In the next two weeks, I will be presenting at Minnesota Hockey’s High Performance 15’s Camp at SCSU. The next two weeks will be geared toward those athletes.
Events like these are great opportunities. Athletes can learn how to play through the emotions that accompany the pressure to perform.
I was listening to the Losing Control podcast with Justin Su’a, and it got me thinking about confidence in a different way. His guest, Dr. Colleen Hacker, has written two books and has done some big things. I am going to read them, and from what I’ve heard, she’s got great resources. She also has several videos on YouTube and ESPN that are helpful as well.
Dr. Hacker mentioned that confidence follows focus. In other words, where you put your focus leads to where your confidence lands. Focus on mistakes, what’s wrong with you, and why you are freaking out when you know you shouldn’t steal your focus and your confidence.
Staying confident means active, deliberate effort on what you do well. Focus on strengths, skills, successes, and abilities that got you to this moment. Play within yourself. Trying to do too much will keep you from being you, and will lead you to focus outside of you. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you are the only person who lacks a unique ability and that everyone else has their shit together.
Even great performers have struggles, and often it is related to mental fitness.
Experiences like the HP camp are snapshots. Be proud you made it. But it’s not a yellow brick road to your hockey dreams. There will still be work to do.
Develop expensive confidence. Give yourself permission to feel it. Use your courage — along with your heart — and your brain to keep your belief in yourself alive.
You need all three. Here’s the beauty in things that are hard to believe — it’s simple, but not easy. All three are like a team. They support and need each other. When one struggles, you can focus on the other. Sometimes courage has to carry you. Sometimes it’s your brain. And sometimes it’s your heart.
Have courage. Take risks, but don’t be reckless. Be smart. Think before you speak, and make smart, simple plays that coaches love. Take heart. Love the game. Feel it. Respect it. Play with emotion. You know which ones are your strengths. Use it. I promise you won’t regret it because “you” showed up.
As I have talked about before, come up with four words that describe your best performances. Play with those in mind and use them to anchor you to your confidence. Visualize along with those words. Notice what you see, hear, smell, taste, and how your body feels. Visualize it three different times. First, generally. Second, in your next name. Third, in an important game or game situation.
The more you practice it, the easier it will be for you to get there. Remember that confidence follows focus.