More Soul: How To Mentally Prepare Your Player For A New Hockey Season
There are a lot of physical ways to prepare your hockey player for a new season. A gear check to make sure everything fits and is safe, cardio for stamina, strength exercises, stretching for flexibility...
But about their mental preparation?
The rigors of hockey don't stop with the physical. Hockey is extremely cerebral and mental preparedness is vital to the happiness and success of your player. And while you may not be a shrink, a sports psychologist or Ghandi, there are ways you can help start the season on the right mental foot.
1) Gut check. What are their reasons for playing? Are they still loving it? Having fun? Or are they doing it because it is expected of them, for their coach, or for you?
2) How are they feeling about their team? While it may be the same group of kids they have been playing with for years, things do change. Are there any concerns? Getting it out now means less frustration later.
3) External influences. Are they starting a new school? Did you move? Was there some family drama? Anything out of the ordinary could put extra stress on your player. Talk about it. Their non-hockey life can affect how they feel about being on the ice.
4) Support. Have you told them how much you enjoy watching them play? Seeing them grow or their level of commitment? Learning new techniques or making some new friends? A few kind words go a long way.
Now I am not saying that you should sit them down and rattle off each of these items at them. It's not an inquisition! Nothing will shut a kid up faster than if they feel they are being interrogated or being asked about their FEELINGS. Drop a question or two over a long car ride. Be subtle and casual. You never know what you opening you might get for a good discussion.
Do you have a special way of getting your player mentally ready for the season? Let me know in the comments1