You’re going to want to read this one because I believe it’s critical to understand the mind-set of young hockey players. Believe it or not, we all share the same role as parents, on-ice coaches and strength trainers. We have a duty to teach and educate them, and we have a responsibility to help them believe in their potential. We need to help build their confidence and support them through the adversity they’re going to face during their development as a young player.
It’s time to put things into perspective here. In this blown up era of minor hockey it’s sad that the sociological and psychological needs of young players often take a back seat to the ego of the parent or coach whose focus is too much on winning. If you don’t understand that hockey is merely a platform for developing young players into great human beings, you might wonder why they quit when they get a little older and realize it’s just not fun anymore.
I can’t tell you how many times parents have come to me asking, what exactly I have done to influence their player to perform better on the ice. When they notice their player works harder on the puck and not afraid to battle or go into the corners, they’re dumbfounded. Those parents can’t believe how I’ve been able to transform their player to have more confidence on the ice. Those parents even tell me they can even hear it in the tone of their player’s voice in the car ride home after a game. Their kid is more confident, it’s that simple.
Why is that, and how do I do it? Simple…..every single player I work with dramatically increases their confidence because they become stronger and more powerful in the gym. I can tell you this from my own experience growing up, that when I quit playing hockey because I didn’t have confidence, I found it again in the gym. Being physically strong builds incredible confidence and it shows on the ice. When players are challenged in the gym to achieve great things, you can bet it translates on to the ice in a big way, where all of a sudden their fears are gone.
Trust me, the players I’ve worked with don’t worry about those fears anymore because I can get them to believe in their potential. I show them I believe in them, when they don’t believe in themselves. When I challenge them to something in the gym that they didn’t think was possible and they actually achieve it, their confidence goes through the roof. And they develop a burning desire to show it on the ice, to show everyone what they’re made of.
But it’s not all just about building strength in the gym. We need to complement their entire development with positive reinforcement and encouraging coaching methods. Inspiring players to believe in their potential in the gym, at home or during practice has a massive impact on their mental development. If you want the most out your players and help their confidence you need to learn what to say and what not to say to them, especially when they fail or make mistakes. Helping them learn how to perceiver through adversity will be a key challenge to their overall long-term development physically and mentally.
Here are 5 tips to helping your players build more confidence;
- Support their efforts no matter what.
- Listen to their needs and desires.
- Believe in them when they don’t believe in themselves.
- Lead by example and be a positive role model.
- Live by your word because they need to trust you no matter what.
Player’s talents will only take them so far because their fears will kill their confidence. The fear to make mistakes, get yelled or disappoint their parents and coaches. When you focus more on their mind-set and how to get the most out of them you’ll see a big difference in their performance and confidence on the ice. You’ll also see them grow to be more confident and succeed in their future life endeavors as well.