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The Mental Side Of Hockey
4 March 2016

HOCKEY WA, Foundation Elective workshop, State Hockey Centre

Story by Trent Mitton, WAIS/AIS Hockey Player, member of Kookaburras Australian Men's Hockey Team

On Friday the 4th of March I joined lead facilitator Gary Moss to conduct a seminar for a talented group of hockey players. I have been a part of the Developing Champions program for a while now but this was the first time I have been the guest athlete at a Hockey seminar. So I was pretty excited about the evening ahead. Being able to relate to all the athletes in the room and seeing some familiar faces proved for a good night.

As I mentioned earlier Gary Moss was the lead facilitator for the workshop, It was his first time being involved with the developing Champions program. Being a past AFL player and keen sportsman he definitely added a lot to the evening. Having competed at the highest level of his chosen sport he had a lot of real life examples the young hockey players could relate to. I also learnt a lot about what AFL players focus on during their careers and how teams become successful. 

The first topic we focused on was mental skills. Everyone in the room identified how important they were in the game of hockey but admitted they probably didn't train them as much as they should. The question was asked "How do we train mental skills?"  These are the sort of questions we love in the developing champions program as it shows the kids are here to learn and it means they will leave with some new information and maybe a new way of developing their game further.

We discussed a range of different techniques to strengthen our Mental game. For example using positive imagery and really picturing yourself performing well. Its so easy to imagine making a mistake or be concerned with not winning, something I still do sometimes. We want to eliminate all the negative from our heads and try to only focus on what will make us better. Then we discussed the importance of having a routine and controlling the controllable's. These skills need continual work and I believe it's not something that gets mastered overnight. The Hockey players in the room all of similar age are at the perfect time to start practising these skills, so when they get to perform on the biggest stage they will have all the attributes.

To conclude the evening we talked about communication and how important they are in team sports. In particular being able to speak openly to one another, then further than that to your coach and off field team. Some aspects many athletes aren't good at. We also spoke about professionalism and how your personal image can affect your sporting life. 

I commend all the young hockey players that attended the Developing Champions seminar as it wasn't the most ideal time slot. Being on a Friday night I'm sure they may of had other things to do. To me it shows their dedication to their sport and how much they want to grow as hockey players. Hopefully they all took something away from the presentation that they can implement in their very next training session.

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