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Pressure is the fuel that ignites high performance; it is expected when performing at high stakes. The difference between success and failure is how you react when under that pressure. Success in taking that pressure and using it to your benefit to get the results you are reaching for. This is what highly competitive athletes refer to as the best moments of your life. Failure, on the other hand, is referred to as letting that pressure eat you alive until that window of opportunity for success is no longer open.

As a highly competitive hockey player, individuals have felt the weight of their team on their shoulders at one point. As a hockey player, you need a team first attitude in order to have success. Whether you win as a team or lose as a team, it is always as a team. One individual might have been dangled or let in a weak shot, but there is five other girls on the ice that weren’t there for support. 

There are many situations in a game that apply pressure to an individual, including: fans, the score, face-offs, special teams, scoring, systems, mistakes, coaches, teammates and most importantly, yourself.

Pressure is a privilege. There are ways to take advantage of that pressure and use it to excel:

  • Preparation
    • Practice like you play, imagery, positive self-talk
  • Be in the present moment
    • Don’t: think, ‘What if?’
    • Do: know that at any point you can flip the script and say, ‘This is not how this story is going to end.’
  • Accept the pressure
    • Use pressure to elevate your energy level for the good of the team               

Heavier into the playoffs, the difference between the winning team and the new golf team is the emotional game and the character in the locker room; how do teams handle adversity and come up clutch in high-pressure situations. It comes down to how you use the pressure for the good of the team and if your teammates are willing to do the same for you.

The University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey team is headed to their 3rd round of playoffs this weekend taking on the University of Alberta Pandas in the Canada West finals. The winner goes on to the CIS Nationals the following week in Calgary, Alberta.

To say the Bisons have been through adversity would be an understatement. Each member of this team brings their own unique energy to the team, which leads me to say with great confidence that when character in the Bison locker room comes together this weekend, I would not want to be in their way.

Pressure can make or break you. The only difference between black coal and a diamond is the amount of pressure it has endured.”

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