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Positive decisions rather than sacrifices: building a strong future in Hockey
19 March 2011
 
story by Brendan Murray, WAIS Rower
 
Saturday the 19th of March saw me a little pressed for time as I rushed off from training to get to the Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin for the start of the Developing Champions presentation. My fears were laid to rest as I was pointed in the right direction by a friendly participant also heading to the seminar.
 
The sights and sounds of the hockey sticks, balls and astro-turf roused familiar and fond memories of my days as a young hockey player. I was happy to be back.
 
I was pleasantly surprised to recognise a few faces in the group and was glad I had the opportunity to share some of my experiences with everyone. We started off with the Understanding Me section, in which the group plotted where they currently sit in the hockey sporting pathway. In this section we also covered emotions, moods and the effects confidence has on performance. It was at this moment I shared with the gang how I take confidence from recent results, consistency and working hard at training.
 
When it came to identifying emotions, it seemed the girls in the group outperformed the boys; as shown by the pictionary-like emotions game. Two girls teams were victorious on two occasions, winning themselves some awesome prizes. The differences in the nature of hockey versus rowing was highlighted when Kate was talking about stress levels and the optimal performance state. Evidently, hockey players require a certain degree of ‘pump up’ but have to sustain this state for the whole game rather than a 6 minute race.
 
Visualisation was also uncovered as a tool to use pre-match or even pre-hit or penalty stroke. Some important things to remember about visualisation was the positive self-talk, clarity of the image, actually ‘feeling’ what is/will be happening and that the more you employ a visualisation technique, the better and more helpful it will be. We then followed on with a goal setting exercise. I was able to share with the group my own goals for both my sporting future and my life in general. We looked at short, medium and long term goals, all related to our ultimate goal. Essentially, this allowed the group to examine where they want to be, and the steps required to make it there. This exercise tied in quite well with the sporting pathway we established earlier in the session. Again, consistency in goal setting is important, the more you do, the easier it is!
 
To sum up the presentation, the Developing Champions program is all about equipping young athletes with the skills needed to succeed. In order to be successful, we must all be pro-active, in that we make things happen for ourselves and take accountability and control of our future.
 
"Sport isn’t about making sacrifices, its about making decisions and choosing where you want to be”.
 
 
Hockey athletes' training ground
vs
Brendan's "training ground" - lovely in summer but not so romantic in the cold of winter!
   
 
 
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