Here’s a quick question for you…
If you were able to choose between having a killer slapshot, amazing stickhandling, blazing speed or consistent confidence in your abilities, what would you choose?
I want you to really think about it. Got it?
Now if you’re a younger player, odds are you chose one of the first three options.
That’s fine in theory, but in the long run, you’re better off choosing consistent confidence.
Why, you ask?
A lack of confidence is literally like the plague for athletes—especially hockey players.
When I say lack of confidence, I mean the I-can’t-score-for-the-life-of-me lack of confidence.
This can literally RUIN your career if you don’t know how to deal with it and get your confidence back up to par.
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging out to dry 🙂
How to get your confidence back as a hockey player
As a hockey player that has played in many different leagues for many different coaches and faced a whole bunch of adversity over the years, I can tell you that—if I were asked the above question—I would choose consistent confidence without hesitation.
Feeling useless on the ice…
Feeling like you can’t catch a break…
Playing to fit in rather than trying to stand out.
These are all things I’ve been through, and I know how much of an impact it can have on your performance.
It took me a lot of ups & downs and a ton of reading (yes, reading!) to figure out how to actually regain my confidence.
Over time, I learned how to control it to the point where I was confident in all that I did out on the ice.
By the end of this post, you’ll learn the exact 3-step plan I used to go from major confidence slumps to playing my best hockey ever.
This simple plan will help you play better, make more of an impact on your team, and help you string together more consistent performances.
So whether you play for fun, want to make it to the big leagues or just need help getting your confidence back, keep on reading.
Each step below builds on the previous, allowing you to build your confidence up to heights you never thought possible.
Step 1: Come to terms with your confidence problem
No, you didn’t read that wrong.
Before you can take care of confidence issues, you first have to admit to yourself that you actually have a confidence issue.
So many players blame their bad performances on outside factors:
- “My coach doesn’t play me enough so how can I perform.”
- “My linemates suck. That’s why I can’t score.”
- “My defensemen never make good passes on the breakout.”
- “My stick sucks…I need a new one.”
The reality is that you should be pointing your finger at yourself rather than those around you.
You and you alone are responsible for your performance as a hockey player.
Not enough ice-time? Make more of an impact.
Your linemates suck? Take matters into your own hands.
Your sticks suck? Please. As long as it’s curved the right way, you have no excuse.
And even then…
Stop blaming other people/things for your lack of success out on the ice.
As humans, when things don’t go as planned, we tend to find excuses.
It’s the same in hockey when we start to lose confidence in our abilities—we never believe that we’re the ones at fault.
We always try and blame our lackluster performance on outside factors.
More often than not, it’s the lack of confidence kicking in.
Instead of blaming outside factors, take a hard look in the mirror and realize that you’ve got some work to do to get to where you want to be.
Then and only then—when you’re ready to get to work and win your confidence back—can you move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Prepare like a champ
Now that you’re ready to start winning your confidence back, it’s time to prepare like a champion.
Regaining confidence is much like pushing a large boulder up a steep hill—it takes a lot of effort to get it up to the top, and it can easily come crashing down at a moment’s notice.
The key to gaining and keeping confidence is to prepare like a champion.
One of Basketball’s greatest coaches—John Wooden—said it best:
You see, a lack of confidence usually stems from one of the following three things:
- not feeling ready
- being under-trained
- being under-developed
All of these things can be taken care of with quality preparation. That means really taking your practice and alone time seriously.
Don’t just go through the motions during practice. Make a conscious effort to get better. Focus on purposeful practice. When you prepare properly, confidence is a natural result!
Read these two articles to learn how to prepare like a champion:
- 3 Words Hockey Players Live By That Separates Them From Everyone Else
- 3-Step Process for Effective Hockey Player Development
Over time, you’ll learn that practice isn’t just about perfecting your skills & abilities—it’s also about pushing that confidence boulder up the hill.
The more you do something, the better you get at it, and the more you start to believe in yourself.
It’s when your confidence is at its lowest that you should double and triple-up on your efforts during practice, training, and your free-time away from the rink (nutrition, visualization, game-day preparation, etc.).
Now that you’re preparing like a champ and pushing your boulder up your hill, it’s time to track small daily wins.
Step 3: Track progress through small daily wins
Now that you’re slowly regaining your confidence (remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!), it’s important to keep up your momentum.
To do that, you’re going to want to keep track of small daily wins. I’m not talking about goals or assists during games and practices(although these may help).
I’m talking about how confident you feel overall as a hockey player. Think of little things you can do that are a step in the right direction on your quest for greater self-confidence.
And it’s not just about your performance on the ice…
Even the following are small daily wins that lead to confidence boosts:
- Getting out of bed for an early workout without hitting the snooze button
- Getting on the ice 20 minutes earlier or staying on a little later than everyone else to perfect one of your skills
- Watching a few of your favorite player’s shifts on TV and learning one new thing you can apply to your game
- Eating well and staying hydrated throughout the day to ensure maximum performance
- And more
All these little wins, although trivial on their own, can lead to significant leaps and bounds on your quest to regaining your confidence.
When you celebrate a small win by simply recognizing it consciously, it’s literally like someone giving you a pat on the back and saying “Good job!”.
You see, the definition of confidence is as follows:
“Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.“
With proper preparation and the new habit of creating small daily wins, your self-confidence and character will start to regain strength.
The next thing you know, you’re doing all these little things right for an extended period of time, and you start to feel comfortable and in control again—a must-have for maximum confidence.
Quick tip: I used to use a daily point system to help me fix my confidence issues. I’d give myself a score out of 10 each day, based on how confident I felt as a hockey player. I’d then work towards improving that number everyday through proper preparation and small daily wins. Over time, I’d get that number up to 9 and even 10, where my confidence was no longer an issue. Try it out! It’s a great way to improve low self-confidence when it hits.
Bonus Step: The snowball effect
Yep, there’s a bonus step.
Now that you’re well on your way to regaining your confidence, there’s one last step…and this one’s what I like to call the snowball effect.
You have to overcome adversity.
Preparation and small daily wins are great, but you have to overcome adversity to really cement your new-found confidence.
You have to overcome something challenging to keep that boulder from rolling right back down to where it was when you were having trouble as a hockey player.
You can overcome adversity in many ways. Overcoming adversity can be:
- outplaying an opponent
- making the right play in a tough situation
- scoring a goal you otherwise wouldn’t have scored
- being consistent over several games
- not letting a negative comment from a teammate/parent/coach affect your performance
- and more
You’re the only one who can judge what adversity is to you…
Keep overcoming adversity and your confidence will keep increasing—it really is a snowball effect!
Now you know the 3-step plan for regaining confidence.
It really is that simple.
First, you have to point the finger at yourself instead of making excuses—come to terms with your self-confidence problem. That’s the only way you’ll ever fix it. It’s okay to have low self-confidence—just tell yourself there’s nowhere to go but up!
Then, you have to prepare adequately. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Learn how to prepare with purposeful practice so that you’re always ready, well-trained and well-developed.
Lastly, you want to track progress through small daily wins. Even things like eating well, waking up early for your training session, or getting on the ice a few minutes before practice to work on your scoring are small wins that can make a significant impact on your confidence level.
Most importantly, remember that regaining your confidence is a marathon and not a sprint.
It may take time and effort, but once you learn how to make preparation and small wins work in your favour, there’s no telling where it can take you.
Throw in some adversity to really challenge yourself, and you can take your self-confidence to new heights and unlock potential you never knew you had.
See your confidence issues as a way to grow as an individual and as a hockey player, and you’ll come out a winner on the other side—i guarantee it.
Do you have self-confidence issues in hockey? Leave a comment below about how you deal with your confidence problems because I’d love to hear your thoughts.