top of page

Mental Game Mistakes (and how to fix them)

You got drills and hit the ground running on mental training, but aren’t seeing results. Your consistency isn’t where you’d like it to be and you’re still not playing like yourself. Win Your Warm Up’s mental skills coach, Mike, wants to lend a hand by giving you solutions for five easy mistakes.

Starting way, way too big. You want to play your best, so you do breathing exercises before games; meditate at night; visualize in the morning; and write reminders, like ‘mentally tough’ on your equipment. Think about how that would look in practice. You’d be doing a million different things - some helpful, some not - and be toast by the last whistle hoping that something gave you the results you wanted. Start with short, simple, effective drills and only do advanced, time-intensive work if you need it.

Things aren’t going perfectly. Mental training won’t produce perfect focus or unlimited confidence in every situation. Physical skills, even simple ones, will never be perfect. Think about it: sometimes you have an ‘off’ dribble, lose a puck stick handling, fumble a catch, miss a shot, and you’ve practiced those things all your life! Be okay with ‘messing up’ at the mental game when you get started and treat it just like learning something new - celebrate the small successes and find ways to improve every day until it becomes as natural as dribbling or receiving a pass.

It didn’t work right away, so it must not work. You’ve tried focus exercises about five times last practice and it’s not working. Treat the mental game just like the physical game. Some skills are easier than others and some skills won’t appear without a lot of reps at practice. Give it two weeks and see what happens! If the drill isn’t producing the skills you want in two weeks, troubleshoot and find something new.