Since the season ended in April, I’ve been off the ice taking care of our newborn and enjoying family time. Last night, we kicked off our Total Female Hockey summer training so I’m back in full ‘hockey mode’.
A few weeks back, I shared 4 pieces of advice with you to help kick start your summer and I promised that I would send 4 more your way soon. If you missed those first 4 pieces of advice, click HERE.
Here are the next 4 tips to help you get to the next level – feel free to pass them along to any friends, coaches, or teammates who might benefit from the information!
#1: Take Control of Your Confidence
There is a serious ‘under-confidence’ problem in girls’ hockey. We downplay our accomplishments. We don’t accept compliments because we don’t want to be seen as conceited or full of ourselves. We think we’re worse than we really are and are quick to put ourselves down to make sure that we don’t stand out from the crowd. It is rare that you’ll find a girls’ hockey player who is over-confident in her abilities.
Not only do we damage our own self-confidence by putting ourselves down, but we rely on other people to build our confidence up for us. Confidence isn’t something that can be given to you. It won’t show up on your doorstep wrapped up in a nice little package. It is something that you must take control of for yourself.
You build confidence by ‘setting and getting’ goals for yourself. When you commit to achieve a goal, and achieve it, you feel good about yourself and that’s where confidence comes from. If you set a goal of working out consistently all summer long, you can be very confident in your ability to compete at a high level once training camp rolls around.
Confidence is king. Building it isn’t simple. But it is within your control and it’s something you must work on this summer to be your best for the start of the season.
#2: Be A Better Passer
Players are taught from a very early age that they need to make sure their passes go “tape to tape”. And I think that’s a great guidepost for young players who are just starting to develop their skills. However, I think it can also breed bad behavior in the pass receiver. The pass receiver starts to expect that the incoming pass should be “perfect” and if it is behind them, in their feet or out ahead of them, it isn’t their fault that they can’t control it. Wrong.
I believe it is the pass receiver’s job to be able to control any pass that is within 360 degrees of them. The 360 degrees refers to the space surrounds a player in an imaginary circle that would be drawn around them when they are standing on the ice holding their stick out in front of them in their top hand. I truly believe that it is the pass receiver’s responsibility to control ANY puck that is inside that 360 degree circle. That includes passes in their feet, wobbly passes, slapshot passes and those really annoying passes that dribble a few feet behind you as you head up the ice.
Being able to control those kind of passes, as well as the ones of the laser-like tape-to-tape variety, is an absolutely essential skill for players who aspire to play at the elite level. It’s a skill that coaches must constantly teach and reinforce on the ice during skill sessions, practices and games. And it’s a skill that players can work on in the summer with something as simple as making bad passes to yourself off a wall and working on receiving those passes as cleanly as you can on both your forehand and backhand sides.
#3: Drink More Water
I know you’ve heard this before and it’s not the most exciting topic ever. But if there is one thing that I can guarantee will move you closer to your peak performance this summer and all season long, it’s drinking more water.
When you’re dehydrated, your peak performance goes down at least 10%. I don’t know any player, coach or team that wants to give up 10% of their best performance right out of the gate simply because they didn’t drink enough. You’re dehydrated as soon as you feel thirsty so make sure you always have a full water bottle with you so that you don’t ever get too thirsty.
How do you know how much water you should drink? It’s different for everyone because it’s based on your weight and your level of activity.
The equation is pretty simple.
Take your weight in pounds.
Divide that number by 2.
Now divide that number by 8.
That tells you the number of glasses (250ml or 8oz) of water you need to drink per day in order to stay hydrated. But that doesn’t account for your training. Players need to drink at least another 500ml of water for each hour of activity.
So drink more. Stop making excuses of why you don’t and get it done.
#4: Learn More About The Female Game
I’m always amazed by how little we know about our own sport. Can you name most of the players on your national women’s team? Can you name more players on your favorite pro men’s team than you can on one of the women’s pro teams?
If you live in Ontario, when was the last time you went and watched a women’s university game? There are 13 varsity women’s teams in Ontario that play 30+ games each a season, and I would guess most players, parents and coaches who live within easy driving distance of these schools haven’t ever seen a game. Have you ever seen an NCAA team play or practice? So many young players dream of playing college hockey, but they’ve never actually seen those players competing on the ice. Once you see them play, your dream becomes that much more real. You can start to visualize yourself out there doing what they do. But we rarely go out to watch the best female players in the world play.
If you live close to a college or university that has a varsity women’s program, make the time to watch them and support them. When your national team plays a televised game, make sure you watch it. We have to be bigger fans of our own sport.
I hope you’re enjoying some time away from the craziness of the hockey season and that you’re taking the time to work on your off-ice training and on-ice skills this summer so that you can hit the ground running in September. Take this advice to heart and use it to take your game to the next level in time for training camp.
Work Hard. Dream BIG.