Confidence – The Collateral Benefit of Being Present In the Moment!

Mindfulness Hockey Coach

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

“Confidence is contagious, so is lack of confidence.” –Vince Lombardi

The Merriam-Webster dictionary uses the following definitions (among others) to define confidence as:

  • a feeling that you can do something well or succeed at something
  • a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
  • a feeling or consciousness of one’s power or reliance on one’s circumstances.

Hockey players and those who coach and work with them, acknowledge confidence as one of the most important keys to having success. It is not only one the ice but also off the ice.

Often, confidence is related to what a player or team has achieved in the past. That kind of confidence are what the first two definitions above, speak to. However, the third definition has to do with being mindful (choosing to be in the present moment on purpose, without judgement) and trust.

“Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” Barrie Davenport

Playing effective hockey is more about consciousness, awareness, and engagement; feeling and seeing – then it is about thinking. When adversity comes calling, it is the horizontal thinking (past and future), that interferes with a player’s ability to access their potential, get into the “zone” and ultimately perform at their best. This will negatively affect a player’s confidence by taking their focus off the present moment. They will then experience effortful action by trying to force their game. This can infect their teammates and create a momentum of negativity.

Being in the present moment, means 100% engagement in the 30-40 second shift that the player is in. While on the bench, they will use their mind it as a meaningful tool to assess, accept, and adapt, anything that has just happened. They will trust their instincts, creativity and hockey sense and ability. The more present they can be in the moment, the higher confidence they will experience. The result of being conscious of their own power to effect the game by effortless effort that comes from being in the “zone”. The difference being, rather than playing the game, they are being the game.

Inspire Connect Lead

The conclusion, then is, the best way for a player to increase their overall confidence is to increase their presence in the moment. The following are six things that need horizontal thinking (past & future to) in order to interfere with a player’s perfomance:

  • an ego
  • fear
  • doubt
  • anxiety
  • worry
  • self-pity

All the above are attributes that can negatively affect a player’s or team’s performance. It can and will affect their trust. Trust in the process, themselves, their teammates, coaches, and lead to sub-par performances.

Being 100% energetically engaged and present in the moment, only leaves situations to deal with (as past & future thinking is diminished). Since this is where the game or situation is happening, it is the only place that a player truly has any power.

“Being sure of your hockey ability, trusting your instincts and ability to access creativity in the moment, allows a hockey player to summon the emotion of confidence when they need it the most – by being 100% in the present moment” –Walter Aguilar


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TCS|Members Ice Hockey Coach Tips and Drills Todd Woodcroft

See Also

Walter Aguilar – is a Certified Professional Coach and COR.E Performance Dynamics Specialist. Using the mind/energy connection to performance, he teaches a unique approach to peak performance. He specializes in teaching mindfulness for hockey using the COR.E Performance Dynamics energy leadership system. This is based on the 7 levels of energy that thoughts create. These affect awareness, confidence, engagement, creativity and intuition. His equation of Performance = Potential – Interference, provides a framework for success in hockey and life.