Another year has passed and 2020 has been one that many are ready to put behind them. As an athlete it is most likely a year like you have never seen before with modified schedules, socially distanced workouts, and zoom meetings with your coaches. While I will not disagree that 2020 has been a year of challenges, I would like to rather focus on the positive aspects of the year and where we go from here.
It is easy to view this past year from a negative perspective, however what if we were to shift our lens to focus on the positives that the year brought and setting ourselves up for success in 2021. Without question, I am certain that athletes around the world have become more resilient which is an excellent trait to have for any athlete. Most of you have been forced to adjust schedules, communicate in new ways, and learn to be mentally tough through a difficult time. Take a good look in the mirror and at 2020 and ask yourself, what did I learn from such a challenging year, what can I take forward in my athletic and personal life from these strange circumstances, and how can I be the best I can be in 2021!
Let’s look at setting our goals for 2021! Our team at Power Plus strongly supports goal setting and having a plan for the upcoming year. In saying that, it is critical that your goals have two major components, the goals need to be realistic and they need to be focused. For example, many young athletes when asked what their goal for the upcoming year will say something such as this “I want to be the best hockey player I can be”. While that sounds fantastic and is a very positive goal, there is a lack of focused attention in that statement and it is tough to know if it is realistic because there is no way to measure an ambiguous statement such as that. Let me provide an example of a realistic and focused goal for 2021:
“I want to improve my strength by 15% in 2021, I strongly believe I can do this by measuring my current fitness metrics, increasing the amount of my schedule focused on strength training by 20%, and utilizing the resources in my community to help me achieve my goal”
That goal sets a timeline, specific metrics to how the goal will be achieved, and an excellent plan to achieving the given goal. A goal is a part of you, it’s something you commit to, so make sure you put the time in and make it something you really want to achieve and believe you can achieve. Positive thinking and a solid action plan are a fantastic start to achieving your goals in athletics, scholastics, and your personal life. Power Plus wishes all of you a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you all in 2021!
Playing great hockey is the result of doing a lot of small things right. That's why it's not just important to get out and play, it's also important to think and learn about what you are doing. During this next month break in the season take advantage of the Power Plus library of articles and tips; look at a couple of the articles for fresh insights. By constantly reconnecting with what's important, you will improve your game. I challenge you to also use Youtube and other outlets to look for advice on the game. The more you can research and watch the better understanding you will have and the better you will be when we get to be back on the ice.
We are in control of our success through the small things we do in the moments throughout the day. Many athletes say they want to be successful but the question I ask you is what does success look like for you? Discovering exactly what success looks like to you specifically is critical to achieving success. Creating your personal vision of success is important. It requires us to be honest with ourselves and tackle each day with that vision in mind. During this break I challenge you all to create a mind set for success. 3 things you can practice are:
1. Gratitude- Focus on what you are grateful for in your life at this point in time.
2. Visualize- Create a solid image of success in your mind.
3. Priorities-2-3 Important things you need to accomplish in order to achieve that success.
Just remember success is a lot of small things done well!
While we have this little pause in our season, now would be a good time to stay focused and try some skating techniques in front of a mirror. A good place to start would be stride work. Grab a chair, place both arms out on the chair, sit in your 90 degree knee bend and push to full extension with one leg. Hold for 2-3 seconds then come back to flats and try the other leg. Pushing to full extension and finishing with a toe flick are what we are trying to attain. Also, having lots of tension in your leg is going to allow for a more powerful stride. When you recover your stride leg back to a flat make sure you are coming back at a 45 degree angle and not standing up off your knee bend. It is very useful to try this in front of a mirror and perfect it while we have the time and are off the ice. Perfect practice makes precision.
Sometimes our bodies can develop muscle asymmetries that cause our mental map to be “off.” For example, we can think our body is square, when in fact one shoulder may be dropped, or our hips may be pulled to one side with one leg supporting more weight.
Checking your position in a mirror when you do off-ice gives you a chance to spot these asymmetries and correct them. Take a look from several different angles. Memorize the feeling of the correct positions so you can call recall them when you’re on the ice.
I hope you are all doing well and happy to be back on the ice, in some form or another. I have had a chance to skate now with many athletes (socially distanced of course) and let me tell you I am so grateful to see all the smiling faces!
I wanted to take the time to talk about one of the main fundamentals of skating: stance. Proper hockey position is the building block for every other hockey skill. It can give you twice the power on every stride; better passing accuracy and even a harder shot. When we teach a proper hockey stance we want to see:
*Knees bent at 90 degrees.
*On Flatts, feet roughly shoulder width apart, chin in a straight line with your knee and toe.
*Hips are low; butt is out and shoulders back.
You want to have a solid stance so you can get a full extension stride. On every stride we want to see you push at a 45 degree angle to a straight leg and finish with a toe flick. You are only able to get full extensions strides and proper toe flick if you are nice and low and have a solid hockey stance.
I know I am constantly saying ‘bend your knees’ and ‘get lower’ but it really is the most important part of skating. Staying low with help you have better balance and lower your center of gravity therefore making you a stronger more efficient skater.
Organization is the ultimate tool in times of uncertainty and uncharted waters. Ensuring you have a solid routine in place can provide balance and allow you to be mentally prepared during challenging times. Set a daily routine that is attainable and manageable with your schedule. If you have a pathway set up for your day it will provide direction and can relieve the stresses of your busy schedules. As the saying goes “failure to plan is planning to fail”.
Good luck to all athletes in tryouts these coming weeks, just remember to work hard and no matter the result be proud of your efforts and hard work.
“Uncertainty” is a common word we hear about the world we live in these days. As both an athlete and a person some other words may come to mind such as “fear, sadness, and challenge”. It is completely normal to have these feelings during these times our world faces, however a positive and healthy mindset can be a great defence to these unsettling thoughts and feelings. Here are a few aspects to utilize on a daily basis to stay prepared and well during these uncertain times:
Our entire team at Power Plus hopes you and your families are staying safe and well. If you are interested in any of our remaining Summer Camps visit www.powerplushockeyskating.com to register TODAY as there are limited spots available for our August Camps. Stay safe, stay well, and we hope to see you all soon!
As the great John Wooden famously quoted “Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” Now that the world is re-opening its doors and we are starting to come out of a time of challenge and adversity it is an excellent time to start fresh. As an athlete we may have missed games, workouts, playoffs and some of the most exciting times of the year, but think of the positive that came out of that…….a recharge for your love of the game.
In the current generation there has never been another time period where our favourite sports and activities were forced to such an elongated absence and an abrupt halt. Now is an excellent time to reflect on why you love the game of hockey and what makes you excited to return. As your time on the ice approaches take a moment each day to write down or journal an aspect you love about the game of hockey (i.e. getting to see your friends again, exercising, working on your skills).
Returning to the game of hockey is extremely exciting and we couldn’t be happier for our athletes, however getting your body and mind back into hockey shape is of the utmost importance. When returning to the game take it at a gradual pace, your body needs time to adjust and activities such as stretching, warm up, rest, and nutrition are critical. Don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than normal to “knock off the rust”, setbacks are to be expected, enjoy the process of getting back to the arena and having an opportunity to enjoy the game of hockey again.
Our entire team at Power Plus Hockey Skating wishes everyone the best in their return to hockey and hope to see you at our camps this summer. For information on camps for Summer 2020 visit www.powerplushockeyskating.com. Stay safe and take care!
Uncertainty is uncomfortable for everyone. As athletes we are concerned about our future, not sure when we are able to be back on the ice. It is easy for us to become easily distracted and unproductive. The question is how can we keep athletes focused while also helping cope with feelings of change and uncertainty?
1. Acknowledge the uncertainty- our intention as parents and coaches is to keep athletes focused but we need to acknowledge the feelings of concern they may be feeling. Acknowledge that things seem unpredictable at the moment. Don’t get caught in a negative spiral. Move on to talk about how one may overcome these feelings of concern.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others- you may be looking around wondering how other athletes are keeping it together while you’re unable to be productive. Encouragement from parents and coaches is key. Remember things aren’t always, as they seem. If you are having a hard time getting motivated chances are others are as well. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Once step at a time and stay positive.
3. Focus on what you can control- during uncertain times one thing for certain is you are in control of you. Setting goals and taking the steps towards achieving those goals will help you feel more determined and motivated. Have goals that are attainable and try to do something everyday that is going to get you one step closer towards your goals.
Challenge yourself during these uncertain times. Try a new sport. Work harder off the ice. When you challenge yourself and find your focus you just may be surprised what you can achieve.
We can’t wait to be back on the ice with you all when its safe to start training. In the meantime give yourself some grace and don’t forget to work hard, we will all be on the ice before we know it!!
I hope that during these unprecedented times you are taking the moments to enjoy your family and the extra time you get to spend with them. Although this time can be seen as extremely challenging I want our athletes to look at the positives and do everything they can to make the best out of a unique situation.
An aspect that is critically important that you can take control of is your positive energy, your overall mindset, and in turn your mental health. Take this opportunity with the extra time you have to write down three positive aspects in your life everyday. This exercise will not only show you the areas of your life to be grateful for, it will also exercise your mind to inject positive thinking in an otherwise negative time period. An additional activity you can take part in is controlling the information that you take in everyday. With the current situation there is an excess of negativity driven information and it is important to ensure that you are feeding your brain a healthy dose of positive ideas. How you can practically put this into action is to complete activities such as reading a new book, challenging yourself with a new skill, listening to a podcast and ensuring to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. If you focus your energy into these positive areas there is a great opportunity for you to learn and come out of this situation even stronger than before.
While we all would like to be exercising with our friends, or watching playoff hockey it is important we focus on the aspects of life we can control. As athletes, mental preparation and having a positive mindset are so important both on and off the ice. Challenge yourself to complete these exercises and it will in turn benefit yourself and the people in your life. Stay positive, stay healthy and stay safe everyone.
The sacrifices you have made during this crisis of COVID-19 do not go unnoticed by your coaches, teammates and parents. It truly is a disappointment for all involved to end your seasons prematurely, and not have the opportunity to compete in playoffs or provincials.
Acknowledge that these sacrifices are significant, the situation is out of your control, you trained extremely hard, and you were prepared for big games.
We all need to take a moment to draw on crucial lessons we have learned through sports: to have a positive growth mindset and become leaders on and off the ice.
During the course of the season athletes are asked to come together, work as a team, support one another, and be positive leaders. We are now being asked through these extraordinary times to come together and support one another as a community, a province, and a country.
As coaches and parents I believe its crucial to acknowledge that athletes will be disappointed, as they should be, they have worked extremely hard to get to the critical “finish line” of their season. It is our job to help these athletes understand that it’s not fair, along with assisting them to shift their focus on what they can control.
In sports we are taught to overcome whatever obstacles are thrown our way, and I believe this is a good teaching opportunity to emphasize that we want to be athletes for life, along with responsible individuals who care for their community.
While we are in this crisis lets focus on what we can control as athletes, such as:
I am a strong believer that sports are a way to develop better athletes, but more importantly better people through character development. During this uncertain time, you are not alone, we are thinking of you. Know that when you are not hanging out with your friends and teammates right now, you should be proud of yourself. You are helping fight the battle as a bigger part of a team.
Take Care and reach out if you need support in any way,