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HEAT turns up; psychology within hockey and high performance sport
14 January 2017

Hockey WA: Psychology Workshop

14 January 2017, Perth Hockey Stadium
Story by Cruz Hogan, WAIS Athletics (Javelin) Athlete 

 On the 14th of January Lead Facilitator, Jesse Phillips and myself were joined by dedicated and enthusiastic athletes from the H.E.A.T. Junior Hockey Team. Mr Phillips opened the floor with an inspirational speech about what it takes to reach one of sports highest pinnacles and the intense, overwhelming feeling of achievement that occurs when wearing the uniform with the elusive coloured rings for the first time - leaving hearts pounding and hands shaking.


In the session, athletes learned theories on teenage brain development and its effect on performance in sport, with focus on the reticular activating system (RAS). Athletes discovered the RAS is strongly manipulated by self-talk and belief, where positive thoughts are more likely to lead to improvements in sport performance and within other aspects of life. When applying self-talk during times of adversity, athletes learned the two mindsets (growth / fixed mindset) dictating how an athlete will cope with the situation. Initially, athletes struggled to differentiate between the two mindsets, however after prompting some sporting examples, athletes came up with examples of their own and understood the importance of applying a growth mindset approach to adversity.



Following on from self-talk, the focus was now on mental strength and building resilience. There were some great in-depth discussions on how athletes should accept that there are aspects of sport and general life outside of their control and how they could appropriately deal with these situations using a growth mindset. To finish off, athletes performed a PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) session where they all showed a great level of maturity and focus.


All in all, I believe it was a great experience for all the athletes involved, including myself - being my first Developing Champions seminar. I look forward to seeing these rising stars selected in senior national teams in the not too distant future!

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