to a close – a sure sign that tryouts are just around the corner. You’re excited and a bit nervous about the
fresh start to the upcoming season – all perfectly natural. But how do you ensure a successful
tryout? The key is preparation - both
physical and mental.
preparation is the easy part. As an
athlete, you’ve been active throughout the summer anyway. You’ve probably done some dryland training,
completed your Quantum Speed™ signature Q3 or Q3i program, and have been to the
rink to get your ‘feel’ for the ice, your skating, and the puck back. But what about mental preparation? Why is it important and how do you work on
You may be
the type of player that starts off tryouts running on adrenalin and excitement or
you may start off more slowly and pick up steam as you become more comfortable. Either way, you’ll ultimately need to keep
the intensity up over the course of several weeks – you’re in it for the long
process, whether it’s at the novice or pro level, is a long drawn-out and
physically and emotionally draining process.
Good mental preparation is the key to being in the right mindset for a
successful tryout, from start to finish.
Good mental preparation is all about ridding yourself of unnecessary
distractions so that you free your mental state up to relax and focus on what
you need to do in tryouts – play your best.
So where do
Two to four weeks out:
You need to
make sure you take of the ‘business’ end of things before registration
deadlines so that you’re not panicking and trying to pull information together
at the last minute. This means making
sure you’ve completed and submitted all registration forms, medical forms,
fees, and anything else your club has asked for.
need to make sure all of your gear is in good shape and still fits. That stuff you’ve been ‘getting by’ with over
the summer should be checked. Doing this
a couple of weeks in advance gives you time to have gear repaired or replaced
and gives you an opportunity to get a few skates in to try it out and become
comfortable with it. It’s amazing the
amount of unnecessary stress you place on yourself if you go into tryouts with
those gloves with a hole in the palm that are starting to give you blisters.
One week out:
you’ve been eating and sleeping well most of the summer, but now is the time to
really make sure you put that nutrition plan and a quality sleep schedule into
action. This is especially important
because you know that the night before tryouts you’ll be excited and nervous
and you may not have your best night’s sleep.
The more reserves you have going into this situation, the better.
what you do best. Make a list of your
strengths. Maybe even develop a mantra
of words and thoughts that you can recite to yourself during warm-up or on the
ice during the tryout that reinforces those strengths.
The night before:
Pack up all
of your equipment. Sure, you can call
someone to bring your skates to the rink if you’ve forgotten them but you’d be
surprised at how much unnecessary stress this can create. You’ll be much better able to focus on
playing well if you can follow through on your pre-game routine instead of
standing in the hallway anxiously looking around to see if your stick has
The day of:
Eat and hydrate
well during the day. This will give you
the energy base you need for the tryout.
Put whatever pre-game routine has been effective for you in the past
into action. If that means a special
pre-game meal, have it. If it means
heading to the garage to shoot pucks and listen to tunes, do it. This can do two things. It can calm your nerves and it can help your
instincts kick in.
yourself plenty of time to get to the rink but don’t arrive too early. If you have a pre-game routine that worked
for you last season, go ahead and repeat it now.
During the tryout:
where you implement the philosophy of Quantum Speed's founder, Steffany Hanlen
– just focus on WIN or What’s Important Now! Focus on doing what you
do best, not on what might happen if you make a mistake or whether you’ll make
it to the next cut – the best way to make it to the next cut is to focus on
warm-up to work out the jitters and get into your groove. If you’ve developed a mantra, recite it to
yourself. Remember, being on the ice is
what you love to do, so just go out and do it.
Be confident. You’ve trained hard
and done everything you can to be ready.
Now rely on what you know. Don’t
over-think things. Just let your
instincts kick in. Now is not the time
to try something you’re not familiar with.
about what the coaches and evaluators are thinking. They’re focusing on a lot of things and a lot
of players. Trying to read their minds
or even the expressions on their faces will just distract you. Throughout the tryout, look at yourself and
how you’re performing objectively and adjust your play accordingly.
Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t worry about making a mistake. The more you focus on ‘not’ making a mistake,
the less you focus on doing what you instinctively do well. And if you do make a mistake, don’t dwell on
it and don’t blame anyone else for it.
Learn from whatever happened then forget about it and move on. If you don’t, you’ll lose your focus and
interfere with your instincts.
importantly, only worry about the things you can control. You waste energy and generate extra anxiety
if you let yourself worry about how other people play, what others are thinking
of you, or how you’re being judged.
Invest your energy in focusing on your strengths and what you do best.
mental preparation is all about putting your mental energy into the right
things at the right time. To do that,
you need to be organized, properly rested, and properly nourished. If all of these things are taken care of, you
will be mentally prepared – with no distractions and focused on your strengths
- and free to let your instincts kick in.
And remember, you can
always call the Quantum Speed Office at 1-780-489-4159 or email [email protected] if you’re
interested in booking individual, team or association Performance Excellence
sessions with Steffany Hanlen.
Posted August 2013