“I am a goal scorer, and this is my pre-game prep.”
Those are the words that a player said to me a few years ago when I stopped at his house to pick him up for a game later that evening. He was in his basement shooting puck after puck, already breaking a pretty good sweat. I was upstairs talking to his parents and I finally asked them what all the noise was down in the basement. They invited me to go take a look, and sure enough, there was our top goal scorer surrounded by a hundred pucks grinning ear to ear.
There are definitely successful ways to prepare for a game, and this was one of those moments that reminded me that to really be successful, it takes a ton of hard work and dedication long before the puck is dropped.
Do you have a plan for pre-game preparation?
Here are some tips to help get yourself ready for the big game:
Proper Warmup. This is obvious given the topic, but it’s amazing how many players go right from the car ride to the rink, and then through the motions of an off-ice warm up. To really get yourself prepared you need to take the warm up seriously. All warmups are not the same, and you need to decide to take it seriously. Don’t just stickhandle to stickhandle, envision dangling around the opposing defenseman. Envision yourself moving the puck from side to side and front to back to create a great scoring opportunity. A good warmup is essential to good game preparation and performance.
Confidence. “I am a goal scorer, and this is my pre-game prep.” Those are words spoken by a player who doesn’t just show up and hope that he/she capitalizes on a scoring opportunity, but has shot pucks and gained the confidence necessary to know that given the chance, they are prepared and have an excellent chance at beating the goalie. True confidence can only be gain through proper preparation.
Skills. If you watch professional players before their game they are kicking soccer balls, bouncing tennis balls and working on a wide variety of hand-eye skills along with working a variety of muscle movement. By incorporating the skills used during the game you have a great chance of being dialed into those strengths. Try using training aids to help you get the most out of your pregame skills warm up!
Focus. A coach used to talk about the six “P’s”: Proper, Prior, Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Remember that to reach your peak performance it takes the focus to prepare the right way, every time.
Good luck with your pre-game preparation and remember, always work hard and dream bigger than everyone else!