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Off-season tips to mentally prepare for next season

hockey off-season mental training

You might be wondering if there’s a perfect plan on how to spend your off-season to start effectively preparing for the next season. There isn’t one perfect recipe for everyone because we’re all different and unique from each other, and so is your perfect plan to fit your individual needs. Some of the following points, though, might inspire you to create an effective off-season plan to prepare your body and mind for next season.

Fitness

The off-season is the perfect time to prepare your body best for the next season. There are many different kinds of exercises that can help you take the next step towards an improved performance on the ice. Take some time and think about your strengths, as well as which areas of training could help you improve your performance on the ice. Whether it’s restoring your muscular and postural balance, getting stronger, becoming faster and more explosive or improving your condition, there’s always something to work on.

Staying off the ice doesn’t mean not being able to improve your skills. Think outside the box and have the courage to try something new and combine the new exercises with the ones that helped you best last season. Feeling confident physically will help you feel more confident mentally.

Train your mind

“What happens out there is a result of what happens in there.” – Neason

Don’t forget to focus on training your body AND your mind.

Visualization is a very important tool in sport psychology that you can apply for different performance improvements. Visualizing what you want to achieve, shifting your perspective, and feeling through the emotions you have during a game can help you a lot. (Neason, 2012)

Fitness improvement not only relates to active muscular training that can help you take certain movements to the next level — analyzing automated movements through visualization gives you the chance to dig deeper and find little sequences in complex movements to optimize. Mental rehearsal of game situations, feeling your emotions and working with and on them can help you find the perfect emotional balance. Even visualizing future game situations can be a crucial ingredient for future success.

Besides visualizations, you can think of your preparation right before games: you might have a routine of what you do several hours or even minutes before the game starts. Do you feel that your routine enables you to reach your full potential? Give yourself some time this off-season to think about it… and remember not to rely on something like technical devices, which can let you down. I know somebody who can never let you down – yourself ! There are multiple techniques for motivation, self-confidence and energy levels, which you only need one thing to perform—you!

Rest

Every athlete knows how important it is to regenerate not only your body, but your mind, too. So, this off-season, don’t forget to relax, take some free time off the ice and off sport. We can only reach our full potential when we keep a healthy balance between relaxation and physical and mental stress. Take time for yourself outside of sports, get in the sunlight, relax, regain strength and motivation, and start your new season freshly rested.

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser

When next season starts, face the opportunities that will come along powerfully and well-prepared.

For now, enjoy your off-season and remember to stay positive!

–  Angi Keplinger

If you feel like you need to hear more details about a topic of sport psychology, please let me know and I’ll do my best to put it in the next blog posts. (www.sportpsychologie.tirol or office@sport-gesundheits-psychologie.at )


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