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From amateur to pro: the mental side of hockey success
Hockey is mentally demanding as much as it is physical. To move from amateur to pro level, you obviously want to improve your strength, stamina, and skill. But there’s no point in being physically competitive if your mind’s holding you back from properly competing.
In the UK, we’re in the midst of hockey season. So what better time to get your head in the game? Even if you’re in the US where the season is winding down, it’s never too early to start preparing for next year.
This month also brings with it the hockey qualifiers for Tokyo 2020. We’ll see Great Britain’s women go up against Chile while the USA will go head to head with India. Great Britain’s men are set to face Malaysia to secure their spot in next year’s Olympics. After working on your mental game, there’s no reason why you couldn’t go all the way and secure your own place in a future Olympic Games.
If you want to make that push from amateur to pro, then here are some basics tips to help with your winning mindset.
In high-pressure game conditions, there’s no space for distractions. You need to be able to switch off everything else and focus on the present moment. No matter what may be happening off the field, you need to leave it behind. For the duration of the match, it should be getting your full and undivided attention.
Your ability to focus on an end goal - advancing your sporting career - will also help you stay motivated and committed to a rigorous training schedule.
Throughout hockey season, you’re bound to make errors and slip up every once in a while. But it’s essential that you refocus and get back on track even when things go wrong. Mistakes will always happen. But they won’t impact you as much if you let them go. Otherwise, they’ll continue to affect your future performance.
Working on your resilience will also help you maintain your composure. In a tournament setting, you need to be able to keep going even if you lose. You need to keep your cool, maintain focus, and carry on. View every loss or mistake as an isolated event and leave it in the past.
By building your self-awareness you get to know your weaknesses and limits. This way, you know exactly where to channel your training and can target the areas you know need the most work.
In the run-up to a big competition, you won’t have time to work on every aspect of your game. Instead, you should be honest about where you’re falling short and start there.
Throughout every up and down of your hockey career, it’s important you remain confident in your own abilities. You’re bound to face competitors who make you doubt your abilities, especially if you have a tough loss. But you can’t let this get to your head and knock your confidence.
You can’t compare yourself to anyone else. Confidence will give you the belief that you can succeed and overcome all obstacles. It can be a massive driving force for propelling your career forward.
In 2017, the average hockey club size in the UK rose by 54%. With so many players out there, the competition’s on to take your hockey career to the next level. Maybe the only thing holding you back is your mind.
So you’re the fittest and strongest you’ve ever been. You’ve also worked on your mental game and are as focused as ever. Now let’s look at your protection. Our wide range of mouthguards offer a personalised fit and come in a large variety of designs. We’re partnered with Great Britain Hockey so you know we’ve got your back! Shop our full range here.