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Directing Your Thoughts to Perform Better - Junior Hockey News

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Published: Monday, 26 Mar 2012

Last week I talked about the allegory of riding an elephant to describe conscious and unconscious changes for a hockey player. The rider is in control of their performance just as long as the elephant wants to do the work. When the elephant decides it wants to play in the waterfall, the rider takes a bath. So the first part of making a change in your behavior is learning to be a good elephant rider. So this is what needs to happen:

I. Direct the Rider: (Cognitive Behavioral Techniques)

Understand your thoughts (Cognition) play an important role in what you do in relations to performance. How you talk to yourself is very important. Are you positive or negative in what you tell yourself?

- Find the bright spots (Id Positive and Negative Thoughts)

One thing that few of us understand is that we are often very negative with ourselves. One exercise I use with my clients is called bragging rights. The first thing we do is I ask them to tell me the good things that went on the past week in practice, games and life. They are not permitted to say anything about the things that didn't work out. This is because we here it all of the time when we talk to ourselves. We are so conditioned to not brag. Well if we aren't going to acknowledge the good things that went on, then who will?

After that the client can identify what went wrong during the week. This is all part of the process of learning to identify negative thoughts.

- Script the critical moves (Planning)

The next step is scripting. Like writing a screenplay for a movie only this is the movie of your life in sports. What is the plot? Even more important, what is the actors motivation, their purpose or Why? When you have an idea of how the movie I going to be filmed, you can work out the details. No screenplay is 100% like the movie. Changes are always made, but without the script the actors don't know their lines. You never know if it's a good movie or not, because the actors (you) are saying random lines. But with a script you have direction. Clarifying direction is the next step.

- Point to the destination (Goal Setting)

Goals- Roadmap to our Dreams

Goal Setting Done Right

In truth, I am tired of talking or hearing about goal setting. Everywhere I go and everything I read is on goal setting. I am asked to talk about it, teach it and preach it. Some believe that it is the most important contribution you can have towards success. And don't get me started about SMART goals. Okay, so maybe it's a good place to get started. But I had to share that while goals are important, goals are one part of the larger formula, just so you understand where I come from.


Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Research-based, and Time-bound

  • S ____________________________
  • M ____________________________
  • A ____________________________
  • R _____________________________
  • T _____________________________

Okay, so SMART GOALS do make sense, so I won't throw them out as they are useful, but then again it is not the whole story. SMART Goals are best practices and what most everyone teaches. I'll tell you a secret about goals setting that works almost like magic another time. Or you can cheat and order a copy of The Athlete within You.

Back to our elephant rider. Good riders understand how to take control. So in understanding your thoughts you can put the elephant to work. Now we just need to persuade the beast that work is good for them. NEXT TIME: II. Motivate the Elephant: (Understand your Why- *AMP UP)

If you would like to understand Emotional Intelligence better, more information about the ESi can be found at the link below. Cost of the ESi is $99 and includes a full report. A bonus I'm offering is if someone takes the ESi via my link, I will do a 15-20 minute debriefing with the athlete, at no additional charge via SKYPE or phone. Take the ESi Now. http://bit.ly/AumKFL

Athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for close to thirty-five years for his expertise in helping them live up to their potential. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game. Mike founded Sport Psychology Consultants in 1983 and has helped over 2000 athletes. Mike has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. Mike Margolies is available for workshops, team and individual consultation, assessment and as a speaker. His new book is called "The Athlete within You- a mental approach to sports and business" http://themental-game.com/.


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* Article disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Mike Margolies, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.

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