We have seen the powerful change of practicing mindfulness and we are bringing this to hockey. There are many mindfulness practices we teach that all focus on bringing awareness to this moment. Connecting hockey and mindfulness will not only enhance your game but it will also benefit you off the ice as well.
While practicing mindfulness may not be as fun as shooting pucks, it has a sneaky way of making shooting pucks more fun. Being mindful helps us get in the flow, enjoying each moment, and it also helps us let go of disappointments.
This change doesn't happen overnight, though.
Just like with hockey, it requires daily practice.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing our kind attention to this moment, without wishing that it was different, just noticing what is.
Practicing mindfulness has many physical, mental, and physiological benefits and even changes the brain! Studies have shown that grey matter in the brain expands improving our learning ability, memory, emotional regulation, and perspective-taking ability. With regular practice, we can develop the traits of teamwork, strength, and resilience. Being able to calm ourselves after an upset not only improves our mental state but also our immune system, as staying too long in a stress response shuts off our natural healing ability to grow and repair.
While hockey is supposed to be a fun sport, it is slowly being taken over by stress... just like the rest of our life. Even though many agree that at least 80% of the game is mental, there are very few players who are getting that mental training. It is more and more common to hear of players in the NHL who meditate and practice mindfulness, but the rest of us players are missing out on this... which is why we established om ICE
Practicing mindfulness actually makes players stronger because when all that focused attention is in the present moment it is like using a magnifying glass in the sun... all that energy in one place is powerful! They are able to let go of the pressure to 'not mess up' during their shift and really play with ease, getting in that flow state where athletes excel. Players are able to come back from upsets much more easily, understanding that their power comes from what they pay attention to. They also become better teammates because they feel the joy in seeing their teammates do well and understand that the better they support the team, the better the team will be.
Try a short breath awareness practice.