September 13, 2017

How To Build Confidence In Hockey

confidence in hockey and hockey mental toughness

How do I build self confidence in hockey players is a question I hear from hockey players, parents and coaches, all the time. When it comes to developing the mental game in hockey, confidence is one of the top three things hockey players come to see me for.

I’m sure we’ve all been completely amazed by the level of play that NHL hockey players display on the ice on any given day but especially so in the playoffs.  The effortless execution of setting up a goal or skating up ice, stick handling past defenders to put the perfect shot in the top right corner of the net or the unbelievable pass through the legs of the defenceman to the open winger who scores the game winning goal in overtime. They make it look so easy, but how do they do it?

The first thing that comes to mind is WOW their level of skill is amazing.  Although their physical skills level is definitely world class, what IS it that puts that player a step above?


Now first things first, there is no doubt that the physical skills of the player absolutely needs to be there but the ONE thing that truly makes a great player is having the confidence in their skills in order to put them to work. The mental game.

But what does it mean to have confidence in ice hockey? What is confidence really? Confidence boils down to a belief, a feeling, a trust in your physical skills, your abilities and in the decisions that you make, no matter what the situation.

How do I build confidence?

Working on a strong mental game is a powerful tool for developing confidence in hockey, no different than in any other sport. Confidence grows from having success in the past. It continues to grow with each and every success you have. So in order to truly develop confidence to an elite level, you need to build on your successes, no matter how big or how small. ­Train your brain to win. Ask yourself, are you currently sabotaging your self confidence?  Your success? Your career?

Now, what prevents self confidence from growing or worse yet, what causes it to disappear when you had lots of it before? One of the most common things that I hear from my mental toughness hockey player clients is that “I have lost my confidence.”

But where did it go? I am the same player, playing the same game, I didn’t lose my skills but why am I not playing like I know I can? However, many of the hockey players that come to me lacking self confidence have the same underlying problem going on.


Fear is the absolute destroyer of confidence…..PERIOD

In order to maintain and grow confidence, players need to eliminate the fear. In almost every athlete that I work with, the underlying reason for lack of confidence in hockey comes down to fear of failure, more importantly how am I going to FEEL if I fail.

NHL hockey players, minor hockey players, and players at all levels rely on success to play confidently. When things are going well, they are scoring goals like crazy or stopping everything between the pipes and their confidence level soars.  When things are not going well, fear sets in, a lack of confidence takes over and they can’t buy a goal or stop a shot.

I teach hockey players all the time how to proactively change out their current thought processes and beliefs with new ones that eliminate that fear. When a player does a little brain training to understand that there really is no such thing as failure, only situations where you win or you learn, that underlying fear vanishes. Nothing is holding them back, and their confidence soars again.

Have you ever been beat by less talent?

This is something that drives hockey coaches and players crazy. Consider this: Their level of confidence is allowing all of their talent to come out on the ice while your confidence level is holding your skills back. Result = you are beat by less talent.

True player development needs to incorporate mental skills development, mental performance training in conjunction with their physical skills training. Pay attention to your favorite elite hockey player and see that high level of confidence that they all have. Are you ready to build elite level NHL hockey confidence, eliminate the fear and play like you know you can?  No matter what level of hockey you play, contact me now so you can get your NHL level confidence soaring again.

Call 306-525-0007 for a free consultation.

More info also available at:

Ken V. Ansell

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