Mental toughness has a direct relationship to your confidence. As your mental toughness rises, so does your confidence. These two qualities feed off each other and can make you a great athlete or block you from doing your best. (Wiley, 2010, pg.20)
The more physically fit you are and the more you trust your body, the greater your mental toughness. Think about it for a second: If you feel confident in your body – your muscles are strong, your cardio is at a peak level, and you’re quick – you’re tough mentally too. You’re able to stand face to face with your opponents and know you’ll outlast them. (Wiley, 2010, pg.27)
You can’t feel confident if you haven’t given yourself permission to feel confident. (Wiley, 2010, pg.58)
WORKING WITH A LIFE COACH
Coaches and staff in the CHL provide excellent support to help their players get the most out of their junior careers. Their primary role is to teach and develop the skills necessary to give the players the best possible chance to advance to the next level. Also, because hockey at this level is a business, they must balance the needs of the team, owners, league and NHL teams along with the needs of the players.
In a survey of coaches, players, parents and billet families, 96% feel that having off-ice support to help with motivation and self-confidence may help to improve their performance. See Appendix A
Working with a Life Coach can give the player an advantage by helping them take ownership of their performance and career. It can effectively compliment what they are being taught by coaches and other support staff by assisting the player to identify and openly discuss any obstacles that may be affecting their focus, motivation or confidence.
As with any Coach and Client relationship, it is important to establish a confidential, trusting environment. The player needs to feel they can share their thoughts without the fear of being judged or having them repeated to coaches, media, public or their peers. To create this trust, it is crucial that the Life Coach have no input as to the amount of ice time that the player will get.
Life Coaches can help with improving focus, increasing motivation and building confidence by using the following techniques:
Powerful listening, helping to clarify goals, identify strengths, creating a self development plan to help track progress, helping to increase self awareness, identify obstacles, creating support structures, visualization, helping to identify underlying beliefs, reframing or shifting perspectives, creating action steps, accountability, celebrating and acknowledging accomplishments.
The player will get the most from the Coaching Process if it is not mandated by the team. If they are engaged in the process and willing to invest in their off-ice game by working with a Life Coach they will be more successful.
When we applaud the person who shows up to collect an award we don’t give much thought to specific tasks they had to do to get there. (Perseus, 2011, pg.71)
Elite junior hockey players in the Canadian Hockey League are in a position for their wildest dreams to come true. At first glance they appear to be living a charmed life where everything is exciting and easy. But, their dreams come at a price.
At a young age they are exposed to an enormous amount of pressure. They are trading in the game of hockey for the business of hockey. The decisions they make and how they handle pressures and distractions can make or break their careers.
Focus, motivation and confidence are critical aspects of the mental side of the game. Working with a Life Coach to help improve these three areas can help to elevate a player’s performance and advance their career.