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Message Inside My Blocker

Message Inside My Blocker

“Fear is the mind killer. Only the next save matters.”

There are times in the middle of a game or practice when your mental training is not working. You work hard on trying to be in the moment, not dwell on prior goals or games, to believe in your ability and have that unshakeable confidence. We are all human and no one is perfect. There will be times when you doubt yourself, when you think you have no chance at stopping that penalty shot. When you are struggling inside your own head you need some type of interruption to change your thought pattern.

On top of breathing techniques and short mantras to repeat I have an additional tactic in my arsenal to help me refocus and get out of my head. I used the inside of my blocker to write down a message to help me. I look at it when I take my blocker out the hockey bag, when I put it on, right before the game starts, and then throughout the game. Having it on the inside of my blocker puts it in the perfect place for it to catch my eye when I grab the water bottle or am setting up for a face-off. It is a constant, physical reminder that helps get me out my head.

My Message
“Fear is the mind killer. Only the next save matters.”

This small, simple message packs a punch.

The message reminds me that FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) is the enemy. That it does not serve me. Fear causes you to second guess yourself, makes you sluggish, and sets you up to make mistakes you normally would not. Fear takes you out of the flow of the game and into your head, the last place you want to be when 80mph+ pucks are flying at you.

The message also helps to center my focus where it should be, in the moment. That only the next save matters. It does not matter what has happened up until this point. If you do not make that next save it will start a domino effect that will most likely end in your team losing.

Cory Schneider, goaltender for the NHL Vancouver Canucks has a message written inside his blocker as well.

Cory Schneider’s Message
“Don’t fear failure. Compete 100%. Enjoy the process. Play for others.”

This is an awesome message to have. Similar to my message about fear, Cory reminds himself to not fear failure. The only way you get better is learning the lessons from your failure. By telling himself to compete 100% it reminds him to give his best every time regardless if it is a practice, regular season game, or the Stanley Cup Finals. What good is playing hockey unless you enjoy it? The third part of Cory’s message is enjoy the process, which reminds him to enjoy every aspect of the game, even the parts that are difficult or boring. By enjoying the process he is focused on the journey of being an NHL goaltender. The last message establishes an ego-less mindset and reminds Cory to be a team player.

What you write on the inside of your blocker does not have to perfect, it just has to resonate with you. Write something down that has a deep meaning for you, something that snaps you out of whatever funk you are in. Once you start reading your message over and over again you will be amazed how much your mental outlook changes when you play.

If you currently have a message written inside of your blocker or any other part of your equipment I would love to see what it is. Also, if you do not have anything written yet and are now inspired to do so, please post what you intend to write.

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  1. December 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

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