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Developing Hockey Champions
18 February 2012

Developing Hockey Champions

Presented by Jesse Phillips and Brendan Murray with Kate Bobridge

The Saturday afternoon session with the aspiring young champions started with an entertaining and informative introduction by lead presenter Jesse Phillips. The few dozen participants were introduced to the sports of sprint kayak and rowing (the chosen sport of yours truly), and then given a quick shake-down of our respective achievements and ambitions. Massive amounts of thanks must go out to Sally from hockey WA and also the fantastically alert Athletes who shared their time with us today.

The early part of the presentation covered all the integral aspects of injury prevention. The topics ranged from warm-ups, recovery, stretching, refuelling and preparation. Some of the more noteworthy figures are the amount of fluid us athletes ought to consume (40ml/ kg of bodyweight) and the amount of carbohydrates post-session or post-game (1g/kg). The timing of these recovery methods is also of high importance. We should be looking to rehydrate and refuel in the immediate 30minutes after exercise. The contrasts between static and dynamic stretches were highlighted in the section too.

We then had a break and got stuck into the tea, coffee and other refreshments. This also gave Jesse and I a great chance to have a brief chat with some of the group members as well as an opportunity to let the received information sink in.

So after the pit stop we jumped into some mental skills. This topic started with four groups nominating just how much of the on-field performance was determined by the mental side of the game. With democratically determined nominations ranging from 70% to 100% the groups’ average was roughly 80%. This is a massive figure, which was a great mathematical indication as to the direct and relevant importance of mental skills. These two questions then sprang to mind: How many times have we heard about getting the 1% right? How much time do we put aside to develop mental skills?

The key elements to come from this section were the secrets to successful imagery and meditation, including: clarity, accuracy, vividness, frequency and positivity. When combined, these elements work hard for each individual and can be the difference between success and disappointment. We were able to reinforce this lesson by running through a brief visualisation session of a stressful on-field encounter. More information can be found here: http://www.sportscene.tv/whitewater/canoe-slalom/training/visualisation-a-crucial-skill-to-aid-success

Our Routines formed another large aspect of this lesson. Jesse and I shared our pre-race routines, revolving around the clock, fuelling, visualization and warming up. We are all unique in what we need, and it’s important for find what works for you, and what is possible in the team environment. One aspect of the routine is to be flexible. Another is being fully prepared for what you need, and what you’ll need to do.

The more memorable part of the seminar was towards the end. We had three enthused volunteers play the longest game of celebrity heads ever known; the enthusiasm faded however as the battle of identity sleuthing raged in its own single-question way. Oprah Winfrey, Charlie Sheen and Elle McPherson were the three celebrities that had proved ever so elusive to our contestants. They are all known in the public eye by their traits, behaviours, influence and their ability to be either positive or negative role models. We then were able to recognize the faces of both sporting and non-sporting role models ranging from Roger Federer to Michelle Obama.

The next step was to identify what traits we athletes want to portray as role models, and the impact decisions we make have on how we are perceived by those who look up to us. Do we want to go out birding[1]on a Friday night? Should we always be trendy? Will the choices we make help us be body-licious? These are the kinds of questions young athletes will ask of themselves. When answering these questions, we must keep in the back of our minds the kind of personal brand we’re establishing. Our values, beliefs, what we do, and what our personal mission is make up our Personal Brand and help open opportunities and pathways through life.


The word Champion has many connotations and embodiments. There is an infinite number of ways to be a Champion. One thing all true champions have in common is an unshakeable confidence that comes from knowing oneself entirely. The path to being a champion and knowing oneself cannot be trod in a single night, week or month. It’s a lifelong striving to know oneself; strengthening weaknesses and playing your trump cards.

Know yourself; Jump on It!


Words by Brendan.


[1]Birding (verb). A practice adapted from bird-watching by outgoing young males and applied to the dance floor or other such social venues and scenes. Known to involve suave exchanges of flirtatious dialects between genders and accompanied by the dance moves makeus foolious and heyus babeus.

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