The true measure of a mindful warrior is how he responds to things that are not in his control” –Walter Aguilar
Injuries are the risks that hockey players take when playing the game they are passionate about. Playing hurt with the bumps and bruises that come with playing a hockey, is a given. However, being injured can be a challenge because it takes a player out of all their daily rituals and can affect their connection to their teammates, coaches and even to themselves. Often, they forget that they are not their role of a hockey player – that is just what they do; play hockey. Who they are is much more amazing and powerful than that.
When players get injured they can experience energy drops that may cause them to be frustrated, fearful, sad, angry, disappointed and disconnected. This is because they care deeply about the team, coaches, their friends & family who support them, and the role they play to the team’s success. It may feel like this has been taken away from them. When others ask them how they are doing, they may answer “fine” or “OK” because there be too many conflicting emotions or they may feel being vulnerable can be seen as a sign of weakness.
They may mope around and feel sorry for themselves. They can get frustrated and want things to be different than they are. They may also become fearful because the healing process is not happening as quickly they anticipated. However, the opportunity exists to reframe what has happened as a chance to learn, grow and adapt to be even better players. The following three attributes (if adopted and integrated) can help a player create a positive, anabolic energy perspective to come back even better than before the injury occurred. These attributes are: awareness, acceptance and conscious choices. As hockey players and people, there exists a universal principle – “we are always at choice.” Adopting and integrating these attributes, will empower them and alleviate some of the negative, catabolic emotions associated with being injured.
Awareness is the essential first step to injury recovery
They must become aware & informed about their injury. Understanding that they are not playing in the short term to avoid any long term consequences. Also, becoming aware of what thoughts they are having about the current situation is important. What story is he telling himself about the injury? Being able to separate what is actually happening from what they believe is or has happened is crucial. If the mental story the player is telling themselves is not serving him, then it’s time to come up with one that does.
“He who tells the story rules the world” –Ted Kuntz
Pain is inevitable, suffering is an option
Learning to accept what is, is important to preventing unnecessary suffering that can drain a player’s precious healing energy. Accept the injury. It is what it is. Wanting something to be other than it is, creates stress reactions and horizontal thinking. Acceptance of what is not in their control will help their peace of mind. “What we resist, persists.” Letting go of any negative self-talk, worries, fear, anxiety etc. is key. The future is not the truth because it has not happened yet. Sometimes a mindful warrior just needs to stand down to fight another day. If they decide to play with pain, they must accept the pain. Not allowing the pain to have them half in, half out of the present moment. Being aware of any story their mind creates with horizontal thinking (past or future). They can be in the moment and just do their best. They can’t beat themselves up for not being able to show up like you when they are 100% healthy.
Make a Conscious Choice
Now that they have gathered all the clarifying information they need and accepted that which is not in their control, time to make a conscious plan. Trust in the process, is a choice. Trusting medical professionals, their team, coaches, but must of all trusting in themselves is key to recovery. When they must sit out and rehab their injury, they follow the recovery plan with enthusiasm and discipline. Players can use the down time to become a student of their game; by watching the games live and viewing game films, from a “what can I learn” perspective? Players can also use the time to focus on things that matter to them; their physical fitness, schooling, connecting to their friends and family at home.
Choosing to use the emotional influencer to help a player shift their emotion from catabolic (negative) to anabolic (positive) is what is meant when people say “you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude to what has happened” Higher catabolic energy is healing energy. They more a player can be in this energy the quicker the healing process will occur. Here are some ways that they can shift their emotions in the moment:
- Listen to music
- Speak with a teammate, coach, /COR.E Performance Dynamics Specialist
- Phone a friend
- Journal about what is bothering them/write poetry
- Get a massage/go in a tub/go for a swim
- Read a spiritual (The Bible) or uplifting book
- Use the internet to ready funny or inspirational quotes
- Take a walk in the woods or even just around their immediate area
- Meditate, pray, focus on positive outcomes
- Play a game
- Spend time with a family member or friend
- Walk the dog
- Sing or play an instrument
Walter has fans everyone. Have a look at what Colorado Avalanche Director of Player Development has to say about working with Mr. Aguilar.
Walter Aguilar and Chris Morgan provided excellent mental performance coaching for our 2016 Development Camp. They delivered three presentations on mental performance and provided 1-1 breakthrough coaching sessions for each of our prospects.
Their presentations helped the players understand the mind/energy connection to performance. The players learned how to be mindful in the moment and not let negative thoughts distract them from their tasks. Their 1-1 coaching with players will help them develop and use tools for getting in the zone before their games and move past previous performance blocks.
Chris and Walter delivered a whole new way for our prospects to mentally and physically take their skills to new levels. I enjoyed working with them both and I would definitely recommend Walter and Chris to any team or player looking for cutting-edge mental performance coaching.
Director of Player Development
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- Jim Robinson & Injuries: How Do We Keep Our Players on the Ice?
- Stress Reactions – The Confidence Killers
- Dr. Justin Davis: Debunking the 10,000 Hour Rule