Sport Psychology offers mental training exercises for the athlete within you. The athlete within you can also be a coach, general manager, parent or any other professional involved in hockey. This is part one.
This is an exercise I use with a lot of athletes and is certainly applicable
to hockey players and coaches. It is particularly good during the off season preparation time. I'm saving the explanation and discussion until
after people have had the opportunity to fail a few times.
So here is an exercise I would like you to try. Take a ruler
or tape measure. Grab a piece of paper and something to write with. On the
paper measure seven (7) inches and draw a line. Mark it in one inch increments
like I have more or less drawn below.
Now you are just about ready for one of the toughest
exercises you will ever be asked to complete as part of your mental game
training. The only thing you need now is a quarter or some marker like say a
poker chip. Place the paper somewhere in a room. Now I'm going to ask you not
to cheat on this. Please don't put it right in front of your computer, by the
remote control for the TV or your Xbox. This is sort of the opposite of the
instructions I would give you if this were a goal setting exercise. In goal
setting I want you to be able to see your goals easily and more or less run
into them all of the time. With this exercise I would like you to put the paper
somewhere less in your path. You don't necessarily need to hide it in a drawer
or behind a moat infested with alligators (well that would make it
interesting), but just not where you see it casually.
The next step is to place your coin, marker or poker chip on
the first mark. Only if you are neurotic does it matter if you start on the
right or left (top or bottom). What I want you to do is each day after the
first is to flip the coin over so it sits on the next line. You may only flip
the marker once each day. If (or when, I should say) you forget to move the
coin you need to start over. It might be a good idea to mark the first line
with the day you start.
Generally 80 percent of you will fail the first time.
Another 10 percent will lie and say they did it correctly even though they
forgot a day or two. Around ten percent will get it right. Remember, one turn
only once per day. If you forget a day you restart.
The exercise has deeper meanings. It has been very useful in
a number of areas working with athletes and other clients (coaches as well). It is simple, yet
complicated. If you dare, try and complete the task without trying to discern
its real meaning. It's just an assignment. Do try and complete the task.
Remember there is meaning in failure as well as success.
Have fun with this, teach it to some friends. In
around ten days I will post the purpose of this valuable exercise. You'll love
it even when you fail.
I posted last time that I have a number of team openings for next season. I've filled another so there are two left for now. To learn more about the mental training programs I offer for individuals and teams, please visit TheMental-Game