Every hockey parent has been there- the night before the big game or even the day of. Tensions are high. Your child is nervous, worried, and maybe even a little excited. You might feel much the same. No matter how well you’ve prepared for this day, it’s important not to let mental tensions or blocks get in the way. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to get your young athlete and maybe even yourself ready for the game ahead.
Cast Aside Outside Worries
When your child steps on the ice, the only thing he should be thinking about is his performance and playing the game as well as possible. If worries from home or outside life are affecting your player, it will show in his game.
Thus, work on teaching your child to put aside outside cares and worries and to focus only on the sport. You may wish to physically have your child write down outside concerns and throw them in the trash- a helpful exercise. Or, you can just work on sitting down before play, breathing, discussing other concerns, and deciding, together, not to worry about them while on the ice.
Do Something Relaxing
One of the easiest ways to help your player relax before a big moment is to…well…relax. The night before the game or even the morning of, if there’s time, do something fun and light.
Play a board game, watch a movie, or just go for a walk. No matter what you do, relaxing and having fun can take some of the pressure off and allow your athlete to have a good time, which often leads to playing their best.
Don’t Focus on Winning
Finally, difficult as it may be, take the focus off of winning.
Encourage your athlete to just get on the ice and have a good time. Don’t allow him to dwell on what a win or a loss might mean. Instead, just keep the focus on having fun and not worrying about the outcome.
De-stressing before a game isn’t easy. But, if you can get your player into the right mental state, chances are that there will be nothing major to stress over anyway!