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.
PLACES YOU MIGHT GET STUCK
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.