Heading into a hockey training camp can be one of two things; an exciting opportunity or a very stressful experience. Often, it comes down to perspective and being able to manage the distractions that can cause stress reactions. Training camps by their nature, can be stressful. It is the process hockey teams use to select their players for the upcoming season. It is also where uncertainty, assumptions, and expectations run high. As a player or coach, being able to be present in the moment, and make conscious, confident decisions are essential to performing at your best. Awareness of your thoughts and understanding their effect on your performance are key elements to having a great camp.
Let’s take look at this equation that explains performance:
Performance = Potential – Interference
Performance is how well we do, at whatever role we are engaged in. Potential is being in a mindful state of being, that allows us access to all the skills and talents we currently embody. Interference comes in the form of stress reactions. When we are under stress reaction, we create what we call horizontal thinking (past or future). This type of thinking distracts us and takes us out of the present moment (in part or fully) and will negatively affect how we perform.
The following are six main areas where you may experience distractions and/or stress, and questions to ask yourself:
- Spiritual – Do I still love the game of hockey, and all that comes with it? Am I playing or coaching because I want to or because I feel I have to?
- Mental – Am I overwhelmed, or bored with the process, or just trying to find your way either in your personal life or on the ice?
- Emotional – What are the stories I am telling myself of what is happening? Am I creating unnecessary stress for myself?
- Social – Are there people around me who I feel are not helping me show up as your best version of me?
- Physical – Are there anything physical reasons that may be getting in the way of me being at your best?
- Environmental – Is the environment on the ice or off it, creating stress for me?
Stressful thinking creates catabolic energy – an energy that can show up as anger or victim (at the effect of life) thinking that creates tension, worry, fear and other emotions, that will significantly limit your performance. It will block creativity, intuition, flow, and decrease confidence. Your awareness will be low and so will your level of engagement. How you carry your energy in one area of your life is how you will carry it in other areas. Positive, peaceful, and effective thinking will create anabolic energy that is healing, growth oriented, creative, highly intuitive, and associated with the experience of life flowing and being in the “zone”.
There are six ways a hockey player or coach can have a great training camp experience:
- Be Present – The now is where everything happens. Focus and concentrate of what is happening now. Make every effort to not create negative horizontal thinking (past & future) while performing. As we live our lives one moment at a time, just do your best in whatever moment you’re in.
- Be Authentic – Don’t try to re-invent your game at training camp. Do the things that you are great at and be consistent at that.
- Be Responsible – Take responsibility for the meanings and stories you create around events and interactions. If the story is not serving you, then change it to one that does.
- Accept What Is – Stick to the facts. Do not catastaphrize any one thing. Do not fight, struggle or give too much thinking energy to what is not in your control.
- Be Audible Ready – Be ready to change the plan if your asked to do something different (I.E. play a different position) or if what you are doing is not working.
- Have Fun! – Cut yourself some slack. There is a reason it’s called a game. Yes, it requires hard work, but you are living out your passion! Reconnect with why you love the game.
For more from Walter Aguilar and Natural Action Movement Coaching visit www.naturalactioncoach.com
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