I thought that supporting you to help your child with their mindset was a great way to start out 2021, especially when we are still in the grip of a pandemic that means they may not be able to spend a lot of time on the ice, playing.
In Part 1 I shared with you the first four key elements of what makes a great hockey mindset. As a parent it's about taking the time to notice if any of these things aren't part of what you see daily in your child, as soon as they shift into 'hockey mode.'
You know what I mean by that of course. They will have been at school busy doing school stuff and they come home and it's hockey practice time, or fun hockey play time outside and they automatically shift mindsets.
You'll see it and notice if you pay attention when there are things that aren't flowing freely and naturally. And by notice I mean in their demeanor both before and after their game or practice.
This article is going to cover two more elements of having a positive hockey mindset.
Listening to your child talk about their game or practice you will understand what I mean by ‘self-talk.’ You will hear them unhappy with themselves, how they played, what they did, or didn’t do.
This is the inner talk that has them believing they didn’t play well enough. And if you remember in my last article I talked about belief in ability. When you hear them criticizing and judging themselves that shows you that they are limiting their belief in their own abilities.
Having read the previous article you will understand that when this happens the other three things I spoke about will begin to diminish too – fun, willingness to give it a go and excitement.
That could start a downward spiral that has them putting a lot of added pressure on themselves unnecessarily.
It’s important to be listening out for when this self talk starts so you can support a shift in turning it around to positive talk. Talk that supports that inner belief in themselves and what they are doing e.g. giving it a go.
They don’t need to be perfect, no matter what others say or do. As long as they are having fun and letting their natural ability shine, life will have a way of giving them what they deserve.
Oh, and if that isn’t the way things are panning out, then there is a reason for it. So, don’t despair. We all have lessons to learn in this life.
Being okay no matter what anyone else says
As I mentioned in my first post about mindset, children have a strong belief in themselves and their own ability until they are told otherwise by someone else.
It might be a simple comment like ‘no, that’s not the right way to do it’, which is delivered innocently, yet for them it starts the self talk, non belief trip.
This goes just as much for other parents commenting, coaches commenting, even their friends commenting about how they play, what they do on the ice.
The best thing you can do is help them to see that it is all simply feedback. And, when you get feedback the one thing you can do is test it so see if it works for you, or not.
Some feedback you might get might have you say “You know what, maybe I could do that differently” or “Maybe they were right, I wasn’t as fast as I could be.” That’s using the feedback as a positive thing that helps them get back to that belief in themselves and their own ability to play the way they know how.
Using the feedback and seeing it in a negative way stops all of the things I already mentioned, fun, enthusiasm, excitement, and belief in your own ability and really ramps up the negative self-talk. Not what has them stay enjoying and having fun playing.
If these five things that I have highlighted are present then you are going to continue to have a happy child who has fun playing the sport they love, hockey. It will also lead them to a much happier and healthier life overall.
Karen Cherrett is a Sports Mindset Coach who specializes in coaching hockey players. Karen coaches, players to be more focused and play with ease, not stress. And their parents to support their child in the best possible way. Life playing hockey should be fun. Mindset matters. Mental health matters. Hockey should be fun, not emotionally overloading.