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DAILY DISH: Psychologically Fit? Junior Hockey News

Published: Thursday, 5 Mar 2020  
By: Stephen Heisler,

It's often said that on-ice success depends more on a good attitude than physical ability.  By the time the player reaches the junior level play, his attitude in regards to the development of his talent is what separates the prospects from for pretenders.

Many junior coaches described a player's positive psychological adjustment, and not talent, as the most important aspect of the players success.

Coaches use positive descriptive phrases like loves to play, positive attitude, coachable, self-motivated and team player to describe what they like about individual players.  Other qualities used are strives to improve, dedicated, gives best effort, good sportsmanship, and encourages others.

Physically pushes self, footwork, and physically gifted are terms used less often than those above.

Why is that? 

Because many coaches subconsciously place a stronger value on psychological aspects than anything else. Its because they are confident in their own abilities to address athletic shortcomings. 

Parents who want their children to succeed in hockey---and life---should encourage and support these positive psychological attributes.  Most parents have limited personal athletic experience and many feel of the pair to face the challenges of guiding the children.

Moms and dads always have questions after the game. How did you play is a better question than did you win.  Lets face it, hockey is a team sport and outside of the guy manning the crease, winning or losing is beyond most individual players control.  The players thoughts and feelings about the game should be directed at his individual performance. 

Like professional hockey, junior hockey teams place a high emphasis on winning, and that's natural.  Unfortunately, livelihoods are on the line, and while players come and go, winning coaches generally keep their jobs.  

At the end of the day, players need to realize whats going on inside of the head of each coach. Players that work hard, are respectful, and follow the coach's direction are the same guys that win the coach's confidence on game day. So, ask yourself this question, do you have his confidence?

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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