Stakes and Steaks
This one is all about making things easier for ourselves. It's about putting the stakes in perspective while we eat dinner...kind of.
Oftentimes we can all get bogged down thinking about how big a deal this game is. We put so much importance on winning now that we sometimes lose sight of the long-term, the big picture.
For now, (depending on the stage in your career) there will be another practice, another game to come. Likely very soon actually. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. But there will be another one. You'll have another chance.
So avoid blowing each game or each shot out of proportion. You've been here before. You've done this before. You got this.
This game is nothing special or new that you can't handle. You've trained for this exactly.
As we inch closer and closer to the postseason or major tournaments at the end of the year, we often think about these games as "must-win", "every play matters", "everyone is relying on me!".
All of these mindsets and self-talks just adds pressure to your already busy brain during a game!
All of these thoughts transport you somewhere in the future. Away from the present moment. Away from the now. Away from appreciating each shot, one at a time.
Of course, the stakes are bigger in the playoffs! Of course you want to win your tournament! But rising to the occasion requires that you treat it just like all the other games you've been a rockstar in.
Change those pressure-adding thoughts to confidence-boosting ones: "We've (or I've) got this", "I'm prepared", "I trust my teammates and they trust me".
I enjoy a good steak. You might too. But I'll let you in on a secret...
I don't eat my steaks whole.
Yep. Shocking, I know.
I cut it up into little bits to eat and savor one bite at a time. Mmmmmmm......
Then I eat just the next bite. And enjoy that one. Then the next. Then the next. Slowly, one at a time.
Think of a steak as your game...do you try to eat (play) your game whole? All at once? Do you try to get the win right off the drop of the puck in the 1st?
Or do you cut the 45 or 51 or 60-minute game into little bits, enjoying each segment as they come?
A lot of hockey is out of our control. In the end, we can't score goals for our team while we simultaneously keep the puck out.
All you can do is your job. All you can do is play (eat) each chunk of steak one at a time.
Cut your game up into little bits, like you would your steak. Maybe you decide on playing the game for 5 minutes at a time. Focus on winning that 5 minutes. Then relax, reset, and refocus for just the next 5 minutes, and nothing more.
You don't want to cut off more than you can chew!!!
Cut your steak. Cut your games. Play one small segment at a time, savoring each moment.
Stay frosty, friends.