After 15+ years of experience playing, training and coaching
in girls’ and women’s hockey, I can tell you that the biggest
difference between male and female hockey is CONFIDENCE.
Boys tend to be OVER-confident in their abilities, while girls
tend to be UNDER-confident in themselves.
Let me give you an example that I share every time I speak
to groups about the role of the mental game in performance.
A few years back, when I was coaching a team of 11-12 year olds,
I had one player who had never scored a goal before in a game.
She never complained about it or got frustrated, but like any player
she wanted to feel the excitement and pride of putting the puck in the net.
And then in one game, it all came together. Not only did this player score
her first goal ever – she actually scored a hat-trick! You can only imagine
how excited the rest of us were on the bench, watching her play one of
her best games ever.
When the game was finished, I went up to congratulate her on all her
patience and hard work – which finally paid off in a great performance.
And you’ll never guess what she said to me…
“But I made that stupid pass on the power-play and they scored!”
And she was right. She made a blind pass across our zone on the
power-play breakout that got picked off by their penalty killer who
got a breakaway and scored. It was definitely a noticeable mistake.
BUT – it is also not something that should over-shadow the fact this
player scored her first three goals ever all in one game!
I share this “Hat Trick” story at almost every seminar I do with teams,
players and coaches. And every time I tell it in person, everyone in the r
oom nods their heads in agreement.
Because as ridiculous as that young player’s reaction seems,
we’ve all seen it before. I know that I definitely would have
responded in the same way when I was her age!
Most of the girls hockey players I’ve met – myself included – have
a horrible habit of constantly downplaying our accomplishments.
It’s like we think nothing is ever good enough. This isn’t a completely
negative thing – because it pushes us to want to be better. But being
unable or unwilling to own your accomplishments does absolutely
nothing for building up our confidence.
So… WHY do we do this in the first place?
I can tell you that it’s not because we’re fishing for compliments.
We don’t say things like, “I sucked that game” or “I’m the worst
player ever” because we want our teammates, parents or coaches
to tell us how wonderful we are. When someone tells us we played
a “good game”, we don’t say “I could have done X, Y and Z better”
because we truly believe that we aren’t any good.
The truth is…
::: We’re scared of being good. :::
If a player wants to play at the next level, and is willing to put in the
time and energy needed to get there, she runs the risk of being
seen as an over-achiever or kiss-up by her teammates. We worry
that if we take ownership of our accomplishments and graciously
accept the praise of others, people are going to think we’re “cocky”.
It takes a tremendous amount of confidence to push yourself towards
your dream, risk failure and face the judgement of others. Some people
are going to be supportive while others might not believe that you can do it.
I will never forget how one of my teammates in high school openly doubted
the fact I would reach my dream of playing NCAA hockey at an Ivy League
school. She wasn’t even discrete about it – she thought I was being cocky
and unrealistic in pursuing my lofty goals.
And the truth is, she could have been right. After all, who would have thought
that someone who only started playing at the age of 13 had any business
dreaming about playing hockey at one of the best academic and athletic
schools in North America. I can totally see how she might have thought I
was being unrealistic.
It bothered me that she would say these negative things about me and
I could have started to doubt myself, question my decision to pursue the
dream and let my foot off the gas.
But I didn’t.
Everyone who has realized a lofty goal has faced adversity.
You see it time and time again in sport, school and life.
In hockey, those challenges can come in the form of injuries,
getting cut, or having people tell you that you can’t make it.
All of these things make us doubt ourselves and grate on our confidence.
This self-doubt and lack of confidence can plague even the most talented
Because no matter how talented or motivated a player is, the hardest part
about developing confidence is that it’s NOT something anyone can give you.
Confidence doesn’t come from your teammates, coach or parents.
They can support you along the way as you pursue your goals.
But at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own confidence.
You HAVE to learn how to build up YOUR OWN confidence.
Because if you don’t, and you rely on getting it from others,
you risk being disappointed and frustrated when they don’t
give you everything you need.
Your mental game is by far the most critical area of your game to develop
if you want to take your performance to the next level this season and beyond.
I’ve created this step-by-step package to help you build rock-solid confidence,
develop laser-like focus and move towards your big dreams each and every day.
To get started with the Mental Performance Plus Program, click below:
Work Hard. Dream BIG. Be Confident.
Your friend and coach,