The Truth About Confidence


Confidence is another one of those terms we hear about all the time in hockey.

And rightfully so. 

It's absolutely vital for players and teams to have it in order to be successful. I mean it makes sense, if you're playing well you're playing with confidence, and on the flip side, if you're struggling you're probably lacking confidence. 

While none of that is earth shattering to any of you, there is one thing that really amazes me about people and their confidence and the way they think about it. 

Confidence, at its core, is solely individual based. 

In other words, no one can give you confidence.

As a coach, I can sit and talk with a player everyday and tell them how great I think they are, but unless they actually believe it, they won't be confident.

That doesn't mean that exterior factors (like a supportive coach) don't play into the overall building of confidence, because they do. But at the end of the day, it comes down to you as the individual to believe in yourself and your abilities. 

To back track for a minute, the exterior factors that I'm referring to are having a positive and healthy support system surrounding you. That can include teammates, coaches, family, and friends. You need people in your life who have your back and are there to support you through the good and the bad. These things help build confidence. But, just to clarify again...these things are there to help build confidence, but aren't the ultimate reason you're confident.

You are confident because you know it and believe it deep down in your heart and mind.

So what's one thing you can do today to help build your confidence?

Focus on the small successes.

To often, we only focus on huge massive victories as the only real measures of success. Now, while these are absolutely beneficial to becoming more confident, they aren't sustainable enough to help us build our confidence everyday. 

Another way to think about it is that we can't win a state championship everyday...it's just not possible. 

However, we can (and we should) be working on our confidence everyday. 

It's amazing how much of a difference focusing on small things can help build your confidence up everyday. 

Things like blocking a shot, making a tape to tape pass, winning a 1 on 1 battle, taking a hit to make a play, having an active stick and breaking up a scoring opportunity... the list can go on and on but I hope this gives you a glimpse of what I'm talking about. 

Personally, I started to figure out this concept as I was getting out of high school. I used to be like most players where I solely based my 'did I play good or bad' on if I scored a goal or not. Man was that counterproductive...

I think the real turning point for me was when I got to Culver. We won a close game 3-2 where I scored a couple goals, including the game winner with only a few minutes left in the third period. 

I ended up having a conversation with our coach about the game the next day. He told me he thought I played really well. My initial gut reaction was that I agreed with him but I figured he said that just because I scored a couple goals.

But the more we talked, he never talked about either goal once. 

Instead, he talked about what he thought was a big turning point was when we were short handed late in the second period and I had a big shot block. To be honest, I had forgotten about the play until he brought it up. 

His second point that he brought up was another play that to most casual observers was lost in the mix. He talked about how on the backcheck on a play in the third period I read the play well and picked up their late third guy joining the rush and prevented him from being a scoring threat. 

Kind of crazy to think about, but those were the two things that stood out to him that I had played a good game. 

Needless to say, that conversation made an impact on the way I thought about the game, doing my job, and success in general. (I mean that conversation was 14 years ago and I still remember it...)

My perspective began to change on what was really important and what it really meant to contribute. In turn, my confidence continued to grow.

The more I started to focus on the small successes the more confident I became. Not only did it help me find more success on a consistent basis, it helped eliminate the roller coaster of emotion that sometimes plagues players who only focus on numbers. 

I really started to realize that being a good player, and more importantly a confident player, meant doing a lot more things than scoring goals. 

Once my thought process changed, it became easier to find positive things to focus on which in turn helped my confidence grow everyday. 

Hockey and life is all about making progress. If you can get 1% more confident everyday, I guarantee you'll start to notice a huge difference in your game.

So I am putting the challenge out there to all of you to start finding small little victories in everything you do...everyday. Do this in hockey and in life and your confidence will continue to grow. 

Do any of you currently do anything like this to help build your confidence?

Let me know in the comments below.

6 Keys To Building A Pregame Routine That Works


How do you prepare for games?

Do you have a routine?

Or do you just show up to the rink, throw your stuff on, and go out there and play?

It's always amazing to me when players can't figure out why they are inconsistent from game to game. 

When players aren't doing everything in their power to make sure they're prepared to play, they're often inconsistent. 

Preparation is a big key to success.

The first thing that needs to be understood is that everyone’s pregame routine, or preparation, will be different. What may work for you, may not work for your linemates and vis versa. The key is to discover a routine that works for you. You want to feel confident, poised, and ready to play your best from the time you hit the ice in warm ups to the time the final buzzer sounds.

6 Keys to Building a Pregame Routine that Works

  • Understand your why and what you want to achieve

Like any aspect of hockey, or life, if you don’t have an understanding of what you are trying to do, and why you want to do it, then you’re never going to achieve ultimate success. You need to have a clear path and vision to what you want, but also understand why you want those things. Any time you know what you are trying to achieve, it makes it easier to build a process around achieving that success.

  • Plenty of rest, proper nutrition, be on time (never rushed)

I group these three ideas together because I feel like for the most part they are self explanatory. If you want to be at your peak level of performance you need to be well rested. A physically exhausted athlete is not going to be performing at their best. The same idea holds true with nutrition. The food you eat is the fuel you need to perform. It sounds simple and seems like such a common sense principle, yet it is one of the most overlooked aspects in young hockey players. Eat foods that are light and that you know are going to make you feel good. Stay away from any foods that may leave you feeling sluggish or unsettled (examples include greasy or spicy foods). Finally, be on time! It’s amazing how something like being late to the rink can throw off your pregame routine and your focus. Before taking the ice, you want to be feeling calm and prepared. By simply being on time, you create a sense of comfort and readiness.

  • Visualization

You can’t expect to achieve success unless you can see it in your mind. This is something that I have learned through years of playing and coaching. Find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and focus on your thoughts. Visualize yourself playing the game. See yourself making tape to tape passes, winning 1 on 1 battles along the boards, blocking a shot, scoring a big goal, winning the game and celebrating with your teammates… all those little things that will make you and your team successful. See them in your mind and start training your mind to expect those plays. When you can see those plays in your mind, your confidence will begin to grow.

  • Create Mental Reminders

Mental reminders are your three key points that you want to focus on in order to keep your mind in tune with your surroundings, engaged in the game, and playing at your best. These ideas should be short, simple, and concise. Between periods or shifts, good or bad, you can remind yourself of these things in order to make sure that your mind stays focused. Know in your mind that if you can do those mental reminders each shift, you’re going to be playing well and helping your team be successful. Examples of mental reminders include: keep my feet moving, good stick on stick, finish my checks, strong in the grey zones, good first pass, call for the puck… the list can go on and on and can change from game to game depending on your role. These simple ideas are a great way to keep your mind focused and into the game.

  • Breathe

It seems so simple, yet is so powerful. Learn to breathe and calm your nerves or amp yourself up. Breathing is unique because we unconsciously do it in order to live, yet have the ability to control it if we want to. Feeling nervous before a game? Take a few deep breaths, slowing inhaling until your lungs are full, holding for a few seconds, and then slowing exhaling. This will calm your heart rate and in turn help calm your nerves. On the flip side, if you don’t feel into the game, you can use your breathing to help get your adrenaline pumping. Quickly breathing in and out will help your heart rate rise and get adrenaline pumping into your body. This can help your mind focus and get excited about playing the greatest game on earth.

  • Feel calm and confident

The most important aspect of a pregame routine is to leave you feeling confident. The whole point of creating a routine is let you have a series of predetermined activities that you know you will be successful at to help build that comfort level and confidence. Remember, success leads to confidence and confident hockey players are great hockey players. Every player is different and different things work for different players. Try a few things (taping your stick, warming up a certain way, etc…) to find what works best for you. Stick with your routine and give it a chance to work for you. Things can always be added or changed, but it ultimately boils down to whatever makes you feel comfortable, confident, and ready.

There’s no magic formula to what makes the perfect pregame routine. The only consistent idea is that having some sort of routine is important to success and being at your best. Some routines are simple, while some are a bit more complex. The key is to find what works for you and be consistent with it.

When times get tough, or you're looking for something new to give you an extra edge, examine your preparation. 

The way you prepare is another one of those things that is completely in your control as a player. It will not only help you play more consistent, but will also leave you with a feeling of confidence. 

Don't overlook the power, and importance, of giving yourself the best opportunity to be successful.

Let us know if the comments section what works for you.

Regrets Suck, Don't Have Them


For a lot of you, the season is winding down or has just finished.

Do you have any regrets about the season?

I know that's a blunt question just thrown out there but I don't think there's much benefit in tiptoeing around the subject.

The end of a season is an awesome time to do some self reflection and really look back and see what went well, and what didn't go so well. You should be looking at it from an individual standpoint and a team standpoint. Both will probably have different answers and both scenarios will provide opportunities to learn and grow for the future.

I want you to take a quick break from this post and just think about the answers to those questions...

I wanted you to think about that first before I went any further because I want to talk a bit about the difference between having regret and disappointment.

While they may seem, and even feel, the same at times, they are incredibly different.

Disappointment is losing a game, having a bad game or practice, or missing a backdoor pass that most of the time would be an easy goal...

Regret, on the other hand, is a missed opportunity because of your own doing. In nearly all situations, regret boils down to things that you can completely control, whereas, disappointment is a lot of times caused by things that are not fully in your control.

You can play your heart out and still lose a game... that's disappointing. But after that disappointment resides you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you did everything in your power to help get a different result, but it just wasn't meant to be on that day. On the flip side, regret is when you lose a game and you know that you stayed out to late the night before, or didn't get enough rest, or didn't eat a quality pregame meal, or weren't focused in warm ups, or weren't a good teammate in the locker room and on the bench... that is regret.

Your team ultimately gets the same end result, a loss, but how you feel about it probably feels drastically different if you think about the game the next day.

There's honestly nothing worse than having regrets.

That feeling of KNOWING that you could have, and should have, done more.

I honestly think it's a hard lesson that every player has to go through. Really, it's a lesson that everyone has to go through with life in general.

I think having the ability to take a step back and have some perspective on how things are going will really help players become more consistent. And, as I've said before, the best trait any hockey player can have is consistency.

If you can learn that it's OK to be disappointed, and try to limit any regrets that you may have, I guarantee you'll find that you're growing more as a person and teammate.

It's also been my observation that players that play on teams that struggle a lot tend to have a lot of regrets if they are truly being honest with themselves. This happens because it's easy to turn on your teammates and coaches when times get tough. It's also easy to skimp on your preparation and start to let phrases like "does it even really matter" creep into your repertoire.

This is where it becomes even more important to remember WHY you are playing the game and to also remember what you're trying to get out of the situation. If there is anything that I've learned in my life it's that everyone is going to face obstacles at one point or another in life. How we respond and grow from those obstacles is what is going to help define us as people and hockey players. The ones that can learn to rise above and find a positive in the hardship are the ones that will truly be successful.

The beauty of all this is that the choice is yours. Sure, you can't always predict the outcome, but you can control your attitude and your work ethic. And that should excite you.

For me personally, this has been a big area of focus in my own life the past few years. Regardless of outcomes, I don't want to have regrets.

And I love the fact that if I remember that I have control over the things that matter most (my work ethic, attitude...) that I ultimately will control my destiny.

I hope you all think about things a little different and don't stress the disappointments, just learn to avoid the regrets.

Remember, everyday is an opportunity to keep getting a little better so keep grinding.

Why Do You Play Hockey?


This week’s blog is all about building a foundation for your success. Now, before we get into a bunch of specific details about things like building confidence into your game, setting goals, or becoming more consistent...we all need to take a step back first. We need to actually know why we are doing those things. It’s the starting point. It’s the biggest, and often most important, part of building your foundation.

I’ve written on this blog about this subject before, but I wanted to rewrite an updated and more in depth version for everyone as the season gets underway.

It’s so common anymore that we get wrapped up in life and in hockey with so many things that either a) don’t really matter or b) we really can’t control.

It turn, this usually leads to a lack of focus or a lack of direction. And the truth is, if we lose our focus and our direction then we almost always lose our drive and motivation. Plain and simple, we become discouraged and we lose sight of what’s really important.

That’s why discovering your WHY is so important.

If you know what your WHY is then you know what your purpose is. And if you know what your purpose is then it’s a hell of a lot easier to stay on the path to success and to stay driven.

Think about it? Why do you play hockey?

It’s such a simple question but I bet nearly everyone reading this right now has been guilty of losing sight of this. I know I have. It’s so easy to get frustrated and forget about the simplicity of the game, or forget about the simple love that you have for the game.

Nearly every year that passes, it probably gets a little bit harder to keep this idea in perspective and remember why you’re actually playing. When you’re little it’s easy, right? The game is just fun. You don’t really care about winning and losing. In reality, when you’re little it’s just awesome to be putting on a bunch of pads and some super cool looking skates and going out on the ice and ripping around and chasing after the puck. And hey, if that puck happens to come next to me I’m going to wack it as hard as I can.

Think about it, for the most part, we all started the same way. The game was so pure and fun. Our WHY was easy back then. It was fun to be on the ice and we didn’t have to worry about anything else. We didn’t have to worry about our record, or how many shifts we were getting, or how many points we were putting up, or what team we were going to make…. None of that stuff mattered. All that mattered was that we got to be on the ice and have the most fun possible for an hour.

Puts things in perspective a bit when you think back to days like that, doesn’t it?

I was guilty of it as a player.

My junior year of college I was healthy scratched out of the blue against the best team in the country. I was internally devastated when I saw that lineup get posted...do you think that I was thinking about my WHY when that happened? No way… I was thinking of every excuse in the book. Trying to justify the “dumb” decision that was made and started wallowing down the path of self pity and questioning why I was even wasting my time playing hockey.

Isn’t it amazing how one difficult obstacle can make you question everything in an instant? I had been playing hockey for over 20 years, it was my love and my passion, and because of one bad day I lost sight of all that. It’s sad, honestly.

It’s moments like that, that have helped guide me to where I am today and why I do what I do now with coaching and through Boost Hockey.

For me, it took me until my senior year to actually start realizing some of this stuff. My senior year, I decided that I was going to love every second of being a part of that team. It had been my goal since kindergarten to play college hockey and I needed to not waste another day. And thankfully, that’s what helped start me down this path of focusing on these ideas.

Realizing the importance of strengthening my mind, and realizing how far a strong mind could really take you.

And I’ve also realized that understanding your WHY is truly the foundation for it all of it.

It’s like this blog, my WHY for creating it is to impact the hockey world in a positive way and to bring a group of like minded people together to support and learn from one another so that way we can build not only better more mentally strong hockey players, but also better more successful people.

It literally is something that I look at and remind myself about every single day. It’s like that simple grounding factor. It keeps things in perspective and reminds me WHY I’m doing the things that I’m doing.

I coach hockey and run Boost Hockey because it allows me to coach people and make an impact. It, like I talked about earlier, gives me my purpose, which in turn keeps me motivated and driving forward.

So I’m going to ask you about it again. What is your WHY?

Why do you play hockey?

Now the beauty of this, is that there is no wrong or right answer to this question. And the answer can always change and keep evolving...whether that’s each year, or each season, or even every couple months. The important thing is to take some time and do some self reflection and really be able to give yourself an honest answer.

Conversely, while it’s totally relevant and important to hockey, it also has a huge carry over to real life. The simple lessons that we’ve been talking about in this lesson can all be used in everyday life. Think about it… why do you get up in the morning? If you’re in school...why do you go to school? If you’re a parent or a coach… why do you get up and go to work everyday? Why do you make the decisions that you make? Why are sacrificing so much for your players or kids?

I can tell you from personal experience that this has been one of the most powerful concepts I have ever learned in my entire life.

It’s amazing how clear life can become when you know why you’re doing something. Think of how many things in life you do, or get stuck in the routine of doing, without thinking about or knowing why you’re doing them.

It’s like me… why do I work so hard at the things I do? Why do I work so hard at Boost Hockey?

So I can help someone else who needs it. So I can make an impact on the hockey world and the world in general. That I can feel like I’m doing my part to make the world a better place. So that I can provide for my family. So that my kids can grow up proud of the work their dad does… That is my why…

It’s a little different when you think about it that way, isn’t it? Gives you a little extra push to get moving and make something of the day.

The power of understanding your WHY is amazing. I want you to capture it and use it every single day.


This is a simple exercise and something that you all should be doing on a regular basis but, like with most things, there are a few places where you can get stuck.

  1. You don’t give yourself a real honest answer. Isn’t it crazy how sometimes if we ask ourselves a question and we don’t have to share the answer with anyone, we still don’t always give the dead honest truth? It’s almost like we are embarrassed of the answer, or it’s like we’re trying to give the answer we think we should be giving instead of what we’re really feeling. Plain and simple, don’t do that. Just realize that there is no right or wrong answer and just be completely honest with yourself. If you play hockey because it makes you confident… perfect. If you play because hockey is the one place where you feel like you can be yourself… perfect. Literally, the answer can be anything as long as you’re being honest with yourself.

  2. You don’t reevaluate your WHY. We all evolve as people and our needs and priorities change over time. That’s ok and actually a good thing. But your WHY as a 10 year old and as a 17 year old might be completely different.

  3. Fill out the worksheet and review your WHY. It’s like most things in life, you’re only going to get out of it what you put into it. So if you spend 20 minutes today thinking about it and filling out what your WHY is and then lose the worksheet or put it in a place that you never see it or think about it, is it really going to help you when you need it? No, of course not. Commit to being better and sticking to the process.

  4. You only try and  think about your WHY when things are going bad. If you remember my story about getting healthy scratched my junior year of college, this is an exact reason it’s a bad idea. Of course, if times are getting tough then you’ll want to review your WHY and help you put perspective on the situation and limit the amount of frustration you’re feeling. But, speaking from experience, don’t just rely on it when things are bad. Get in the habit of consciously thinking about these things everyday and if your experience is like mine, your mindset will begin to shift and the number of frustrating or daunting experiences will start to diminish.

How To Be Productive When You Don't Feel Like It


How many of you have ever used the excuse, "I'm tired today?"

I'm sure we all have at one time or another. And hockey is no different. 

There are days when you aren't as excited to be at the rink, or you don't want to be there at all for that matter, but, you know you still have to be there. 

You made the commitment and you know that simply not showing up is not an option. 

We've all been there. Even the people who love the game the most have days where they feel like they want a break. 

So if we catch ourselves in one of those moods, how do we deal with it? How do we still contribute something to the team and make it a productive day?

Over the years, being involved in the game as a player and a coach, I really think it comes down to one thing. 


I think that the attitude you bring into the rink is over half the battle. 

Maybe you are a little tired, or maybe you had a long day at school or work, or maybe you just don't want to get on the ice that day... Whatever your reason is, your attitude holds the key. 

If you go into a situation in hockey, or life, with a bad attitude, I bet at least 9 times out of 10 you're going to have a disappointing experience. (And, really that number is probably closer to 10 out of 10).  But, if you can find a purpose and flip your attitude around, more often then not, you'll have a positive outcome. 

Honestly, I bet if we all sit back and think about it, we can remember a time when we didn't want to pack up our stuff and head to the rink. But we did anyway, and once we were there, and got on the ice, we had a great time. 

I know I have. 

And, I feel like by the end of those days that's when I was always most thankful that I had hockey. 

So how do we fix our attitude when we get into one of those moods?

I think the first, and most important, aspect is to gain some perspective. 

If you've read a lot of this blog before, you know that I'm a huge believer in the power of perspective and all that it can bring to your hockey career, and life. 

Think about the reasons why you play the game and try to name a few things that you truly love about it. 

Think about how fortunate you are to even be able to play hockey. Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for the opportunity that you have to be on a team, and to participate in a game with (most likely) a lot of your friends. 

There are so many different things that we can be thankful for when it comes to hockey. 

Often, we all just need a little reminder of how lucky we are. 

It's really just a matter of our perspective on the situation. If you have a good attitude, challenges will appear as opportunities, not obstacles. 

The other cool thing is that attitude becomes contagious. A good attitude can inspire, motivate, and pick up teammates around you. While a bad attitude can do the opposite. 

So if you think about, simply having a good attitude everyday at the rink is contributing to your team in a positive way. 

If I can give any advice to a player who's questioning why they're heading to the rink, take 5 minutes and really think about how much you have to be thankful for. 

The game of hockey will give you so much.

Learn to appreciate it, and make the most of every time you get to step on that ice.