Keeping a positive attitude is critical to achieving peak performance in your sport. Many athletes don’t fully understand the impact their negative self-talk or their attitude and behavior has on their performance. When I was younger I had a very difficult time controlling my emotions. I would slam my stick against the ice and boards if I got frustrated, I would be pouty on the bench if things weren’t going my way. I was fortunate I grew out of the extreme behaviors fairly quickly, but I always had trouble keeping things positive. I remember even in University how often I would show my displeasure when I didn’t score when I had an easy opportunity or get upset at teammates if they missed a pass or gave me a bad pass. Finally, in my last year of college my eyes were opened to a new way of looking at things. Instead of getting upset and frustrated, my goal was to keep a positive attitude and know that even if I missed a scoring opportunity there would be plenty others, whether in the current game or the next. I stopped allowing little missed opportunities or “mistakes” to rattle me. Now I already was scoring a lot of goals and getting a lot of ice time, but I started to be a lot less stressed and hard on myself. I started to enjoy the game I loved more, and knew that not everything will unfold in the way I wanted but that didn’t mean there still wouldn’t be positive results.
Showing your frustration and displeasure allows others around you to know you are getting rattled and it pulls you away from what you should be focusing on. You may still get frustrated and upset, but if you can work on not showing those emotions, a lot of positive things will start happening. Things that you never thought might be related to simply having a better attitude. Sports are a highly emotional environment, a lot of energy and time has gone into preparing for competitions, and most athletes have very strong competitive natures. So it can be hard to smile and act calmly when all you want to do is yell, but if you can find the ability to do so you will begin to notice a positive shift in your performance.
It is always great to hear about similar experiences from different people so if you are interested hearing someone else’s experience on the matter check out a blog by Kim McCullough, Founder & Director at Total Female Hockey. Whether your sport is hockey or not, this subject is important to look at in your own sport to help you achieve peak performance.