Your first day of your weekend long tryout is over. The anticipation, travel, and excitement that goes with all of it is stressful. One of the important life skills hockey teaches us is learning how to take care of yourself so you can maintain consistent performances despite all of life’s pressures and circumstances.
Before you start your day take some time to de stress as part of your preparation routine. Practice visualizing and progressive relaxation. If you don’t have a routine, you can go to our website and download our FREE Stress Management Visualization. It’s less than 10 minutes and an effective to de-stress and practice setting aside the stresses of life.
Relaxation and progressive relaxation help you and your body recover. The relaxation response as opposed to the stress response helps you to learn an important skill. The ability to shift from tense to relaxed and relaxed to tense. Having a familiarity with knowing how to do either gives you the ability to use thoughts, emotions, and physiology to dial up the state of mind you need perform in any given game or life situation.
It also helps you to managing your body language. Managing body language is a skill that can be developed. Managing body language starts with having an awareness. You must be aware of your thoughts, your emotions and your body’s physiology. These three things pour the foundation for you. In order to control your body language, you need to know if you are too tense, too relaxed or in your Optimal Performance Zone.
The key to learning how to move yourself back to your OPZ – is know how to manage thoughts, feelings and physiology. It starts with knowing how to move your body into that zone. All of our high school, college and professional athletes have a routine that helps them return. Your routine should include
- Rebooting your brain – The thinking and feeling parts of your brain need to work together and both need to be online. You can get them working together by doing one of the following; Take a centering breath, do alternating fist squeezes, alternate touching your toes to the top of your skates, or count down from 200 from by 7’s. Or set a mouse trap – really it works – you need two hands to do it and engages all parts of your brain.
- Visualize playing in your OPZ. Come up with four words that describe how you play when in your OPZ. Write them on the knob of your stick. Visualize using all your senses and your emotions.
- Smile or laugh – Easy for me to say and harder for you to do. But seriously think of a joke, tweet or Instagram. Try to smile at someone in the stands, or find some reason to laugh. Smiling actually changes your brain and body state.
The order you do these in is not important. If you have a routine that works, you may not need to change anything. Increasing your awareness and implementing a routine will help you to manage your body language, and consistently access your skill and talent so you can perform at a high level. You’ll get noticed for your character and mental toughness instead.