You want to be noticed. Many times coaches and scouts notice you something that you don’t want them to see. Many coaches view body language as a window into your character and mental toughness. You may be a skilled and talented hockey player. Many players don’t often recognize that managing your body language is a skill and a talent that needs to be developed. If you display the body language of a quitter, whiner, complainer, or a head case, it will be noticed.
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 and your game. In order to control your body language you need to know if you are too tense, too relaxed or in your Optimal Performance Zone. If you are in your Optimal Performance Zone (OPZ) your body language will reflect it.
Being in your OPZ means you are confident, your focused on the immediate moment, time flies, and your having fun. Nothing can take you off your game and your excited to start the next shift.
If you are too tense, you are probably being hard on yourself, angry, and anxious. You may have difficulty managing your emotions, your body and muscles are probably tense and your mind is racing and worried about what everyone else but yourself is thinking. People watching may think you are playing out of control, choking, and see you as rattled.
If you are too relaxed, you probably have low energy and enthusiasm. You don’t really care about what you are doing and feel like there is too much to pay attention to in order to perform. You may appear to be going through the motions and people watching may think you don’t care, didn’t show up, have not heart and are disinterested.
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:
- Reboot 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.
To learn more about how we can help you enhance and develop this skill check out our website.