Investing our time during the off-season ultimately drives our confidence level higher for the beginning of the coming season. Your motivation is a choice you make to invest your time, so choose wisely!
More specifically how you invest your time in the off season will either help or hinder you confidence. There is a lot of talk about making things 'fun', however the best athletes value their moments of fun but also understand that hard work is demanding, pushing yourself is demanding and to be mentally tough your mind-set must endure the tests you give yourself in the off season.
In lamest terms, all the work you do cannot be fun but it is a necessity.
Here are some key initiatives in your preparation and investing your time wisely in the off season are as follows:
• Make sure you find opportunities to test yourself in practice, or off season conditioning. Because tests are all around us on the rinks and playing field. In our preparation activities, we do not spend enough time pushing or testing ourselves because we do not want to fail. At the same time we wonder why we do fail at times in the field of competition. You have to put yourself in positions to fail. This will help your process and chances of success.
• Focus on the details. The most meticulous aspects of the game are usually what separates those that succeed vs. those who fail.
• Attention to detail is crucial. The details are the foundation to success and aid in your desire for consistency. The details are an aspect you can build trust in. It was said that Nick Lindstrom would practice his passing hundreds of times, daily. Be meticulous, this builds confidence for the times you need it most.
• Do not be afraid to celebrate effort at times. Sometimes the outcome is not there. As athletes you know when you put everything into it. It will reward you a majority of the time.
• Success does not happen overnight. Be prepared for the process. What will you do if there is a failure? How will you respond?
• What type of player are you? What is your structure and foundation? What gets you to a successful outcome?
Let us end with this important tidbit of information. If we were to look at two players, Player A who invested his/her off season time wisely in conditioning and mentally preparing compared to Player B who put in non-constructive hours in his development (i.e. put in time), who in the long run will be more of a complete player?
Be aware of false confidence, it may get you by a few days, a week or even a year but in the long run Player A has true confidence , built and driven by his/her character and investment of time in overcoming challenges, committing to a strenuous process and controlling his/her fate through the summer.