Photo courtesy of Chris Mast/Everett Silvertips
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life” Eckart Tolle – Author: Power of Now
Hockey is played in the now. Once the game is over, it becomes part of the past. If it was filmed, it becomes our highlights on Sports Centre. For hockey teams, it becomes the learning tool for future games. The future is just expectations and possibilities. Whether a player thinks they will have a great game or is afraid or worried about having a mediocre performance – both thoughts are untrue because they have not yet happened and are only possibilities. The choice on which possibility to focus remains with the player. When the game is finally played, it will be framed in and experienced in the now; the only place a player has true power to affect the outcome.
The performance equation of performance = potential – interference explains the importance and power of being in the present moment in hockey. In an outcome focused sport, having consistent performances are essential moving forward towards a player’s and team’s desired goals.
Potential is all about a player being in the now and accessing their skills and talents. Skills are the tools gained by knowledge, experience, and repetition. Talents are the ability to use your body and mind in a way that maximizes your skills. In addition to these, the power of being 100% present allows a player to connect to the upmost creativity and intuition. This is where the state of “being in the zone and flow” happens. It is where you transcend from just playing the game to being the game. This is the power of now in hockey and can lead to remarkable success.
Interference is all about the distractions. It is about dealing with stress. Stress reactions cause horizontal thinking (past or future) in a player and take them out of the present moment. Hockey is such a fast and instinctual game that if a player is thinking the game, they find themselves a step behind the play or chasing the puck and forcing their game. This will cause them to get into a stress reaction state of being that may cause them to be frustrated, angry, or overwhelmed. All these emotions can lead to poor performances in the moment.
Stress for a player can come from the following six areas of their lives:
1. Their love of the game or lack of it
2. What they are focusing on and for how long
3. What story there are telling themselves of what is happening
4. Their relationships on and off the ice
5. Their physical well being and health
6. Their living and playing environments
When a player can learn self mastery of their thought world and shift from being in their thought world while playing, into the power of now, their performance will become more effective and intentional. State management is what COR.E Performance Dynamics is all about. A systematic approach to mindfulness that supports a player’s ability to shift their awareness and consciousness. This is accomplished by understanding the mind/energy connection to being able to tap into the power of the present moment.
A player’s focus and presence are required on every 30 second shift or game they play. Tapping more often into “zone of flow” moments is what separates the great players from the rest of the pack. It is in this state of being that creativity, intuition, and potential come alive and can be increased. The game is always played in and experienced in the now. Every moment and every game are a once in a lifetime experience.
When a player can tap into this power they become a force in that moment to be reckoned with.
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