Journey to the Pros: Consulting in Hockey


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A presentation discussing developmental and transitional challenges that face collegiate and minor league hockey players. Sport psychology consultant perspectives and experiences shared.

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Journey to the Pros: Consulting in Hockey

  1. 1. Journey to the Big Leagues:Consulting in Hockey<br />Adam H. Naylor<br /><br />North Atlantic Sport Psychology Conference 2011<br />Temple University<br />
  2. 2. Paths Towards the NHL<br />College Hockey<br />CHL<br />ECHL<br />AHL<br />College Hockey<br />CHL – Major Jr<br />Europe<br />
  3. 3. Cases for Consideration<br />Note: All players had aspirations beyond first pro contract.<br />
  4. 4. Considering Transition<br />“One is suspended between past and future, and struggling to overcome the gap that separates them.”<br /><ul><li>Levinson</li></ul>This is a period that is required. The past must be let go and striving towards future achievements truly begins.<br />
  5. 5. The Challenge of Change<br />Time of inner conflict<br />Give up stuff – separation and loss<br />Consider wishes and possibilities for future<br />Big questions – meaning and commitment<br />Balancing patience with passionate persistence. In life, transitional periods take 4-5 years… to get to the “next level in hockey” a player rarely has that long to adjust.<br />
  6. 6. Integration: Transitional Ends<br />A transitional period comes to an end not when one is at the top of a new level of play, but rather when questions and explorations are no longer stressful and urgent. The player is fully committed to taking on practicing, competing, and embracing at this new level of play.<br />
  7. 7. Stages of Minor League Success<br />Think Freshman fall<br />
  8. 8. Adjusting to New “Game” and New Liftestyle<br />
  9. 9. Separation<br />From teammates<br />Facebook, Twitter, texting, and phone are good<br />Tough to replace sitting around in dorms<br />From friends<br />Slapshot vs. Wall Street<br />
  10. 10. Business of Sport<br />Contracts<br />Details can never come to soon<br />1 way vs. 2 way<br />Filling a spot vs. stepping towards the next level<br />Team needs<br />“Settling” happens<br />Trades<br />Developmental communications<br />Big club vs. Minor league affiliate<br />Future too often seem vague<br />
  11. 11. Social Factors<br /><ul><li>Distractions
  12. 12. Supports
  13. 13. Frustrations
  14. 14. Teachers</li></ul>Shared goals is an ideal, goal disunity the reality.<br />
  15. 15. The Minor League Culture<br />Few shared goals<br />“Selfish” approach<br />Little team<br />End destination for some<br />Culturally diverse<br />Anglos, Euros, Russians, French<br />Easy culture for a young man to enjoy<br />Not a culture of intellectualism<br />
  16. 16. Physical Factors<br />Length of season<br />For college guys<br />Injury<br />Roadblocks to playing time and rapid advancement<br />Taking care of body<br />Rest and recovery<br />3 days back to back<br />Travel<br />
  17. 17. Day to Day Playing<br />Playing time<br />Dramatic changes without communication<br />Role on team<br />PP, PK<br />Style of play preferences<br />Conservative vs. Aggressive<br />Coach feedback<br />Level of play<br />“This is one step above beer league hockey.”<br />“AHL hockey isn’t tough for me.”<br />
  18. 18. Athletic Performance<br />Confidence in self is rarely lacking<br />
  19. 19. Shifting Out of Neutral<br />Re-finding focus<br />“How are you doing?”<br />“Are you taking care of your stuff?”<br />“Will you be a better player at the end of the season?”<br />An open ear at the end of the phone line<br />Develop acceptance without contentment<br />Mental skills education when necessary<br />
  20. 20. Concluding Thoughts<br />Things change quickly<br />Challenge without disempowering<br />“It’s o.k.” “I’m o.k.”<br />Flying blind – easy to feel helpless<br />Its about athletes desires, values, etc.<br />Most in environment want to be somewhere else<br />Counseling skills are needed<br />Persistence is o.k.<br />
  21. 21. Thank You<br />Adam H. Naylor, Ed.D., AASP-CC<br /><br />@ahnaylor<br />