I am just in the middle of re-reading one of the books I used throughout my entire career to keep me focused and motivated as I worked towards achieving my goals on and off the ice. It is called, “In Pursuit of Excellence”, and it has one story in particular that I wanted to share with you that really helped me to understand the importance of having a laser-like focus in order to reach your goal of becoming an elite womens’ hockey player.
Here’s the story about focusing as the author, world-renowned sports psychologist, Terrry Orlick, tells it. It may not be about girls hockey specifically, but I think you’ll see the relevance.
“One night I was driving down a little dirt road in the countryside near my home. Something darted out of the darkness onto the road in front of me. My heart pounded as I lurched for the brakes. A large rust-colored cat was in pursuit of a little gray field mouse. The cat focused on that mouse as if nothing else in the world existed. If I had not hit the brakes I would have run over the cat – but she pursued that mouse as if I didn’t exist. Only after she had the mouse firmly clenched in her teeth did she acknowledge my existence before sauntering off in the woods.”
This is an example of maintaining laser-like focus no matter what distractions might arise – the uninterrupted connection between two things: a cat and a mouse, a performer and her performance, a female hockey player and her goal.
Let’s look at this one particular sentence again: The cat focused on that mouse as if nothing else in the world existed.
There are so many things that could distract you when you are out on the ice: what the ref is doing, what your coach is yelling, what your teammates or opponents are doing or what is going on in the stands. In order to stay focused in spite of all these distractions, you have to know exactly what you want and go after it with everything you have – just like the cat going after the mouse.
When you are able to maintain that singular focus, you will be completely absorbed in the moment and free from distractions.
That’s when you will be in the best position to move towards your goals with confidence.
When it comes to staying focused for female hockey players, you’ve got to think like the cat.
Work Hard. Dream BIG. Stay focused.
~ Coach Kim