Stop Worrying About Numbers, Learn To Build The Process
With the kick off of the New Year, you hear people talk about their New Years resolutions and all the different things they are going to do in the upcoming year.
Here's the thing... for the most part New Years resolutions are a joke and there's a reason that over 92% of all resolutions fail. I've grown to be increasingly skeptical of people that put so much emphasis on creating New Years resolutions. To me, they are just words and false hopes.
The same holds true with setting short term goals in hockey. I actually used to be the same way and fall into the same trap... I wanted to score 30 goals and have 30 assists and be a plus 40 on the season... That was how we were always taught to think about goals.
But here's the truth about these types of goals: they are completely counterproductive.
I often ask the players that I coach what they want for themselves for the season or a particular game. Almost always the answer is the same... score 'X' amount of goals and have 'X' amount of assists.
That isn't goal setting. That's setting yourself up for failure and discouragement.
Not only is that setting you up for potential failure, it's also not really an accurate representation of success.
Another way to look at it is this... your team could lose 9-1 and you could have an off game where you turned the puck over a lot, weren't involved in the play much, and took a few bad penalties and overall just had a bad game, but maybe a puck deflects off your stick and ends up in the net. Your team just lost 9-1 and you had the lone goal, does that automatically mean you played a good game? I would certainly hope that you don't feel that way but unfortunately there are a lot of players out there who would justify that to themselves.
The same idea holds true on the reverse. Your team could win 3-2 and you might not be seen on the score sheet. Does that automatically mean that you didn't play a very good game? Of course not. You could have played a tremendous game and really played an integral role to your team winning.
I hope that makes sense and is getting the point across, but basically we can't focus our success solely on a number.
Players that do this not only struggle with a having a realistic view of themselves as a player but they almost always struggle with confidence.
I know I haven't written a ton about confidence, but I promise a lot more will be coming about this topic in the next few weeks. But if I had to throw something in quickly to describe confidence it would be this. It's something that we all should be working on everyday...in life and in hockey. From my experiences, the most confident people are the ones that focus on the things they can control (preparation, work ethic...) and find success in the little things. When you build yourself up with all of these little things, confidence is breed.
Small incremental gains lead to monumental success over time.
So for hockey players, instead of focusing solely on points, focus on the little things you can do well. A good tape to tape breakout pass, blocking a shot, taking a hit to make a play, winning a battle in the grey zones, having good stick on stick, tying up your guy on a faceoff... The list can go on, but these are the things I am talking about that if you have the right mindset will really help you build confidence and be more consistent.
Ultimately, it all goes back to the 1% principle.
If you can get 1% better everyday you may not notice a huge difference from one day to the next but over the course of a season you will see huge growth.
To me if you want long term success, you need to be building a process.
Build a process for success.
Decide what you want to do and instead of throwing out an arbitrary number, sit down and map out your process to success.
Want to be a better hockey player that contributes to your teams success? Stop counting your points and start controlling the things you can control to get better.
Commit to shooting 100 extra pucks everyday. Commit to an extra hour lesson every week to focus on your skills. Commit to watching extra film with your coach every week. Commit to developing a pregame routine that leaves you feeling confident and ready to hit the ice every single day. Commit to buying into the team concepts and doing what's best for the group.
Sure these things might not be sexy or glamorous, but the people that buy into the game like this are the ones that are truly successful.
For all the people that set New Years resolutions, it sounds good to say your going to lose 20 pounds this year. It isn't as appealing to say I'm going to get up at 6am and workout 5 days a week and start packing a lunch instead of going out to eat everyday...but guess which one I would put my money on to ultimately be confident and successful?
Stop wasting your time by focusing on the numbers and instead focus on the process.
At the end of the day, worry about the things you can control. Work your ass off for the things you want, and if you really want something find a way.
Cheers to building the process...