7 ways to be mentally tougher

“You cannot become a great hockey player without being mentally tough”

What is Mental Toughness? 

Mental toughness is the psychological edge that allows you to cope better than any of your opponents and to be consistent in your determination, focus, confidence and remaining calm under pressure.

It is not being affected by anything else other than what’s going on in the game. It is doing what it takes to get the job done, whether that is pushing through a tough session or being able to block out the things that are not important.

Key characteristics of mentally tough athletes: 

  • Self belief: Being confident in your ability to achieve your goals and these are unique qualities that make you better than most of your opponents
  • Motivation: Having the desire, determination and internal motivation to be successful. The ability to bounce back from setbacks with even more determination.
  • Focus: To be able to switch on and off when required. The ability to remain focussed on the task at hand during competitions and not being affected by others or your own distractions such as negative talk.
  • Ability to handle pressure: Having composure to deal with pressure after unexpected events or distractions. Being able to cope with pressure and being in the moment to make the right decisions.

Look on the bright side

The first step to being mentally tougher is to be more positive. Being positive is a discipline and will help to build your confidence. It is important to learn how to train your mind to think differently and to be able to overcome frustration which in turn affects your confidence.

7 Ways To Be Mentally Tougher

1. Choose the right attitude

In sport and life, we are all faced with choices and it all starts with choosing the right attitude. Do you play with heart and determination? Do you have the courage to leave it all on the field? It is about knowing that you have prepared 100% and believing in your own ability.

2. Program your mind for success

Using statements that you want to be true such as “I can, I will, I am going to….” are effective ways of focussing on the things that you want to happen rather than what you are afraid of.

3. Get into the right state

Develop a routine that gets you into a desired emotional state before training and games.  Maybe it is once you step onto the pitch, you commit to giving everything you can during that session or game. I teach lots of techniques for this in my training programs

4. Let go of mistakes quickly

If plan A doesn’t work then go to plan B or C. Be persistent and don’t allow frustration to get in the way of your confidence. If all else fails, go back to basics.

5. Take control of your thinking

Be more aware of situations that cause you to get frustrated, rushed, intimidated and lose focus and turn those things into positives. For example if you are worried about your player being skilful then rather think, I am going to make sure that I am first to the ball and then make a simple pass.

6. Focus on the process

Focus on what you do well and realise that failure is a stepping stone to success. If you weren’t selected for a team, that is good because you can then use that as motivation to work harder. Don’t worry about the end result of winning or scoring, rather focus on the process.

7. Step up

Don’t shy away from opportunities in the fear of messing up. Stand up and make a difference in your team when it matters the most. Half the battle is having the courage to go for it and being willing to take the risk of making a mistake.

“Anything is possible with the right mindset” 

I want to help you further… this post is just the starting point to realising how you can become the hockey player that you really want to BUT it all starts in the mind.

If you can relate to any of this or would like some guidance then I would love to hear from you….

Apply for a free strategy session with me and we can have a chat about how to get you moving forward with your game.

strategy session

About The Author

Lauren Penny

Lauren is a former International Hockey Player, Performance Coach & Mentor specialising in helping hockey players to be more confident, improve their fitness and perform more consistently to get noticed and reach higher teams.