left in the 3rd period. Your rookie defensemen  sends a pass from the side boards straight up the middle for a gift on the opposing teams stick. They move in and score. As you finish the game by a loosing score of 3-2 do you enter the room with disgust about your teammate or are you looking at what you could have done to change the situation.
  As we said before, number 1 the game is all about controlling what is between your ears. Beyond our technical game, our athleticism, etc... we will be dominate and in charge!
  • Coaches decisions can not be controlled. There is no way to be fully in charge of the words a coach says to you and the positions he may put you in. But, you can control how you respond! Many times a coach may do something simply to test you and to see how you will respond. They want to know what type of CHARACTER you are. Keep this in mind and be in check for what you say and the actions you take as they are always being judged.
  • When entering the ice for games that have a lot of pull on the standings, for games where the team is up against a strong divisional opponent... you must rely on what you can control - this tends to fall on how you manage pressure. You can control this. Seeing fans in the stands, going into a loud barn... you can USE THIS. In the room before a game your team turns the music up to get everyone amped up and excited - Think about the same concept with the crowd. They are there to get you motivated. In turn though, it is important that you know your optimal level of arousal - This relate to how high and low you should be feeling. If there are lots of open seats in the stands how can you get back to that same state.
  • It is always easy to play the blame game. When someone on your team makes an obvious mistake it is easy to pick on them and know that it is not your fault. While, in doing so you are changing your own THOUGHTS to thinking that you are the all-mighty and that goals are never your fault. We must think about what we can do to help. What could have I done to aid the situation. Could I have communicated better with my defensemen, could I have read the situation better to be more aware of the opposing team, could I have had my mindset being more EXCITED rather than THREATENED by the turnover.
  Mental toughness demands control of what you can control. You must control the situation rather than let the situation control you. As we go through the month of July and August look at preparing for these situations.