Players may think that success on the hockey field comes down to natural talent. While natural skills, talents and thinking on the field is an important factor, it is possible to not excel naturally in any of these and still do well through a positive and mentally strong mind-set. The reason for this is that these players are more consistent within the game and are less likely to panic under pressure.

If you aren’t reaching your hockey goals, here are a few pointers to find out where you can improve mind-set and therefore improve your hockey skills:

  1. Humility:

Being humble is of the utmost importance, not only for your teammates but for your mental state as well. Try not to think poorly or highly of yourself but remain an equal amongst your team – this is a great way to ensure you are able to work together for the greater good of the team. Being humble is also about wanting to continuously improve, being quietly confident and realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Don’t be afraid of failure:

Failure is never a nice experience but there are many positives that can result from it. It is important to recognise when and how your team lost the game and where you went wrong, so that you can put strategies in place to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. In other words, the best place to learn is from your mistakes. Don’t shy away from admitting it to others as they may be able to help you – be willing to ask for help in order to gain a better insight into your game.

  1. Open-mindedness:

It is important to recognise that everyone has different opinions on the way to train for and play the game. If your coach or an expert gives you advice or instructions to play in a way that you aren’t used to, try it out to the best of your ability – it may just benefit you greatly.

  1. Persistence:

While this is related to physical performance, it also has a much broader application to the game. We all make mistakes and fail at times but the key is to not let that disturb our game mind-set. Persistence is to continue, regardless of how disappointed or upset you are about the incident, and continue to give all areas of the game your all.

  1. Practice a positive attitude:

It is important to realise that attitude is a choice, so it is best to choose to have a positive one.  To do this, try to see your sport as an opportunity for growth and progression, and see your failures as learning opportunities rather than disappointments. Your attitude is the personal attributes you possess and represent your mental outlook to the people around you.

Note to coaches: As the leader of your team, a strong sports mind-set starts with you. Practice these qualities with your players and apply them to your own life. Seek insight from your players after every practice and game to help the acknowledge each other’s strengths and their team failures. Allow them to suggest areas in which they could improve and be open to arranging personal time when asked to practice their individual shortcomings.