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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.

I did it for two weeks, but it’s not working. Did you try once every few days for two weeks or multiple few times per practice for two weeks? Consistency is key! You wouldn’t try a new breakout, learning a new route, or practicing a feint once every couple days and expect results, would you? You’d make a habit of trying, because you’re an athlete and want to play your game well. Work at mental skills with the same intensity and consistency, then see what happens!

You’ve picked up drills other athletes use, but they’re not working. Different coaching cues, weight training protocols, or equipment (e.g. sticks, gloves, pads) fit some people well and not for others. Mental skills work is the same way - look around for what makes the most sense for you, not just what someone else very successful does. You can try 5 or ten drills that worked for someone else, but you’ll have invested a lot of time in finding one that’s a good choice when asking ‘what’s the problem and how should I fix it’ is the better solution.

When you can’t focus, you can’t play your best. Win Your Warm Up solves that problem in a very individualized way. WYW is an online mental skills training program built into your warm up, so it doesn’t add extra training time to your day. You learn mental skills, how, and when to use them. With knowledge and confidence, you individualize your own mental training program and practice it consistently every time you warm up. You play focused, feeling readier. Give a look. We want to make sure you have the resources that fit you best, so ask us questions. We’ll tell you if Win Your Warm Up is a good choice or if something else makes more sense for your individual needs!

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