This week’s guest is the owner of Core Hockey Training, Blair Becker. Blair has been involved in hockey instruction for over 15 years. He has worked with athletes from all levels and has multiple years of coaching experience in minor and junior hockey. Like us, Blair believes there is more to the game than just hockey and integrates, mental training and life lessons into all of his sessions with inspiring athletes. Here is what Blair had to say,
1. What motivated you to start Core Hockey Training?
The choice for starting Core Hockey was my passion for hockey. More specifically, working with young people, passing this passion on and to teach them valuable life lessons. I believe many people do not have the opportunity to work with their passion every day. I am very grateful that I have this opportunity day in day out, and to meet many great young people and their families!
2. What do you notice about today’s athletes that is different from athletes 10-15 years ago and have you had to change your approach to working with them?
The biggest change I have seen, is the amount of hockey they play now versus 15 years ago. With the explosion of spring hockey and other on/off ice training which is available year round, the players never seem to be off the ice. Due to this increase in ice time, you are watching players at a younger age doing things that were not seen 15 years ago. Their skating ability has been the biggest difference. The speed and balance at which the younger players can skate is remarkable! Another aspect I have noticed just recently, is the desire for the player to be perfect. Many players have this belief that they need to be a perfectionist. If one mistake (big or small) has been made, negativity sets in very quickly. This thought process can lead a player’s confidence to erode, depending on his/her environment. This can be very difficult for younger players and even for older players, to overcome the pressure they feel about not being perfect. I have changed the way I teach to help players understand mistakes are how we learn. Easier said than done. Instead of focusing on the mistake, I help them on how to recover from the mistake, learn from it and be better the next time. Not an easy task but over time the player will feel a higher level of mental toughness.
3. What is the biggest obstacle that today’s athletes face in terms of their own development and getting to the higher/highest levels.
The simple answer: Themselves. I have seen the “I am there” syndrome. Where a player who has been playing AA and AAA levels and they don’t believe they need to practice as hard or learn more about the game. Their ego gets in the way, for them to push themselves to stay ahead of the curve. Another obstacle would be negative self-talk. All players have issues with this at some point during a game or season. They have to be able to recognize this negative self-talk, then with cues move these thoughts to more positive phrases or mantras. Parents also have to be careful on what and how they talk to their sons and daughters. Your child believes in what you say and to heart how their parents’ words are said and used. These words can have a long lasting effect positively or negatively throughout a players’ career.
4. What if anything can we learn from failing in sports?
Players should want to fail! Push themselves just outside their box. No matter what it is school, life, sports or work. This is how we learn and become better and improve mental toughness. Failing is never easy and it can be very painful. You learn to deal with mistakes by letting go of our ego, visualize, controlled breathing and positive mental mind set. Most players do not realize that in the game of hockey, mistakes are being made constantly by all players in any given practice or game. You have to be detailed, in the moment (no over thinking) and trust your abilities to help limit mistakes.
CORE HOCKEY TRAINING
Core offers hockey players a wealth of programs specific to different areas of improvement. The place a lot of value on Character, Commitment and Courage. These three traits are vital for a player to improve their Core skills. The player must have the character to know he/she can always improve his/her skills no matter how good they might be at the time. They must be committed to practicing, and understanding the importance of proper technique. The player must have the Courage to know they will make mistakes (and if they stay positive and focus), their skills will be better every day! For more information on Core hockey training, visit: http://corehockeytraining.com/
More on Competitive Thread
Competitive Thread is located in Sherwood Park, Alberta and is Western Canada’s leader in athlete testing and hockey development. They have worked with teams and athletes in the National Hockey League, the Canadian Hockey League and Minor Hockey teams and players across Western Canada. They take a holistic and balanced approach to development and aim to positively contribute to the individual growth of each athlete both on and off the ice. For more information visit www.competitvethread.com or call us at 780-267-5795.