With the NBA season on hold, professional sports fans have turned their attention to the National Hockey League. With more hype surrounding the early stages of the NHL season this fall, each team is hoping to get off to a hot start.
Despite having a long 82-game NHL season, every team wants to get off to a good start and set the tone for the rest of the season. Although it is great to begin a season on the right foot (like the Washington Capitals have done), early flashes of brilliance or failure should not dictate how the rest of the season will transpire.
Approaching the start of a new season must be done with the appropriate mindset. It is important to use individual and team experience from the past and build on the physical, mental, and skills training from the offseason in order to improve performance.
The start of a new NHL season should be approached just like the start of a golf tournament or marathon, for example. These sporting events cannot be won with one swing of the club or one big stride, so thinking about the outcome early on will only negatively impact the individual and/or team’s performance. Thinking about winning the division in hockey during the first few games of the season will only be a distraction from what one is trying to execute and what can be controlled.
As each game goes by, a team (or individual) must continue to build on it’s past performances and learn from them, whether they were good performances or bad. Improving from poor executions and recalling perfect ones will help build team confidence (it is important to build on both).
So, in the end, it should not matter how a team is looking in the standings after a few weeks, but rather how the team is reflecting, learning, and improving from each competition. This holds true for every sport.
Sports Psychology/Mental Training from Mental Apex